“While there are plenty of American couples who have had open adoptions, and people have different aspects of openness, everybody’s story is so uniquely their own.” – Laura-Marie, an adoptive mother through AWL
Laura-Marie is an experienced mom of three. She and her husband, Chris, decided to grow their family through adoption. They have been through the adoption process three times now, but the last one happened during a global pandemic. Just like every adoption, their journey has been a very unique one. This is her family’s story.
The Journey to Adoption
“We were maybe a little bit of an unusual couple, because we got pregnant really fast. We then miscarried very fast. After that first miscarriage, there was this feeling in both of our guts, that adoption was going to be part of our story,” Laura-Marie remembered.
In doing a quick Google search, Laura-Marie – an art teacher – found Adoptions With Love. She fell in love with the heart logo and said she was very “drawn to it.” She and her husband put AWL in the back of their minds, knowing the agency was there if and when they needed it.
“A lot of couples going through beginnings of fertility stuff, and we heard different scenarios. You know, ‘You’re young, miscarriages happen.’ But then a whole year went by and we didn’t get pregnant. And then all of a sudden were this this unexplained infertility case.“
After experiencing a traumatic pharmaceutical mix-up during fertility treatments, and a failed IVF attempt, Laura-Marie and Chris knew they needed to make a decision: Try more fertility treatments, which were going to be expensive, or take a different pathway to starting a family.
Starting their Adoption Journey
At that point, the Massachusetts couple decided to reach out to that adoption agency—the one with the heart logo they put in the back of their minds: Adoptions With Love.
“It was really smooth and really easy. We felt like [adoption] was just naturally part of who we were, and it just felt really comfortable.”
They completed their paperwork, counseling, parenting classes, and made their adoption profile book. Four weeks later, they got a call that changed their lives forever.
“The agency called us and said, ‘There’s a baby.’ And we were like, ‘What? It’s only been four weeks. We have a baby?’”
They dropped everything and headed straight for Indiana, where their first son was born.
“It was just an amazing experience from the minute we got the phone call. AWL supported us and walked us through the process.” Laura-Marie said.
“…In Indiana, where our oldest child was born, it was seamless. The lawyers were remarkable. We went to court out there and actually met with the judge, and he was amazing.”
A Second Chance at Adoption
When their second child was born, Laura-Marie says the family did not need to travel very far. He was born right here in Massachusetts.
All of Laura-Marie and Chris’s adoptions are considered open adoptions. The couple met both of their son’s birth mothers, but contact has been minimal since their births. Laura-Marie and Chris are open to having relationships with them and hope the birth mothers will reach out when they feel ready.
Third Time’s a Charm
When the opportunity of a third child came along, the decision to go fly across the country presented itself as a trickier situation. The couple now had two sons, who were their priority, and had a potential adoption. But, they were not sure if the adoption would go through—or if the birth parents would like them—so they took the risk and travelled to Colorado.
“The experience was to go get a potential baby and to have our priority be our current sons because those were our children (and this possible baby wasn’t our son yet). He was this ‘maybe baby.’ And there was more of that nervousness in getting to Colorado during a pandemic, just five days before Christmas, [with] two children who believed in Santa at the time. I remember thinking like, “How are we going to pull this off?’” Laura-Marie recalled.
“So yeah, there was more nervousness and anxiousness with going to Colorado, but then… Going back to Adoptions With Love, we felt so secure in their support and their guidance. I remember Nancy saying to me on the phone the morning I was going to go meet our baby: ‘You’ve got this. You have all the tools. You are the right person to go into this situation.’ I think that was the gentle push [I needed].”
Before flying out to Colorado, Laura-Marie got to speak with birth mother Madison on the phone. They spoke for three hours.
“I remember joking with Madison and saying to her, ‘This is probably like no other first date you will ever have.’” Laura-Marie remembered, laughing.
“And we did everything in that three hours from crying to laughing, to talking about the names that she had picked [for the baby], and to talking about our family.”
In the days leading up to the trip, the couple was cautious for their kids’ sake.
“We were definitely excited and anticipating that this was going to be positive. But we were also very protective of our boys,” Laura-Marie explained.
“We told the boys, ‘There’s a baby being born and they want mommy to be there because Mommy’s really good with kids… We don’t know if this is our baby. It might not be our baby. But mom can help this baby with his first few days in the world.’ And so that’s kind of how we set up going to Colorado and that it was just going to be a family adventure.”
Becoming a Family of Five – Plus Two
When the family arrived in Colorado, Laura-Marie went to the hospital on her own to meet the baby and his birth parents. The couple immediately took to Laura-Marie and had even more conversations about her family, parenting ideals, and background. Laura-Marie also got the chance to ask the birth parents questions that were on her mind. “It was all just very natural,” she explained. “It all just made sense.”
They prioritized getting to know one another, while the baby slept in the bassinet. After about an hour, Madison and her boyfriend agreed they would like to move forward and meet Laura-Marie’s family. Chris and the boys were invited to come up to the hospital room.
Once they all got together, Laura-Marie recalls feeling an instant bond and connection.
“It was like, ‘Oh, this is a family. This is it.’ Right off the bat,” she said.
The Open Adoption Experience
The families have kept in touch via text message and FaceTime. Nearly one year after our newest son’s birth, the family made another trip out to Colorado to visit Madison and her boyfriend. While everyone felt a bit nervous at first, they quickly picked up where they left off.
“As soon as they walked into the hotel, it was totally normal. As if no time had passed,” she remembered.
Laura-Marie also recalled that healthy boundaries were set at the start of the visit, making for a pleasant and positive experience for everyone. The families enjoyed a dinner together as well as a trip to the zoo. “It all just felt normal,” Laura-Marie said. After everyone felt comfortable, Laura-Marie invited the birth parents to help with story time and bath time for the baby.
This set the tone for the rest of the weekend together. While there were some emotional moments, some quiet moments, it was all very healthy and positive. There were boundaries set, communication was open, and everyone’s comfort levels were prioritized. Laura-Marie envisions this is how the relationship will continue in the future.
“It’s awesome. It’s so cool. I can’t wait to see them again,” Laura-Marie said.
Madison and her boyfriend have plans to visit the family in Massachusetts this summer. Laura-Marie looks forward to navigating this next reunion.
“I think we have the roots. It’s almost like this seed was planted in that very first conversation Madison and I had when she was pregnant. The seed was planted, but also the expectations and the boundaries were set in that initial conversation. Then, meeting them in the hospital, that interaction was the beginning of our roots growing. And they have just gotten deeper and deeper every since, but still level in a sense…
“We always end our phone calls and FaceTimes with Madison saying, ‘This is our story. There is no book that’s going to tell us how to do this.’ While there are plenty of American couples who have had open adoptions, everybody’s story is so uniquely their own. No two situations look alike. If something doesn’t feel right, we stop, we talk about it, and we fix it.”
“We love them. They’re part of our family now.”
Advice for Other Hopeful Parents
When asked to give advice for prospective adoptive parents, Laura-Marie believes this: “Knowing yourself, knowing your partner, and staying together as a team is crucial.”
The Benefits of Open Adoption
Laura-Marie and Chris chose to work with Adoptions With Love because they liked the idea of open adoption.
“AWL taught us that openness could be as open as how we are with Madison, or it could open in the sense where you have the health papers, the medical paperwork. That’s considered an open adoption. So to us, that was really important.
“Chris and I both know a handful of adults that are in their 60s who came into this world through an adoption. And 60 years ago, hearing their stories, and knowing that their files are locked… [Closed adoption] was just something we didn’t want.
“We wanted as much information as we could, to allow our children to make the decisions that they wanted, when they wanted it. We felt that way with every adoption, and we were open to openness all along, whatever the openness looked like.”
Learn More About Adoption
If you would like to grow your family through adoption or find adoptive parents like Laura Marie and Chris for your child, reach out to Adoptions With Love today. We can help guide you through the adoption journey. Call us any time at 800-722-7731, text us confidentially at 617-777-0072, or contact us online.