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18
Sep

Adoptive Family & Birth Mother Share How They Were Meant to Find Each Other

Many birth and adoptive parents in the American Adoptions family offer to share their stories. We’re always so grateful when someone touched by adoption shares their voice with us. Their words have the power to reach others who’ve walked, or are currently walking, in their footsteps during an adoption journey.

Sharing your adoption story often brings comfort to those who are unsure or feeling lost in their own adoption process.

But it’s more rare when both the birth and adoptive family are willing and able to share their stories in tandem. Having both sides of the story offers a full look at the adoption experience, and every act of love that brings families together.

We’re honored that Angelica (a birth mom), Jenn (an adoptive mom), and Keith (an adoptive dad) have shared their story — and what a beautiful story it is!

With Keith’s wheelchair, and their son, Brandon’s, severe disabilities, why would a prospective birth mother ever pick them as the perfect family for her unborn child? Angelica was 20 and raising two young boys while living with her aunt and struggling with an on/off relationship with her baby’s father. What happened next was “just meant to be.”

Read Jenn, Keith, Brandon and Kaylin’s story here.

Read Angelica’s story here, and watch her speak about making her open adoption decision here.


Want to share your American Adoptions story? Email us at editors@americanadoptions.com.

31
Aug

In Moving Letter, Birth Mother Shares Her Love with Her Son

Four years ago, Sarah* placed her baby boy for adoption with a loving adoptive family. Through her open adoption, she has received pictures and letters to watch her son grow up happy and healthy. In one of the most recent letters, her son’s parents asked if there was anything she wanted him to know about her side of the adoption.

With immense courage, she finally found the strength to write him a letter of what she wanted him to know about his adoption. She agreed to share this letter with us at American Adoptions:

“I am a planner. I research menus before I go out to eat. I look up movie plots and spoilers before I watch anything. Sometimes I spend more time reading about a TV show than I do watching it.

For the past four years, I’ve started countless letters to you. I’ve read hundreds of letters and articles written by other women in similar situations. I’ve read books on adoption from the perspective of birth mothers, from adoptive parents, from kids who were adopted. I guess I was trying to get a template on what I should say. I couldn’t find anything that said what I wanted to say to you. It turns out this isn’t really a situation you can research your way out of.

Your mom asked me if there was anything I wanted you to know about your adoption from my side of things. Honestly, there are a million things I want you to know, a million stories I could tell you about my life and what led me to you. But all of the stories and explanations and details would point back to one indisputable theme: you are loved.

You are loved. That’s the one thing you need to know, above all else. You were not unwanted, you were not abandoned, you were not a mistake. Years will go by and time will pass but please don’t think for a minute that I will forget you. Giving you up was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Please understand that it was done out of pure love.

I wanted the best possible life for you, and however much I wanted that to be me, it wasn’t. You deserved to have a chance at life that wasn’t suffocated by my burdens.

When you’re older, you might have questions about me and where you came from. I’ll always be here to answer those if they arise. You may wonder what traits you inherited, if there’s any of me in you. Maybe you have my eyes or my nose but I don’t want you to ever question that you have my heart.

I loved you then, I love you now, I will love you forever. Let that be the drumbeat that drowns out any doubt you may have about your place in this world. ”

To her son’s parents, she wrote:

“I won’t ever be able to express how indebted I am to you. Thank you for giving my son a life I could only dream of. I feel like there will always be a hole in my heart, but seeing his smile in the pictures you send me and hearing about his adventures in the letters you write prove to me over and over again that you are his rightful parents.”

We were so touched by her letter that we asked her permission to share it with all of you — prospective birth mothers, pregnant women considering adoption, adoptive parents and everyone else for whom adoption has changed their lives.

While Sarah said writing the letter was hard, she just focused on telling the truth.

“If I only had one chance to tell him anything in the world, what would I want him to know?” she said. “I felt like the only thing he really needs to know is that I love him. I don’t want him to grow up believing that I didn’t want him, or that I just moved on and forgot about him.

“Adoption is not a selfish act,” she added. “You might have people try and convince you otherwise. It doesn’t mean that you care more about your life than your baby’s; it isn’t about trying to avoid the consequences of your actions. Adoption means you want the best possible life for your baby, and you’re willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that happens. It means you love your baby so much that you’re willing to endure the pain of separation in order to ensure their happiness. Sometimes, love means letting go.”

Her letter is just another reminder of how beautiful adoption can be, even when it’s bittersweet. We thank Sarah for her bravery in sharing this letter and hope that you share this letter if you were just as impacted as we are by her beautiful words.

*This birth mother’s name has been changed to protect her privacy.

8
Nov

My Life as an Adoptee and an Adoption Specialist

American Adoptions’ Director of Social Services, Jennifer Van Gundy, shares her experience of being adopted as an infant and how it has impacted her life as a mother and a professional. 

Staff PhotosThirty years ago I was given the most awesome gift: my family. I know it sounds odd, but my birth mother decided that placing me for adoption was the best choice for both of us. I still can’t imagine all she went through to come to that selfless decision.

My mom was working as a nurse at a local hospital, so my dad was home alone with my brother when he got the call. It was happening. My parents could come to the agency the next day to meet their baby girl. (That was me!) They had been waiting three years for that call, and they were frantic, pulling cribs out of the attic to get ready for my arrival. My brother, who was 9, was pretty psyched too.My brother is my parents’ biological son, but my mom had complications from his birth that rendered her unable to have any more biological children.

Within four months, I became very sick and had to go to the hospital, where they discovered I had been born with a congenital heart defect. How ironic is it that I was adopted by a nurse?! My family went through so much with me that year, but it was all worth it.

People often ask if there is a difference between the way my parents treated my brother and I, since he was biologically their child. I always tell them the same thing: “No! My parents actually liked me better!” We were honestly treated the same. I was daddy’s little girl and he was a momma’s boy. He treated me just like any other annoying younger sister. Now that we are older we are very close, and I have enjoyed being a part of his new family!

I don’t know much about my birth mother. I was adopted in a time when adoptions were closed. She was able to hold me briefly at the hospital, and then she left without having met the adoptive family. She didn’t get to have that communication with my parents to know what they were like or what my life would be like with them. She got no closure.

Read More…

 

3
Nov

Facing Fears and Fostering Relationships – Katelyn, Matt and Marcus’ Story

Katelyn and Matt had a choice to make: in vitro fertilization or adoption.

The couple was planning a vacation to Colorado, and they decided that the long car ride would give them the perfect opportunity to talk about their options and make a decision. But when they woke up on the morning of the trip, they both knew what their answer would be.

“We both just knew it was adoption,” Katelyn says. “It was the strangest feeling. We just knew, 100 percent, that adoption was what we wanted to do.”

But while the hopeful parents were certain of their adoption decision, they also had some uncertainties that they needed to face — and some lessons to learn along the way.

Opening Up

Like many adoptive couples, Katelyn admits that prior to starting the adoption process, she and Matt were nervous about interacting with prospective birth parents.

“I didn’t understand how people could be open with birth parents… I think I was just afraid of open adoption,” she says. “It came from a place of just not understanding yet.”

It was around six months before beginning the home study that Katelyn came across a blog post that changed her mind. In it, an adoptive family had hired a photographer to document the time they spent at the hospital meeting their baby and his birth parents for the first time.

“They captured some pictures of the handoff between the birth mom and the adoptive mom, and that really changed my whole perspective of everything,” Katelyn says.

She and Matt began doing more research about open adoption. They read several accounts from people who had grown up in closed adoptions and realized that these types of relationships presented a number of emotional challenges for adopted children.

“We came to the conclusion that it takes a village to raise a child, and in our case, our child was just going to have two moms and two dads,” Katelyn says. “I don’t think now that there should be any reason why he can’t love both of us in different capacities — both me and his birth mom.”

In addition to their own research, Katelyn says their home study worker and the staff at American Adoptions helped them realize that a more open adoption would be best for their future child.

“[Our home study worker] was very in-depth with us about how we should handle the process, how important it was to foster a relationship with our birth mom, and how important it is that we’re open and honest with [our child] from the beginning,” she says. “Everybody was really good at preparing us for what our next steps would be and what we were in for.”

‘We Fell in Love Instantly’

About seven weeks after going active with American Adoptions, Matt and Katelyn received the call they had been waiting for — an expectant mother had chosen them as potential adoptive parents for her baby. Their adoption specialist scheduled a conference call for the following week so they could all get to know each other better.

“We were so nervous, but we were prepped and ready, and she was really great,” Katelyn says. “We fell in love with her instantly.”

The couple grew close with their son’s prospective birth mother, exchanging text messages almost every day and delighting in the ultrasound pictures she sent them. A month later, she told them she was going to be induced. Matt and Katelyn were on a plane within a few hours, eager to meet her in person and welcome their baby to the world.

The couple arrived in Virginia, where their son was being born, and spent the day excitedly shopping for the baby things they would need during their stay. They were anxiously waiting until it was time to meet the prospective birth mother at the hospital — and then the phone rang.

“About three hours before we were supposed to meet at the hospital, our adoption specialist gave us a call to let us know that [the prospective birth mother] had kind of had a moment of difficulty, and she wasn’t sure what her decision was going to be,” Katelyn says. “We mentally prepared for that, but it was still really hard. We just waited by the phone, and it got really emotional there for a little while.”

Katelyn says those few hours were the hardest part of their entire adoption journey, but she understood what a big decision their son’s birth mother was making. A few hours later, the expectant mother decided she was ready for them to come to the hospital.

Katelyn, Matt & MarcusLate Night Talks

Even though the couple was meeting their son’s birth mother for the first time, Katelyn says it felt like they had known each other for a long time. The doctors decided to wait until the following morning to induce labor, so they had the entire night to get to know one another. They all stayed in the same hospital room, watching Food Network until the early hours of the morning and discussing their future plans for the baby.

“We had a very unusual relationship with our birth mom,” Katelyn says. “We recognize that not everybody has that relationship where they can just sit in the hospital room and talk and be open, but we really love her.”

Finding the right words to comfort and thank their son’s expectant mother wasn’t easy at first, but Katelyn says their late-night conversations became very deep and open.

“She talked about her fears and we talked about ours, and there was this beautiful moment when we stopped filtering everything so much and being so afraid of saying the wrong thing, and we were just honest,” she says.

The doctors started the induction the next morning, and after a long labor, they decided to do a C-section. That was challenging for their son’s birth mother, but Katelyn stayed with her every step of the way — she was even able to be in the room when their son, Marcus, was born.

The new family spent the next two days and nights with their son’s birth mother, staying in her hospital room and bonding with her and the new baby until they were discharged. Saying goodbye was difficult for all parties involved, but Katelyn says their relationship with Marcus’ birth mom is still going strong; they still text every other month or so, and they hope to continue their open relationship for years to come.

“She gave us this incredible gift, and she has every right to be involved in his life,” Katelyn says. “And he has every right to know her and know where he biologically came from.”

MarcusA Positive Experience

Today, Marcus is a happy, talkative 11-month old. Matt and Katelyn say they loved their experience and would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Their advice to other adoptive families is to always do what is best for the child. For Matt and Katelyn, that meant facing their fears and insecurities head-on and ensuring their birth mother’s adoption experience was as positive as possible.

“I think a lot of people go into adoption just wanting a baby, and it took us some time to learn just how much our birth mom was going through and how much of the adoption was about her and her baby,” Katelyn says. “I think it’s important to foster that relationship with her and to realize the sacrifice that she’s making in placing a baby for adoption, and just the sheer amount of work and thought she’s put into it… She’s every bit a part of this story, as much as our son is.”

24
Jun

Bringing Adoptive Families Together

– Erin, Jared and Charlotte’s Adoption Story

hartNot long after finalizing their adoption, Erin and Jared Hart took their six-month old daughter Charlie to a playdate with another adoptive family. The parents had a two-year old son named Henry, and these two kids had more in common than just adoption – in fact, Henry and Charlie share a birth mother.

Henry and Charlie’s birth mother was insistent on one thing in particular: that her children grow up around each other as much as possible. For Erin and Jared, this meant not only a biological brother for Charlie, but a support system for the whole family during the adoption process.

Erin and Jared’s story began in early 2015, when they decided to look into adoption and attended an American Adoptions seminar. After weighing their options, they ultimately decided to work with the agency. In the beginning, the adoption went very smoothly, part of which can be attributed to their approach to the process.

“We’re pretty easygoing,” Jared says. “It doesn’t help matters when you start getting frustrated or stressed out. It’s not always easy, but the more you can keep yourself calm, the easier the whole process is.”

Read more…

26
May

Our Journey to You – John, Anne and Daniel’s Adoption Story

John & AnneBy Anne (Mommy)

After being married for over three years and becoming settled into work and life in Georgia your Dad and I started to try for a family.  I had a long history of female problems and was concerned that I could not get pregnant.  This fear became a reality.  John, your Dad, had always talked about adoption and I was never against it but needed to feel in my heart that this was God’s plan for how I was to become a mom.  Once I was completely at peace and knew in my heart this was the way we were to become a family it was full steam ahead.

Once I was completely happy and focused on adoption, I started researching agencies, reviewing the process, reading blogs, and basically doing my homework on all things adoption.  After interviewing many agencies we whole-heartedly agreed on American Adoptions and in July 2014 we were ecstatic to sign the papers and start the process.

The next few months were filled with paperwork!!!  We had our kitchen table covered with computers, our printer, and mounds of papers.  I had checklists galore.  We completed our Home Study essays, took Ziggy and Zippo (your kitty brothers) to the vet, made physical appointments for your Dad and I at our doctor’s office, visited the county police office, and were finger printed at the Quik Ship many times.  During this time we also assembled our written portfolio and created our adoption video.  By April 1st, 2015 we had completed all the necessary paperwork and we were an active couple waiting for a birth mother to select us.

The next few months were the hardest part of this whole process for me.  During this time all we did was wait.  Especially June through July, when I was not teaching every day, I would think about you constantly.  I was praying daily for you and your birth mom, waiting to hear about your existence.  There were many tears shed and many phone calls to Kathy (our social worker at America Adoptions).  I wanted so much for you to be here at that moment.  I had to keep telling myself that it couldn’t be any baby, it had to be my baby.  I had to remember that God had a plan and that I had to wait for you.  God doesn’t work on my timeline and I had to be patient because his timeline is perfect.  It was also hard to return to school in August, having everyone ask about you and if we heard anything.  As I said it was the hardest part of this process for me, but you were totally worth the wait!!!

We were looking forward to October. Your Dad knew he would be traveling to the Philippines to help his Mom (your Lola) with his grandmother’s passing and to visit with his Dad (your Lolo) who he had not seen in 15 years.  We were also excited about your Grandma and Buddy (my parents) coming to visit for a weekend after their beach trip. Little did we know what was about to happen.

13
May

Finding the Perfect Family: Erin’s Adoption Story

Pregnant women who work with us often wonder how to pick a family. There’s no exact science to it, and often a woman “just knows” when she’s found the right couple! Hear from Erin about how she knew she’d found the right family in Suzanne and Adam.

“As soon as I knew I was pregnant, I knew I wasn’t in a position to give my baby the life they deserved,” Erin writes. So Erin and her boyfriend decided on adoption and began to look at family profiles.

“My boyfriend and I decided on important qualities and keywords and our search became much more specific,” Erin writes. “We had a small pile of “maybes,” but as soon as I read about Adam and Suzanne, I knew they would be the perfect parents for my child. They seemed like a combination of all the best aspects of my boyfriend’s family and my family.”

Erin arranged for Adam and Suzanne to travel to her hometown during her pregnancy so they all could get to know each other.

Erin says of the weekend, “We spent the weekend talking, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company. They were able to attend a doctor’s appointment with me on Monday before their flight left, and it was wonderful to see how emotional both Adam and Suzanne became upon hearing her heart beat for the first time and watching her squirm on the monitor. After we said very tearful goodbyes, I knew they were the parents I wanted for my child, and I felt very comfortable knowing my daughter would be loved immensely by these two wonderful people.”

Erin enjoyed more time with Adam and Suzanne when her daughter Vivian was born. She was even able to introduce them to her extended family. She says that saying goodbye was “very emotional, but I knew I made the right decision for my daughter.”

“She will have a life far better than any I could hope to provide, and she has loving, supportive parents who will nurture and guide her,” Erin writes. “It has been over a year since I placed my daughter with Adam and Suzanne, and the updates I receive reassure me that she is happy, healthy and well-loved.”

To read more of Erin’s adoption story and the stories of other women, visit birth mother adoption testimonials on our website. For pregnant women beginning the adoption process, read How to Choose an Adoptive Family to learn about how women who work with our agency select adoptive parents for their child!

19
Feb

Being Patient – Rebecca, Matt and Madeline’s Adoption Story

Rebecca, Matt and MadelineBy Rebecca, adoptive mother

When I think about the moment we decided to pursue adoption, I remember feeling anxious, scared, and most of all excited about the possibilities that were to come. The idea that I would be a parent at any time was a feeling that I would describe as a balloon getting ready to burst! I was over the moon excited.

But of course my husband and I knew that we were going to have to revert back to the days when we were children and our Mom’s would tell us “You must be patient.” The process itself was not as hard as I thought and honestly I think we took the most time gathering our pictures and writing our profile, that  American Adoptions were just waiting for us to finish. When we finally felt our profile was complete we submitted it and on June 8th 2015 we were in the “waiting period”.

However, a short week later we had received a call that we were a match for potential birth parents. We turned that down for personal reasons but we were very surprised that we had gotten a call so quickly! But our story doesn’t end there!

One week after that call, as my husband was six hours away from home on a business trip and I was driving on a major roadway to see my cousin’s new home, I got the phone call that changed our lives forever. The woman on the other end – Lara from American Adoptions Texas – was calling to tell me that we were matched with a beautiful young lady that chose us to be parents to a baby girl that was born the day before! We had been active a mere 17 days and here we are chosen to be PARENTS!!!

My husband and I recount the day we got the call about our 6lb 1 oz. baby girl almost every day. I don’t think we’ve stopped smiling even to this day. The calls to our families and friends were just filled with so much love for us and this baby that we hadn’t even met yet, it was almost overwhelming! My husband immediately left where he was and drove through the night to get to me. We left our home and headed to Texas by plane.  When we got to our baby we had been awake a total 36 hours!

MadelineWhen we walked into the hospital nursery and met and held her it was such a feeling of peace. This was it; this was our missing piece, a tiny baby girl named Madeline. All of our fertility struggles and tears were put to rest. This was the moment we had been waiting for. Madeline needed us to be patient and here she was an answer to what we had been working for since we had gotten married.

Madeline needed to be monitored in the hospital for a couple weeks which meant we had to make Texas our home for a bit. Kathie and Lara from American Adoptions checked in on us frequently and worked hard to make sure we felt comfortable with the paperwork that was to follow in regards to finalizing Madeline’s adoption. Kathie was patient with me as I took on becoming a mother literally overnight and trying to balance being away from home for a bit. She was always available. Even now almost six months later I can still call Kathie to just talk about Madeline. I send them pictures too – you know, to brag!

If you are reading this, I want you to remember this:  You will be a parent! It’s not a matter of how now, it’s a matter of when. As you wait for your call for your match or try and decide whether adoption is the route you should go, remember that love makes a family and out there in this big fish bowl of a world is a baby that needs you just as much as you want them.

13
Feb

Our Founders – Ted, Susan and Scott’s Adoption Story

February 13 was our 25th birthday and to celebrate we want to share with you our founders’ adoption story. Watch the video below or read Susan’s story. 

By Susan Mars, Co-Founder of American Adoptions

When I was growing up, all I really wanted to do was marry the man of my dreams and start a family. I married the man of my dreams but the family part was not able to be, at least not biologically the way most people plan. After many failed pregnancies, we made the decision to adopt an infant. We knew we both wanted to be parents and we knew we could love a child the same regardless if we gave birth to him or her.

We began the adoption process. We quickly learned adoption is not as predictable as having a child biologically.  When you give birth to a child you know a due date and there is a set timeline. With adoption, it started by completing tons of paperwork.  We then had a social worker come to our home, so she could approve us to be parents.

We were scared to death that we would not be approved for something as minor as having a disorganized sock drawer that wasn’t clean enough. When the social worker came to our home, she never looked in them. Of course our sock drawers were perfectly organized.

Once we were approved to adopt, we knew at some point we would be called to come to the office to receive our baby. We waited for what seemed like forever and even had a baby shower and fixed a nursery. We waited and waited some more.  We finally got the call that our son was born and waiting for us to come and get him.

We named him Scott and it was the most exciting moment of our lives when our social worker brought him into the room. I asked her to let his Daddy hold him first. It was a moment I will never forget. There is no greater gift that can be given to someone. I was in awe of Scott but also thought a lot about the wonderful woman who was brave enough and loved Scott enough to let him go. What a hard decision she had made.

Scott felt great about being adopted and grew up knowing his birth family placed him for adoption out of love. He decided he wanted to give back to adoption for all that he had been given. He graduated college and wanted to start an adoption agency. We had been a foster home for babies waiting to be placed with their adoptive family and he got to see firsthand how excited these couples were about receiving their child. It doesn’t matter if a child is born to you or given to you with love through adoption. They are so loved.

I still marvel at Scott and the fact that I was allowed to be his parent. I love him beyond words. From all of this, we started an adoption agency that has grown with a lot of love to be American Adoptions.

Read Susan’s full story here. You can also visit our website to read Scott’s personal story as well as an account from his father, Ted.

10
Feb

Dear Baby Girl – A Birth Mother’s Letter to Her Daughter

Love. It’s a powerful emotion. And between adoptive families, birth parents and adoptees, there is a lot of love going around here at American Adoptions. As Valentine’s Day draws nearer we start to think about the ones we love and wonder if they truly know the depth of our love for them.  

As a parent you shower you child with love every day. But as a birth parent distance makes it difficult to show your child just how much you love them. For one birth mother she hopes to show her daughter the strength of her love through a letter, in the hopes that one day she will understand.

Dear Baby Girl,

The most important thing for you to know is that you are loved beyond anything you can possibly imagine. Take a moment to look at the faces of your parents. These two wonderful people have given you a life that I never would have been able to provide for you. Out of all the children in the world, they chose you, chose to love you, chose to make you a part of their family. They will always be there to support you and guide you as you grow up to be the amazing young woman I know you will become.

When I found out I was going to have a daughter, I was overwhelmed. Petrified, even. I didn’t have the financial means or the emotional maturity to raise a child. Yet I was also secretly excited. I had always told myself that if I ever had children I’d want a little girl. And suddenly you were here in this world, crying as the doctors counted 10 fingers and 10 toes, asking me for a name. Yet as I looked at you I knew God had different plans for us.

Selfishly I considered keeping you to myself, but God guided me to your parents instead. I could see parts of myself reflected in them, and I knew that Amanda and Brian would be the best parents I could ever ask for to raise you. I will never regret the day I handed you over to them because I know that you are a part of an amazing family with an infinite number of doors open to you.

Just know that you will never be far from my thoughts, and that regardless of your life choices you will always have people in the world who support you and care about you.

Love,

Your Birth Mother

 

 

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