The first time I ever thought about adoption was when I found out I was pregnant. I was lost and confused with the thoughts running through my mind. My fiancé and I talked and prayed about it, wondering if it was the right decision for us and if we had the heart to make the decision to put our unborn child up for adoption. We have two boys, Braylon and Camden, 1 and 3 years old. We knew putting our child up for adoption was the best thing to do for our boys. We weren’t financially ready to bring another baby into the world and would not be able to give our child the life it deserved. We knew we needed to focus on the two boys we have now.
Knowing we were having a boy just made the decision harder for both of us. We still weren’t sure if putting the baby up for adoption was what we wanted.
Our first OBGYN appointment came. My doctor, Dr. Guarra, had delivered both Braylon and Camden and is the best doctor in Sevierville, Tennessee. I found out that day we were having another boy, and I broke down in tears at that moment. I talked to Dr. Guarra about the decision I was thinking about making. His face lit up with joy and he started praying with me. I left the doctor that day feeling even more confused and hurt. Knowing we were having a boy just made the decision harder for both of us. We still weren’t sure if putting the baby up for adoption was what we wanted.
It was like God was speaking to my heart, letting me know these are the people we want to place our son with.
A few weeks went by, and we decided to pack up and move down to Florida and start fresh with our boys. We were living here for a good 4-5 months into my pregnancy. One day I was on my computer searching for childcare for our boys so I could start looking for a job. I came across the blog of Rick and Laura (the adopting parents). I clicked on it and it took me straight to their profile. As I was reading and scrolling through their pictures and their whole life, and seeing their environment, it was like God was speaking to my heart, letting me know these are the people we want to place our son with. My heart started racing and tears came running down my face. I emailed her and she contacted me a few seconds later. We had a short conversation on the phone. They messaged us the same night asking if they could take us out to eat at one of their old restaurants they used to eat at in downtown Saint Augustine, where we are living. Of course we said yes and planned to meet up that weekend.
The weekend came and we met them at the restaurant around 6 pm. When we got there, they were already inside waiting for us. We walked in and saw them sitting in the booth in the back with nothing but smiling faces. They made us feel so welcomed. A couple of hours went by. Rick and Laura were such great people and made Tim and me feel so comfortable the whole time we were there. We talked and talked about both sides of each of our families and got to know each other. We were there for so long, it seemed. We finally realized it was around 9 pm and we were the only people in the whole restaurant. Laughing, we got up and walked outside so the employees could finish closing down the restaurant. We stood outside for another 45 minutes and talked. Laura then got out a book that they had made for Tim and me. She gave it to me and told us it was for us to keep and to read when we were ready. We said our goodbyes and headed home. As Tim and I got back home, we were feeling at ease with our decision. We felt comfortable with Rick and Laura. After a few weeks, my Momma and I met them on a Saturday at Café Eleven on St. Augustine Beach. As the night went on, I learned more and more about what kind of people they were and more about their lifestyle and what kind of environment our son would grow up in. They are both marine biologists. They told us they had met studying sea turtles and had been together ever since. I also learned that night why they couldn’t have babies. As they were explaining, tears ran down both of their faces. It made me feel for them, and in particular, for Laura. She would never know the sensation of being pregnant or what the journey feels like. I knew that night that they were the perfect couple I wanted to raise my son. Our relationship grew stronger that night.
It was Mother’s Day that Sunday, and Laura drove an hour and a half from Gainesville just to spend the day with me. She took me maternity shopping and took me out to eat. I learned that day that Laura is such a beautiful person inside and out. We also had the same taste in clothes, which made me like her even better. I felt that day as if we had known each other forever. Why couldn’t I have met her sooner? I was thinking to myself.
June 27 was my birthday. Rick and Laura took the boys, Tim, and I to Marine Land to see the dolphins. They knew that’s what I had been wanting to do along with my boys. It was amazing because Braylon and Camden got to see the dolphins and touch and feed them. We all had such an amazing day together. It was one of the best birthdays I have ever had. All I could do was thank them for everything they did that day to make it a good one. Laura came to every baby appointment to see how the baby and I were doing. We got to experience and share a 3D ultra sound together and got to see our baby. It was very emotional for us both, but we were glad we got to share it. It was the first time we saw him together. We went to eat at a Mexican restaurant afterwards. We picked his name out that day. We agreed his name was going to be Dakota.
The last few months went by, and it seemed like everything happened so fast. Our decision was finally sinking in. The day came that, after I’d carried him for nine months, we were going to give up the most important little human in our life. Giving birth to my son Dakota was one of the most difficult things a birth mom could ever face—knowing I wouldn’t be able to hold him or take my baby home. I was feeling denial, confusion, shock, sadness, humiliation, and guilt.
They had all been praying for me and Dakota for almost a decade. She said that Dakota wasn’t just a child. She said, “This gift is a gift of Agape love”.
I wanted to change my mind about the adoption but knew I couldn’t break their hearts like that after everything they had done for my boys and me. We had already developed such a strong relationship that they felt like family. I knew that our son was going home in good hands. Rick’s brother came in the day after I had Dakota to meet Tim and me, and he let me know that I had blessed their family in so many ways. Rick’s Aunt Robin wrote me a letter welcoming me into the biggest, most loving family. She told me that they had all been praying for me and Dakota for almost a decade. She said that Dakota wasn’t just a child. She said, “This gift is a gift of Agape love,” and told me I had joined the ranks of the world’s most amazing mothers. I have never even met this woman in person, and she said the most loving words to me. I will forever cherish her words, and when I find myself lost, I will go back and read her letter.
Let me give some advice to you birth moms thinking about placing your child for adoption. It is very hard waking up one day deciding that you are going to give your son up for adoption and place your child in another couple’s arms. I am still dealing with not having my sweet Dakota here in my arms and here playing with his two older brothers. But I know it will get better. God has brought me this far and through this journey for a reason, and I will not give up now.
We are truly blessed to have a couple like them to raise our son and give him nothing but the world. He will never hurt for anything. He is loved by the best. That’s all that matters.
The best part for me is, I got to gain another amazing family out of this deal and had the opportunity to be able to bless this couple with a baby that they would never have been able to bring into this world themselves. God knew it was the best thing I could ever do. They will forever have a piece of me and will always thank me for what I have done not only for them but also for the rest of their family who have wanted this for them their whole lives. Having an open adoption is the best choice. Being so close with the adopting parents makes it so much easier, and you will always have them to go to when you’re having a bad day.
You will have the choice to get together with the whole family on holidays and be part of your child’s birthdays, first holidays, and so on. You will have the opportunity to see your relationship grow stronger and stronger as each day passes. Laura keeps in touch with me as she promised and every day sends me pictures showing how Dakota is doing and how he is growing. They have him spoiled already. We are truly blessed to have a couple like them to raise our son and give him nothing but the world. He will never hurt for anything. He is loved by the best. That’s all that matters. Our son is going to change the world someday. God bless to you birth moms and adopting parents out there, and good luck. Sincerely,