Words of Wisdom - What One Adoptive Mother Learned from Her Journeys
Morgan, Aaron, Mason and Emma’s Story
For parents Morgan and Aaron, adoption was always part of the picture. Morgan, being diagnosed with PCOS from an early age, knew that natural conception would be difficult. After a few attempts with fertility medication, the couple started the process to adopt — an experience ending with their son Mason in 2017.
And their American Adoptions journey was so nice, they did it twice.
Morgan and Aaron recently added a daughter, Emma, to their family in summer 2020. With two adoptions under her belt, Morgan wanted to share some helpful guidance and advice for other adoptive parents out there.
“There is a lot of wonderful things that happen with adoption, but there’s a lot of things that can mentally and physically drain you even more so than biological parents, and it’s just a lot,” she says. “Going through it twice and experiencing the same emotions, I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’m not crazy.’”
Here’s what she wants you to know:
The Challenges are There for a Reason
Morgan and Aaron’s initial decision to choose adoption was an easy one. Another family in their small town had adopted through American Adoptions. Morgan, believing in signs and timing, thought, “Why not give them a try?”
But the process to becoming active wasn’t quite as easy. Like many adoptive parents, Morgan and Aaron got caught up in the details of their print and video profiles. To Morgan, their life seemed ordinary and unexciting; how do you make the mundane attractive to a prospective birth mother?
But, as they found out with Emma’s birth mother, it was actually that stability and “normalcy” that drew attention.
“I actually had a conversation with Emma’s birth mother and she said, ‘That’s what I wanted, Morgan. My life is not normal; my definition of ‘normal’ is not your definition of ‘normal,’” Morgan remembers. “That was the first time I realized that showing maybe more of a safe, secure, normal, repetitive environment was actually a good thing.”
Another lesson she learned? As simple as it may seem, actually read the prep materials you’re given.
“Make sure you utilize American Adoptions’ resources. That’s something I didn’t really do the first time around; I said, ‘Yeah, yeah, just let me browse through this so I can get through it,’” Morgan says. The second time around, I really read and thought, ‘Wow, this is good stuff.’”
Every Adoption is Different
Mason and Emma have very different adoption stories. For Morgan, the comparison has required some rolling with the punches and appreciation of each unique aspect.
Mason’s birth mother was in her 40s when she placed Mason for adoption. Morgan and Aaron weren’t present during his birth, although they were able to meet him within the first couple minutes of his life. Contact with his birth mother has been unpredictable; Morgan and Aaron keep up with their twice-a-year photos and letters and have created a memory box with past emails and mementos for Mason as he grows up.
Although Emma was born in the summer of the COVID-19 pandemic, Morgan and Aaron were able to share a genuine relationship with her birth mother and her birth aunt prior to and after placement. Morgan was present during the 20-plus hours of the labor and delivery process — an opportunity she’d never think she’d get.
One thing Emma’s birth mother said during delivery still sticks with Morgan today.
“She said, ‘Morgan, from the moment I met you’ — I had just met her the day before — ‘I knew you were this baby’s mom,” Morgan remembers.
Morgan has texted with Emma's birth mom and birth aunt ever since placement, sending photos back and forth of their children (Emma has two full biological siblings and one half-sibling). Since the adoption, Emma’s birth mother has received her GED, got a job and got accepted into technical school. There’s even been talk of in-person meetings in the future.
“Right now, I’m feeling kind of overwhelmed with all the information I have [about her birth family], but I think that it’s good, though,” Morgan admits. “To me, once my kids are old enough to make their decisions and if they want to know more about their extended families, my hope is that I can at least have as much information as possible.”
Despite these differences in post-placement contact, there’s one thing Morgan knows her children will share growing up: the knowledge that their adoption story is special.
“Even though Mason’s 3, I think he gets it: ‘You weren’t born from Mommy’s tummy, but you were born from Mommy’s heart.’ Both my kids will know that and will understand that adoption is a vital piece of Mommy and Daddy becoming a mommy and daddy,” Morgan says.
“It’s part of their life story. It’s a chapter in their book.”
You’re Not Alone
From the beginning, the emotional side of adoption was a challenge for Morgan. A self-described “control person,” accepting the unpredictability of the process took some time.
“When you can’t conceive and then go through the adoption process, the loss of control is extremely humbling. There’s nothing you can do in this type of situation,” she said.
And the uncertainty didn’t stop once she and her husband got the match calls — or even after their daughter, Emma, was placed into their arms.
In Mason’s adoption, the prospective birth father had signed his consent early on. Emma’s birth father, however, was not in the picture. The 30 days after her birth mother’s consent were some of the longest of their lives.
“It’s this constant balance of emotionally trying to keep yourself in check,” Morgan says. “You’re sitting there, and you have this beautiful child, and you’re so thankful and so full of joy. In the same breath, you’re just so fearful. It’s hard to explain to people unless they’ve gone through something like this… You’re like, ‘Wait a minute; I can’t jinx this.’”
COVID-19 only escalated the normal emotions of stress, excitement and disbelief that comes with the adoption of a child. Morgan says she expected the rollercoaster of emotions after placement, having experienced them before with Mason’s adoption — but the coronavirus crisis added another level to it.
“You want to share your child with the world, but you’re alone. You’re very isolated,” Morgan says.
“You really have to rely on other people to help you. Have some close friends that that you can confide in or have another adoptive family mentor you.”
American Adoptions Has Your Back
And, of course, don’t forget your adoption specialist.
Morgan says her specialist Melanie made all the difference during the challenges along the way. From being a sounding board for email verbiage with prospective birth moms to supporting their family through the COVID-19 unknowns, Melanie was, in Morgan’s words, “a saint.”
When it came time to give Mason a younger sibling, Morgan says there was no question about returning to work with Melanie and American Adoptions.
“The ease, the reliability, the communication, the professionalism of American Adoptions was, bar none, the best I’ve ever experienced,” Morgan says.
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