When did you join Adoptimist and what led you to it?
We joined Adoptimist around January 2018, after our home study completion for our second adoption. We were planning to use Adoptimist to advertise for our first adoption, but we got matched much more quickly than expected on that one.
Which plan did you choose? Did you move between our plans at any time?
We chose the more expensive plan (Adoptimist Premium) that offered more features. It was about $150 per month. We didn’t switch between plans.
Did you ever quit Adoptimist or consider quitting? Tell us about that low. And if so, what brought you back?
After three months, we were approached by a company that offered targeted advertising that was supposedly much more effective than Adoptimist and other online profile platforms. Their program was going to cost several thousand dollars. We wrestled back and forth for a couple of weeks and were leaning towards giving them a try because we didn’t want to wait years to get matched. Thankfully, our birth mom reached out to us right at that time, so we paused on looking elsewhere until we could see if things were going to pan out with her.
In all our pictures, we were having fun and he was smiling, and that spoke to her that we were a happy family.
What factors do you think played into your success? That is to say, what made the difference and separated yours from all the other families? For example, professional profile photos? Pure luck? Something else?
Honestly, as people of faith, we put a lot of prayer into this whole process, and I definitely believe that had an impact and led to our success. I also appreciated that the site had tips on how to set up our profile and how to keep it current. In addition, our birth mom loved that we were already a multi-racial family. My husband and I are white and our older son is black-white-Asian. In all our pictures, we were having fun and he was smiling, and that spoke to her that we were a happy family. She said many people had said they didn’t want a mixed-race child, but she herself is mixed race and her child was going to be, too, so she loved our openness to that.
What was your attitude toward any scam or spam messages you received? How about any lost or broken connections you made?
We had only one scam call. A woman told us she was 40 and pregnant with twins and couldn’t financially manage. She described herself as being white with red hair and (which I am, too) and the birth father as being black. I don’t know if she looked at our pictures and mirrored her description to fit our family makeup, but it was interesting to me once I knew it was a scam. I checked the scam board and saw that a few other couples had heard from a woman with a similar story and that she would change the due date and the race and genders of the kids. I was comforted that the scam board is there to help folks be aware of suspicious stories that may come up. Outside of that, there were a couple of moms who emailed with a question or two, but it didn’t go any further.
We were fully trusting God to provide for us, so we made steps of faith all along the way.
What was your lowest low on your adoption journey, and how did you get past it?
I liked how the plan we were on would allow us to see where we were ranking in viewings and how many times our profile was viewed. It can be nerve wracking, though, because sometimes things get slow. As we approached three months on the site with no significant interactions, it did make me start to wonder how long this was going to take and wonder what I could do to move things along. So, we prayed a lot and asked for prayer a lot. We wanted guidance and patience. And we didn’t have the money for either of our adoptions and were fully trusting God to provide for us, so we made steps of faith all along the way.
Optimism and hope are literally built into our name. What role do you believe optimism played for your family in your adoption journey?
Optimism is so needed for this process. Staying hopeful helps shape your character in preparation for parenthood, and it shapes the way you’ll appear to potential birth moms when you make contact. My first son’s birth mom told me one of the things that tipped her in our direction was that we were very optimistic and open people.
Just remember the big picture—a sweet little bundle that will become our child is worth every hour of waiting.
How did you deal with your wait? How did you keep adoption stress from taking over your lives?
I’m a broken record, but lots of prayer and community support was incredibly helpful. It also helped to just remember the big picture—a sweet little bundle that will become our child is worth every hour of waiting, every paper that has to be submitted, every fundraiser to help pay for it. There were plenty of tough times and crying moments, and I had to let those emotions out, too, sometimes.
Tell us about your connection. When did you know it was legitimate? What was your style for communicating with any potential birth parents you met?
I had a good feeling from our birth mom when she first emailed me through the site, but I still was cautious. She didn’t know she was pregnant until almost six months along and had had no prenatal care, so we waited to hear that everything was healthy with her and the baby. From the time she first contacted us, it probably took a month to be sure that this was our match.
Our first communication was by emails, but within a week or so, we had a phone call. She was very clear that she didn’t want any money from us, but funds were tight for her, so “simple” things like getting an ultrasound to determine wellness and the sex of the baby felt like they took forever. The Lord provided, though, and she was eventually able to get the care that she needed. We communicated by text almost daily once we were officially matched. It was intense, but she didn’t have a lot of support and she often verbalized how much she appreciated me being there for her and available to her. She was very honest and forthright, even about tough things, which I really appreciated. She was nervous once we were matched that we would change our minds, and I promised her that we would stick it out.
It’s weird to say, but finding the right connection feels a lot like online dating (which is how my husband and I met!). It’s about just putting yourself out there, being yourself along the way, and then waiting for the right connection. And as they say, “When you know, you know.” We’ve been blessed both times with wonderful connections with our birth moms that were mutually enjoyed.
What role did your agency/attorney play in your connection? Were you more independent or more reliant on your adoption team?
They definitely played a big role in helping navigate the legitimacy of the match and validating our trust in our birth mom. They also offered her council that she found very helpful. She loved our caseworkers, as do we. Also, they helped us find a lawyer in Florida and navigate the interstate adoption process. When it came to the birth and time in the hospital, the lawyer was great and a wonderful advocate for us and our birth mom.
What type of adoption relationship (open, closed, etc.) do you maintain with the birth parents of your child?
We have an open adoption for both of our boys. Our oldest son’s birth mom lives locally, so we see her periodically and occasionally text. She’s been to our home many times and has even babysat for us, so we have a great relationship with her and really trust her. We keep in touch with our second child’s birth mom through some phone calls but mostly texts and occasional updates of baby’s progress. I text pictures and have an open invite to ask any questions or ask for insights as needed along the way, which is wonderful.
Having been through it all, what do you know now that you would like other current waiting families to know?
Oh, goodness, it’s such a hard thing to wait! You can feel out of control and freak out. I think having a community and support to turn to when things are hard is HUGE. Ask lots of questions and just be yourself when it comes to making your profile or interacting with birth parents. If you choose Adoptimist, take advantage of all the adoption articles and tips. I found them really helpful in navigating how to do something so strange: advertising yourself so someone will give you their child. The whole thing is just so weird, but keep the faith!
I too am having many of these same emotions, Will it ever be our turn? But reminded how awesome life is to me now.. ALL in the perfect timing!!! God’s blessings Christy & Dusty Riddell
By Christy-Cioci Riddell on Apr 13 2022