Happy Valentine’s Day! We thought we’d share Dakota and Eleanor’s adoption stories today, since Valentine’s Day proved to be a momentous occasion for their family!
“We decided that being parents was the important part for us, not biological parents, but parents,” Eleanor writes about their decision to adopt after facing infertility. The couple researched adoption, chose American Adoptions and moved through the home study process. Like most couples, they settled in for a wait after they were activated on February 7, 2007.
“Everyday, I kept wondering if today would be the day we would get ‘the call’ and how long we would have to wait,” Eleanor says. “Well, we only waited seven days when we got ‘the call’ from Cara Berkley [our Adoptive Family Specialist] at the agency on February 14, Valentine’s Day! I was in the middle of a work meeting, and I felt completely numb as she told me all the important information that I needed to share with my husband. I don’t know how I functioned through the call, it was all so surreal, but I knew this call was going to change our lives forever. Not only did the call come quickly but our birth mother was due later that month, everything was happening so fast!”
Only two weeks later, they got a call that their daughter’s birth mother was in labor and rushed to her side. Things moved quickly after Dakota and Eleanor became activated. And in the same way, their relationship with Aubrey’s birth mother developed fast as well.
“Quickly, our birth mother gained a special place in our hearts, it’s a relationship so special and dear and no one else can understand unless they’ve been in the same situation. Our adoption became an open adoption, something we never thought we would be comfortable with but that was long before we meet our daughter’s birth mother,” Eleanor says, “We were very lucky in our adoption situation. Our daughter’s birth mother allowed us to interact openly with her entire family. We were in Ohio for 10 days and we saw her and her family almost everyday. In a way, they became part of an extended family. We will always be grateful to our daughter’s birth mother for allowing us to spend time with her and her family. We hope to share stories of our experiences with them with our daughter and she grows and be able to provide her with the answers about them that we know someday she will ask.”
In 2008, Dakota and Eleanor decided to grow their family again. They sent in their “reapplication” in January of 2009. Eleanor often looked at American Adoptions’ website’s available adoption situations. Sometimes, she would inquire about them, but for one reason or another, they didn’t quite fit. But one day, a situation caught her eye. A baby boy had been born the night before in Michigan and needed a home soon. Less than 24 hours later, Dakota and Eleanor got the call that their son Hudson’s birth mother had chosen them.
“We were SO excited and we rushed to make all the travel plans and to buy lots of blue, we didn’t have anything since we were sure our wait would be much longer this time,” Eleanor says. “All the while, American Adoptions was quickly completing the last bits of our paperwork and walking us through everything. We never felt like we were doing this alone and that even though this was a super quick match, they had everything under control. The very next day the three of us were on a plane to pick up Hudson from the hospital in Michigan. Suddenly in the course of less than two days, we were across the country and now a family of four!”
The couple enjoyed getting to know Hudson’s birth family and are grateful for the opportunity to get to know them. And they are also happy to have two beautiful children. “It feels completely amazing to know that both our children are home, happy, healthy and ours forever,” Eleanor says.