With 2019 coming to a close, we invited our adoption specialists to look back at moments in the year that had profound impacts on them. Unsurprisingly, they all talked about the birth families, adoptive families, and adoptees in their lives.

More than anything, all of them expressed joy at being able to witness the growth and personal successes in birth and adoptive parents’ lives through the years. We hope 2020 brings even more beautiful moments!

Here are some memories from this year that we treasure:

*Edited for clarity, privacy or length*

Brighid Titus, Birth Parent Specialist

“This birth mom placed this year, and also placed another child (also through American Adoptions) several years back. She has an open adoption with both adoptive families.

“The first adoptive family was not able to take on another child and felt their family was complete this time around. So the birth mom put both adoptive families in contact, and they are all planning a joint visit next summer so she can see both children, and everyone can meet.

“Some special parts of this case are….

“The birth mom was an addict but has been clean since her first adoption plan. She got a new job right after this second placement and was so excited about it.

“She is truly beautiful inside and out — so bubbly and sweet and well-spoken. Very funny and kind. She’s never felt anything but pride and happiness during her adoption plan.”

Michelle Downard, Birth Parent Specialist & Birth Mom Peer Support

“I had a situation where a birth mom called me after 8 years of not receiving pictures and letters and said she was finally in a place in her life and a stable living situation where she could receive them. The adoptive family had been sending updates all those years, so I had 16 sets of pictures and letters to send to her. She was in tears and blown away that the adoptive family had continued to send them in, even though they knew she was not getting them. They had always hoped she would one day reach out to us, and she did.”

Jenna Gerdes, Adoption Specialist

“A birth mother’s 9-year-old daughter was really struggling with the idea that her mom was going to be placing the unborn child. The adoptive family agreed to meet up after hospital time and let her spend some time with the baby and get to know the adoptive family. This was so special to the birth mom, her daughter, and the adoptive family. They have a super open adoption.”

“I also had a birth mother invite me into the room for labor and delivery. I’m an adopted child with no kids of my own and none of my friends really have children yet, so it was my first time experiencing anything like it. Everyone in the room was female, including all the doctors and nurses — amazing girl power to witness! I assisted in discharging that same baby from the hospital with the adoptive family. While in the elevator, a woman got on and congratulated the adoptive mom for looking so amazing after giving birth. We all just laughed and smiled.”

Emily Droge, Adoptive Family Specialist

“One of my favorite memories of 2019 was calling a family for a sibling placement after the baby had already been born. I told the adoptive mom to sit down to take in some big news.  Upon letting her know their daughter had a brand new baby sibling whom the birth mother wanted to place with them, she was in shock and said, ‘Emily, we want her!’

“From that moment, I knew we’d make it work no matter how hard it was to pull their adoption together with literally NO advance notice, less than a year after their first daughter was born!”

Melanie Leal, Adoptive Family Specialist

“The family had two tough disruptions. They knew the right birth mom and their baby was waiting for them and stayed positive and encouraged. On the third opportunity, they were chosen by birth parents who were in a relationship and both supportive of the adoption. It was a longer match and, after two disruptions, I know the adoptive parents had some tough moments trying to stay strong. They developed a very special relationship with the birth parents through e-mail and text communication and even traveling for a visit with them. Because of that relationship the hospital time was really special. They loved on their child’s birth parents so much, and it really made a difference in the birth parents feeling good about their decision, even in their own hard moments. They continued this love and connection after placement.

“The birth parents contacted our agency about a year later and were pregnant again and wanted to place with the same family. The family wasn’t considering adopting again at that point, but they jumped right in and now have two beautiful daughters. Though life is busier than ever, they still maintain a good connection with their children’s birth parents and text them photos and updates. They seem to really enjoy the happiness that it brings the birth parents, and they all share a unique bond that most people who have not adopted don’t get to experience.”

“The family was active and waiting in pursuit of their second adoption with American Adoptions, and with me as their adoptive family specialist. They were chosen by a birth mom who had just had the baby. When the birth parent specialist called them about the opportunity, the adoptive mom answered. The adoptive mom laughed because she told the birth parent specialist that she and the adoptive dad had just had a little tiff over something silly, and now she will be calling him to tell him that they need to make up because they needed to go get their baby. They jumped on a plane and headed to the hospital to meet their sweet son.”

Did you have a special adoption memory from this year — big or small? Share it below!