Guest Author: Anne Buckles
Adoption is the most beautiful experience I never knew I wanted to have.
It came to us as we were grieving the loss of 10 IUI attempts. My wife, Angie, and I were so desperate to have children that we were ready to try anything. We had been together for five years, and this was the next part of our journey. We had love in our home and we wanted to share that with a precious little one.
I thought that little one would come from my womb. Turns out, fostering to adopt to made us parents. We fostered a number of children and heartbreakingly reunited them with their birth families. Then one day, we got a call for a medically fragile baby who had been born at 23-weeks, weighing 1 lb. 6 oz, and had just stayed in the NICU for five months by herself. She was ready for a family to love her.
The hospital trained us and sent us on our way after two days of getting to know her care plan. She needed oxygen, multiple meds, and a feeding tube. What a sweet, happy, beautiful baby she was! During the next year-and-a-half, we celebrated milestones, attended multiple therapies, and fell more and more in love with her. We waited for the courts to say that she was ours. There was anxiety and fear behind every hug and tender moment. We found it very difficult to guard our hearts from the possible reunification of this child. We were all in. It turns out that this amazing little fighter became our daughter, Izzy. We had our family!
Our plan was to take a break from fostering and enjoy the gift we had been given. Izzy took a lot of care and we were determined to give her the best we had. We joined an open and affirming church in our community and began participating in events and getting to know the church family. We were content and happy, but in the back of my mind, I was thinking about how we might add a sibling for our Izzy. I prayed that we would know when it was time to consider fostering to adopt again.
One Sunday morning, after service was over, a member of our church approached us and asked if we would be interested in adopting again. Her daughter was pregnant, and they were looking for a family to interview and consider. When I think back to this, I still can’t believe it happened! We, of course, accepted this invitation and met with the couple. We sat for two hours at a restaurant talking about open adoption, our interests, values, beliefs, and life experiences. It was strangely comfortable and fun.
They called us two weeks later and asked if we would like to parent their baby. Angie and I were a part of the prenatal visits and had them over to our home during the pregnancy. We were invited into the labor room and even asked at the last minute to stay for the delivery. We stood at the head of the bed and were never so grateful for adoption. Angie got to cut the cord, and we were able to stay at the hospital until he was discharged. The birth family came to visit our room, and we gathered together to sign the papers the following day. What a selfless act of love this birthmother and birthfather gave to us and our sweet baby boy whom we named Isaac.
Isaac is incredibly blessed to know and be a part of his birth family. He occasionally spends time with them, and they have been a part of his big moments. Some wonder how we can share him with another family. I do not think you can explain it until you experience it. You can build a family in so many different ways. I really thought that my family would be biologically mine and it would be somehow “less than” if it happened any other way. That has not been the experience at all.
We have found abundant love. A love that does not feel separate from us. A love that feels like it was always supposed to be. The month Izzy was born was the month we stopped trying to have a baby. Then, we joined a church and were asked to adopt a baby…come on…that’s like the lottery. I really feel like Izzy and Isaac were waiting for us all along. Now Izzy is 13 and Isaac is 10. They have amazed us with their capacity to love and own their birth story. Our family is forever grateful for the gift of adoption.
Read more National Adoption Month stories
This story was contributed as part of Family Equality Council’s 2018 National Adoption Month Campaign.
Find more stories and adoption resources on our National Adoption Month homepage.