As I write this, you are 6 ½ months old. Your adoption was just finalized in court and yesterday we were sealed together as a family in the Mt. Timpanogos LDS temple. Today you are getting blessed in church. This has been an amazing and emotional week, we feel so blessed to be your parents.
I want to tell you the story of how you came into this world and how you became ours. It’s a very special story – and it has to be, because you are a very special and important boy. You are literally a miracle.
We wanted you in our lives for so long – years before you were even born. We tried very hard to have a baby, but nothing worked. Eventually, I was diagnosed with a disease called endometriosis. It’s very painful and made it so that I cannot have children. We were so sad, we felt like we were never going to be able to have you. Eventually, we realized that God had a different plan and that you were supposed to come to us in a different way.
There were lots of experiences where we knew that we were supposed to have children; we could feel your strong and sweet spirit almost all the time. I knew that I was supposed to be a mother to a little boy (and other children that have yet to come into our lives). I knew that you were mine, but that I wouldn’t give birth to you. It was such an odd thought. How could I have a child that was truly mine even though I was never pregnant with him? That’s when we decided that adoption was the route that we wanted to take. Before deciding on adoption, everything felt confusing, nothing was working, we were miserable… it was literally hell. When the decision was made, it felt like the heavens opened up, angels were singing, the sun was bright and shining, and everything was right in the world again. This was the right decision. This was how we were going to find you.
We started the adoption process excited, happy, and nervous (like almost every other hopeful adoptive couple). We went to all the training classes, went through background checks, home visits, had personal recommendations sent in from friends and family… it was a pretty intense and stressful process (but it was worth it!). After waiting months and months, we were contacted by two other expectant mothers (one was possibly a scammer – who does that?!!!) before we met your birth mom. We were all set to adopt a baby girl who was due at the end of May 2013, but her mother changed her mind and decided that she was going to parent her instead. Exactly a month after that failed adoption, our caseworker called to say that an expectant mother, who was working with their agency, wanted to meet us. We were ecstatic! She sent me an email telling us more about herself and we exchanged phone numbers and we ended up texting non-stop and had a couple phone calls over the next few days until it was the day we were supposed to meet. That day, I was a nervous wreck. I was so worried that she wasn’t going to like us, or that we wouldn’t really connect with her. I said lots of prayers so that I could feel peace about whatever decision she was going to make. After Chris, your Daddy, got off work, we drove up to Salt Lake City to meet this girl and her mom.
When we walked into the room at the agency where they were waiting, there was an overwhelming feeling of warmth and love. They smiled and gave us both hugs. When meeting an expectant parent for the first time, it’s customary to bring a gift, so I had made her a scarf and then my friend had made her some cute handmade hair clips. She loved everything. We spent the next hour asking each other lots of questions and talking about our plans for the future, our goals as a family, why we wanted children, how we felt about openness with adoption… We discovered that we had a lot in common with her and her family - it was really cool. Some of the biggest ones were, she and I are both named “Julianne” (same spelling), her Dad and your Grandpa have the same first name, she used to live in Virginia and that’s where your Daddy had served his mission, she and Daddy had gone to the same high school (8 years apart), she and your Grandpa have the same birthday… we even all looked alike! Like if you were to see your Daddy and Julianne next to each other, you would think they were brother and sister. It really felt like it was meant to be. Later, she gave us a gift with a balloon saying that the baby was a boy (we didn’t know before that), a little onesie that said “I ♥ Daddy”, and some bath salts for me. It was so sweet! She said that one of the reasons why she picked us was because of this picture that we had posted on our profile of us dressed up as lawn gnomes for Halloween.
She felt like Seahorse (that’s what she and her family called him) was going to be a really interesting and special kid and that he needed parents that would understand him and let him be himself. She also loved that we were both artistic and seemed really open-minded and not judgmental of people who were different than us. We got along so well, she couldn’t imagine anyone else being his parents.
We spent the next month and a half getting to know each other better: we got pedicures together, we went to dinner with her family, she came to two of my baby showers… we soaked up every minute that we had together because we knew that it was going to be different once she had the baby. She even wanted us to come to all her doctor appointments and ultrasound appointments – which she had lots of because her pregnancy was considered high-risk. She had low amniotic fluid at one point from working too many double shifts at her job, so she was put on bed rest for the last couple of months during the pregnancy.
You were literally a miracle because Julianne actually didn’t know she was pregnant until she was about 6 months along. She said that she was definitely not ready to be a mother – she didn’t even know if she ever wanted to have kids and that if she had known that she was pregnant earlier, she would have considered an abortion. You were meant to be here, you were determined to be born. God knew that you were supposed to be ours and that we needed this connection to Julianne and her family, so he helped you “hide” for 6 months. Sounds crazy, right? But we all felt so strongly that this was part of His plan.
On the day that you were born, I drove up to Julianne’s doctor appointment thinking that you were a week away from being induced. Everything was normal at the appointment, but she was feeling really tired. Instead of hanging out afterwards, she just wanted to go home and sleep, so I dropped her off and then drove home. About 4 hours later, she called and said that she was in labor! I called Chris, he immediately came home from work and we drove back up to Salt Lake City. We arrived at the hospital and they were already giving her the epidural when we came to her room. It took a while to kick in, but once it did, she was feeling much more relaxed and ready to have you. She wanted us, her Mom and sister, and her caseworker in the delivery room with her– which was amazing, we were so excited to participate in your birth. Her sister and I held her legs while she was pushing and after 6 hours of labor and only 20 minutes of pushing, you were born at 11:02pm.
Daddy cut the cord and then the nurse whisked you away to do some testing and to weigh you. Once all that was taken care of, we were finally able to hold you. Julianne wanted me to be the first one to hold you – she didn’t feel like she was your mother, she was more the vessel to get you into this world and that your parents needed to be the first people to spend time with you. I know that’s not a common thing in adoption, so we were very blessed to have that experience first.
Holding you for the first time was so surreal - this child that we had waited for so long was finally here. You were perfect. We counted all your fingers and toes, kissed you over and over, and hugged you tight. We hugged Julianne and her family and we all cried out of joy together. We had just been through this amazing experience together and had brought this beautiful little human being into the world.
Over the last 8 months (two months before you were born and 6 months since), we have developed an amazing friendship with Julianne and her family - it was like they were always supposed to be part of our family. They are all truly amazing and really good people. We wanted an open adoption because we felt like there couldn’t be too many people loving a child. We had seen the blessings of open adoption through friends who had adopted and through my cousin’s adoption (she placed her son for adoption when she was in high school). Sure there are lots of fears about open adoption – maybe the birth family will want the baby back (in Utah, they can’t take him back after the birth mom relinquishes her rights), maybe they will come around all the time and judge our parenting (that hasn’t happened), maybe having a relationship with them will cause confusion for the child – who is his mother, does he have two? These are all valid concerns, but they didn’t worry us at all. These were just things that people asked us when we explained what kind of an adoption we were going to have. Julianne and her family had always said that you did not feel like theirs. They knew that you belonged in another family and that she was not meant to be your mother. There has always been a huge level of respect between us because we were both giving each other something we couldn’t do or have on our own. They are a huge positive part of our lives and we are so blessed to have them. You will always know where you came from and always have access to them if you have questions or want to have a relationship with them. This is always what we wanted. We love this.