Thank you to the hundreds of people who have sent kind messages about our adoption. We’ve received many, many questions from people curious about our adoption journey and also from people looking to adopt. Since our adoption is not final and out of respect to Seraphina’s birth mother, I’m not going to disclose all the details of our process, but I do want to share some of our story. Adoption takes around a year in California to complete in the courts so there is no chance of us losing Seraphina, it’s just a legal process that’s required for all adoptions and it takes time.
This time last year we were undergoing IVF. Our egg retrieval was actually this exact week one year ago. The IVF process ultimately didn’t work for us and we lost most of our embryos. Personally, I had reached the end of my fertility treatment journey- feeling emotionally and physically exhausted- so we decided it was time to continue with adoption.
We had previously explored adoption and then decided instead to continue with IVF, but after a difficult year that included a miscarriage, we returned to adoption. We called our adoption attorney on the way home from the ultrasound that showed our baby didn’t have a heartbeat. We told her we were ready to proceed. This was the first week of February 2020.
We retained an adoption attorney, who then works with facilitators- companies that aid pregnant women in the adoption process- to connect us with a birth mother. The facilitator's fees cover their services and expenditures to provide the mother you’re matched with housing, food, transportation and medical care. We took the month of February to create a profile book that would be presented to potential birth mothers. We were encouraged to let our attorney and facilitator know what traits we wanted in our child. It’s completely natural to have preferences, and for us, we wanted a girl. We lost all of our girl embryos and I deeply wanted a daughter. When it came to the question of drug use, we made the difficult choice to remain open to mothers who were battling addiction- in fact it is rare to be matched with a birth mother who isn't using. We asked that if our birth mother was dealing with a substance abuse issue, she would need to be closely monitored by her physician during her pregnancy. Shortly after the facilitator received our book, she called to let us know she would be meeting with a pregnant woman who might be a good fit for our family.
Two days after their meeting, we received the call that we were chosen to adopt her baby girl. This was mid-March and the baby was due mid-June. We set up a meeting to be introduced to the birth mother and it was one of the most surreal days of my life. In many ways, she was just like me, and yet our life circumstances could not be more different. She was sweet and tender, bright and articulate, and she looked as if she could be my little sister! Soon after our meeting, I began spending a lot of time with her. She lived three hours south of us, so multiple times per week I would leave our farm very early in the morning to spend the day with her. We developed a great relationship and she was very excited to have me and Ryan raising her baby.
In many cases, the life of a woman who is pregnant and choosing adoption isn’t the most stable, and it quickly became clear that she lacked a support system. As she fell into many unhealthy situations, we became her primary source of support. It was emotionally draining beyond what I could have imagined. In order to respect her privacy, I can’t talk specifics, but I felt it was my role to love her and support her the best I could.
Five weeks before the due date, our birth mother began having complications due to her lifestyle choices. From that point on, we were by her side 24/7, which meant being away from the farm and business. She was admitted to the hospital and asked to stay until her delivery in order to protect the baby. Given her lifestyle, this was not something she was able to do and she disappeared several times. This was the hardest part for us as we didn’t know if she or the baby were going to survive and remain healthy.
Three weeks before her due date her doctors agreed it was time to deliver the baby, and so on May 25, 2020 at 1am, Seraphina arrived via c-section. I was able to be in the operating room, though due to Covid, Ryan was at a hotel nearby. I held our birth mother’s hand and watched Seraphina come into the world surrounded by a room full of NICU doctors and nurses who would closely monitor her health through the coming weeks.
Throughout the process, our birthmother never wavered from her choice. And she did have a choice. She loves Seraphina and truly wants her to have the beautiful, stable life she was unable to provide. She will always be an important part of our life.
Once our adoption is final, I’ll share more of the details regarding substance abuse and the recovery Seraphina went through as an infant, but for now, we'll end our story there. We learned so much about addiction through this process, and I'm so glad we opened our hearts to a birth mother who was struggling with this disease. I’m hopeful a future blog can address this issue, and provide insight and support to those who might encounter similar circumstances on their adoption journey.
We are very grateful to our birth mother for choosing us to love and raise Seraphina. We know she was meant to be our daughter, and we're thrilled to report that she has no lingering effects from her early trauma, and is ahead developmentally. She is our greatest gift and we hope we can provide her with every opportunity to succeed in life.