On a Sunday September 18th we received a screening call from Kathi, our Adoption MN social worker. She told us there was a birth mother interested in 5 families, and we were her second choice. We were told the birth mother, Lauren, was shy and working slowly through the process. She was due on November 4th, so time was quickly approaching for her to make a plan.
Many days went by and we didn’t hear anything. We wondered if Lauren had picked her first choice. We started to think that maybe this situation wasn’t going to be “the one” for us, which was OK. Our philosophy surrounding our adoption plan was “when it happens, it happens…” as we wait and hope for a placement.
Then…we received another call from Kathi. She explained that Lauren and her mother Liz had reviewed the profile letters more thoroughly and they had put our letter as their new top choice! Lauren wanted to meet with us to help her decide. If it went well, she wouldn’t be meeting any of her other choices. Yipee, we thought!
We scheduled a meeting with Lauren, her mom Liz, and Lauren wanted her birth parent counselor, Amanda to be there as well. Paul and I met all three of them at a Caribou Coffee shop out on the patio. Lauren looked nervous. We had a conversation about music, art and lake/cabin life. It felt like a bond was made. By the end of our 2 hours of conversation, Lauren went from looking intimidated to being far more comfortable. As we were getting ready to leave, Lauren said “I like you guys, I’m not going to meet anyone else.”
Kathi called us that evening and confirmed that yes indeed Lauren had chosen us as the adoptive parents! Paul and I initially decided to keep this private. We hoped, prayed and crossed our fingers that Lauren would stick to her decision and adoption plan. We only told our immediate family and coworkers on a “need to know” basis in case this wasn’t going to happen.
However, not even 24 hours later, we were eating with friends at a restaurant and Kathi called to tell us that Lauren was in the hospital in labor. We were so excited! Lauren’s plan was that she wanted us to come after delivery. We waited anxiously. Kathi called us the next morning to inform us that Lauren had given birth to a baby girl in the middle of the night. She was 5 pounds 13 ounces.
Paul and I arrived at the hospital at noon. Lauren was holding the baby whom she named Olivia. We hugged Lauren and her mother Liz. Lauren then let us hold Olivia, whom we eventually named Anna, for the very first time! Many of Lauren’s extended family came to support her and to meet us. The connections we made were immediate and wonderful.
The following day was the day for both Lauren and the baby to be discharged. Lauren spent some time alone with Olivia/Anna. Then we arrived to say our goodbyes, which we first did with Liz, Lauren’s mom. There were lots of tears and smiles and more hugs. Then it was time to say goodbye to Lauren…I, Reid, completely lost it. I felt I could barely breath, let alone speak as I hugged Lauren a “see you later and not goodbye” hug. Paul, in a role reversal because he’s the one who tears up at Hallmark commercials, stayed strong. I told Lauren that I couldn’t even begin to thank her because whatever words I chose could never fully express what she had done for us. Paul gave her a hug and the three of us looked like one big ball of hugs and tears on her hospital bed.
We left separately from Lauren from the hospital. We drove off towards home to join our family and friends. Paul and I were completely overwhelmed by the love, support, friendship, gifts, emails and phone calls from everyone.
During this process there were times along the way where we had worries and doubts. However, the faith that stemmed from that perfect first meeting with Lauren, her mom and Amanda-Lauren’s adoption counselor, that hot, sunny October day at the Caribou coffee shop helped get us through.
Our adoption of Anna was finalized on February 16. She’s been the joy and focus of our lives since the day she was placed with us!