My sister is a nurse practitioner, and she once told me, “You need to have your first child by the age of 30.” So, the plan became kid at 29, married 2 years before that (27), engaged for a year (26) . . . Mike knew of the plan, and he proposed in the fall of 2007 (just before I turned 27 . . . phew!). But a child never came for us at 29, or 30, or 35 . . .
How do you know if adoption is for you? How do you know if you have the capacity to unconditionally love a child who isn’t your own flesh and blood? Maybe the answers are easy for some, but for us, they required a lot of soul searching and the ability to be honest with ourselves about what we wanted for our lives and what we could take on. I think the deciding factor for us was understanding how much we love our nieces and nephews, our dogs (and they aren’t even human!), and our “little brother” of 10 years from the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program. And at the end of the day, we needed a little blind trust that there was a bigger plan than our own and that things would work out the way they were meant to.
So, after 6 years of failed fertility treatments and a rough start with another adoption agency, we found Gladney. The paperwork was nothing short of a college thesis, and the wait was a good lesson in letting go. The team was supportive, encouraging, and honest. Above all, I appreciate the honesty. The facts were not sugar coated, and they prepared us. That blind trust I mentioned above becomes much easier when you trust the people who are working your case and prepping you for the day you are matched with a child and beyond. I can honestly say our caseworker is a friend, and she worked our adoption as hard as you can imagine a friend would.
You know, everyone says things happen when you least expect them to. It’s kind of a funny thing when you find yourself trying not to expect something (since that’s when it will supposedly happen), but you still feel hopeful deep down in your gut. Well, in the fall of 2018, I think we finally did “throw in the towel.” We had been waiting about 3 years and had done everything we could . . . it was time to move on. However, our caseworker at Gladney had not given up. We got a call the week before Christmas. We had been matched with a beautiful baby boy at an institution in Bogota, Colombia. I think our case worker was probably disappointed when our initial reaction was more shock than joy. We had to reprocess . . . we had just gotten our head around the idea of not being parents and what an alternative life would look like. Honestly, I think our brains went into protection mode . . . we didn’t allow ourselves to believe this could actually be happening. After some time with our family over the holidays and a random connection to a doctor in Colombia (who conducted a medical evaluation for us), we accepted the match. We were told the next steps were more formalities than show stoppers, but we were still emotionally protecting ourselves. We purchased a few baby essentials before we flew to Colombia, but only the bare minimum (in case it didn’t work out). But once again, Gladney was right, and we officially became parents on February 7, 2019 (our son’s “gotcha day”).
Alexander Francisco. If only I knew 10 years ago what I know now . . . it was all worth it. You are the most amazing little boy. How have you already taught us to love more than we thought imaginable? How did we end up with such a perfect, happy, little human being? The center and focus of our entire life have shifted, and the way you make us feel when you smile at us with those deep, soulful, brown eyes is the best feeling in the world. We are so lucky to be your parents, and we learn things from you every day. Being re-exposed to everything the world has to offer through the eyes of a child is nothing short of a miracle, and you are our little miracle.
Thank you, Gladney, for making our family complete.
Mike & Kelly