You never know what the New Year will bring. For us, it was the start of our new life together as a family. It was a cold day in January, and the trees in our yard were gently covered with a fresh blanket of snow. But unlike the typical winter days of the past, this one was special. This was the day of our daughter’s birth.
It was hard to believe we had actually gotten to this point. Not only had an expectant mom chosen us, but now she was about to give birth. All the tears, heartache, and struggles had led us here. We were about to become parents!
Meeting our daughter’s birth parents and their families at the hospital for the first time was bittersweet. We were glad to finally get to know them, but we were also sad for the loss they would endure. Our eyes filled with tears many times, as did theirs. But they told us they believed this was the right choice. And their actions proved they meant it. Once the baby was born, her biological grandparents came to get us, asking the question I would never forget: “Are you ready to meet your baby?”
When we walked into that hospital room, it was a surreal experience. Our daughter’s birth mother was holding her, and my heart nearly broke in two. The enormity of her decision hit me hard: How would she ever let this precious child go? Despite the powerful conflicting emotions she likely felt, she gently and willingly handed the baby to me. My heart swelled with love. She was so tiny and beautiful. The fact that I was even standing there holding her was a miracle. “This is my daughter,” I thought. “I’m going to be her mom.”
The next day, our daughter’s birth parents signed papers appointing us the baby’s temporary guardians. I’ll never forget the breathtaking feeling of pure joy and exhilaration as I walked out of the hospital that day holding our beautiful child. I just couldn’t stop smiling. It was truly one of the best moments of my life.
The year ahead continued to prove that this child was meant to be a part of our family. Our daughter adjusted well to her new environment, and we bonded quickly and easily. We experienced all the ups and downs of becoming new parents — watching our baby fall asleep in our arms, marveling over her milestones, fighting through sleepless nights, balancing our busy schedules, and loving her more and more each day.
Six weeks after we brought her home, her birth parents went to court and signed a Termination of Parental Rights (TPR), enabling her to be officially adopted by us. Then began the next phase of our journey: post-placement visits. Our social worker came to our house a few times over the course of the next six months to witness and report on how the baby was growing, developing, and adapting to her new home. Our child was clearly flourishing, and we were always happy to share our stories and the pride we felt at her accomplishments: sitting up, rolling over, tapping her tiny hand to the beat of the music, and uttering her first word at around six months old. It wasn’t “Mama” or “Dada” like we expected. Instead, it was the word we used when we greeted her each morning or saw her blue eyes looking back at us during the night when we went to check on her. She said, “Hi”.
Finally, when our daughter was about eight months old, we went to court to finalize her adoption. My mom and sister came to court with us, and we cried tears of joy. After the hearing, we went to lunch, and then my husband and I took our daughter to the park to celebrate. I’ll never forget her happy smile as she watched the seagulls in flight and gazed at the lake.
Our journey to become parents wasn’t quick or easy, but what stands out in my mind that first year is the overwhelming love we felt for our baby: we experienced a love unlike anything we had ever imagined. She is — and always will be — our pride and joy, a bright light that brings a smile to your face whenever you’re near her. She is incredible and amazing.
Some people who are considering adoption wonder: “Will I love this child like my own?” The answer, without a doubt, is YES! I cannot imagine loving our daughter any more if she were born to us. When you bring your baby home and enjoy your first year together, you will understand exactly what I mean. Blessings to you — may 2017 be your year!