One of the added blessings of being an adoptive parent is forever belonging to the adoption community. I have met so many incredible people on this journey and my life is definitely richer for it.
Some of those friendships forged out of adoption create beautiful things – like the annual Walk for Adoption Chicago. Below are the stories of four women and how this annual event helped them in their journey.
Walk for Adoption Chicago began in November of 2010 with the purpose of celebrating National Adoption Awareness Month. The Walk was designed to share with the community the beautiful option that adoption can be for someone facing an unplanned pregnancy. Click here for more on the mission of WAC.
It was a long, dark, seven year wait until our son was lovingly placed into our hearts and home. After his adoption, I felt the need to give back to the adoption community and to offer my love and support where I could. We had felt so alone in our adoption experience; a feeling that I did not want another couple to experience. I became the Chair of the Illinois/Wisconsin Families Supporting Adoption (FSA) in 2008 hoping to get some more couples involved and hoping to get a group together that could support each other.
In 2009, at our fall FSA conference, my husband and I met another couple just beginning the adoption process. Holly volunteered to get involved with Families Supporting Adoption and the rest is history!! We both felt a strong pull to get involved in the community and share our love for adoption. In November of 2010, in honor of National Adoption Awareness month, we chose to celebrate by hosting the 1st Annual Walk for Adoption. It was so wonderful to be surrounded by beautiful people who “understood” our experiences, our heartaches, our stories, our fears, our joys. It was here that we met Michelle and she joined “Team Adoption”.
In 2011, we hosted the 2nd Annual Walk for Adoption. We met more wonderful people (Stacey, husband and beautiful daughter!) and have forged many friendships. We have seen birthmothers and birth families make difficult decisions to place. We have witnessed disrupted adoptions, adoptions finalized and forever families become a reality. We look forward to growing our circle of adoption supporters in 2012 and for many years to follow.
My husband and I do not believe that we were “cursed with infertility”, but rather we know that we are truly “blessed through adoption”. Some children join families in a direct way, other in an indirect way through the miracle we call adoption. Either way, we end up in families we were destined to be a part of; both birth families and adoptive families. There is no doubt in our minds that our little boys and their birth families were meant to cross paths with our family. We treasure both of our open adoptions. Both Tyler and Isaac are so blessed to be loved by so many. We love their birth families, we love these two boys and we love adoption!!
After nearly seven years of heartache I was finally able to call myself Mother thanks to the sacrifice of a woman who thought adoption was what was best for her baby. Adoption is a miracle…but it isn’t always easy.
Adoption is something I’ve been fascinated with for as long as I can remember. Before I married my husband I knew there was a significant chance it would be extremely difficult for me to bear children, so we discussed adoption right up front. After four years, three pregnancies, and three miscarriages we realized that we were trying to go down a path we were not meant to take. Through all the heartache and tears my soul had always whispered quiet, comforting things about adoption to the parts of me that longed for a child. In the spring of 2009 we moved to Chicago, and in October 2009 we turned in our adoption application and officially began our adoption journey!
We attended an FSA training event in November of that year and I felt an inner push to get involved. I introduced myself to Christy and a life-long friendship was born. We both discussed our desire to have some sort of event for adoption, and we decided on a Walk to be held the following November as a part of National Adoption Month. The first year was amazing! I remember standing in front of the group that had assembled and becoming emotional at being in the presence of so many others who “got it”. Our families had always been supportive of us through our infertility and adoption experiences, but none of them had ever directly gone through it and sometimes it was hard for them to relate. The second year was even better, with more people catching the fire spirit of adoption.
Our road to becoming a family through the miracle of adoption was not short or free of bumps. From October 2009 when we turned in our paperwork to May 2011 when our sweet little Miles was placed in our arms we suffered through four failed adoptions…two of which came in the same week. But during even the darkest hours I knew I could count on my Adoption Peeps for love and support…because they had been through similar things.
My Journey to the Walk started 8 years ago. My husband Mike and I were married for 2 years before we decided to start our family. Unfortunately, the plans that I had for me, for my husband, and for my family never came to fruition.
After years of testing, procedures, a pregnancy and miscarriage, we decided to research our options. It’s very odd, but I felt like I kept being pointed towards adoption. I started seeing signs about adoption that I never noticed before (bumper sticker on a car, a story on the web, a billboard, etc.). I am sure they were always there in front of me; I just wasn’t ready to see them.
We decided during National Adoption Month (November 2009) to pursue adoption. My husband and I had signed up with our agency, completed our classes and home studies and then just waited. Although our family and friends had been so supportive, after a year I felt like I needed a different type of support; I needed to talk and get to know people who were going thru the same thing as us. And, to be honest, I don’t know how I found the site for the 2010 Walk for Adoption, but I did – I believe it was another sign. It was going to be held not far from our house and it was free – I figured we didn’t have anything to lose.
Not only did I not have anything to lose, but I had so much to gain. Everyone at the Walk was so nice and friendly – we didn’t feel out of place at all. It didn’t matter your age, race, religion, what country you adopted from, or what part of the adoption triad you belonged to – everyone who wanted to celebrate adoption was invited. It was so wonderful to see that adoption was being celebrated!!
We welcomed our son home this July and we are so blessed to have him join our family. We are blessed to have his birth family in our lives as well. I am so glad that while we waited, I found such a wonderful support system and a great group of friends. No matter how difficult my travels have been, I feel like I was meant to take this journey – I was meant to take this “Walk”.
My name is Stacey and I’m an adoptive mother. It’s a title that I didn’t consider until after 9 years of unsuccessful fertility treatments, surgeries and tears. It took me a long time to realize that I didn’t need to give birth to be a mother.
After I completed our paperwork, home study, counseling, classes, etc I just clung to my phone waiting for a call from some wonderful birthmother to call me and say, “I choose you.” We were so lucky to have received that call only 6 months after we became licensed and immediately the excitement and anticipation of being parents began to build just as they did those 9 years earlier. Two weeks before the baby was due, tragedy struck and he was delivered still born. We were devastated.
While we were grieving, I was surfing the web and came across the FSA website and information on Adoption Walk Chicago 2011. I registered to attend under the category of ‘waiting to adopt’ and just 3 weeks before the walk I received a call from our attorney that a baby girl was born and her birthmother wanted us to bring her home. Adoption can be quite a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences, however, holding her in my arms just seemed like she was waiting for us all along.
We attended Adoption Walk 2011 but now I was no longer ‘waiting to adopt.’ I was an adoptive mother. I joined FSA after meeting Christy, Michelle and Holly and the many others in attendance at the walk that have been touched by adoption in some way. The warmth and friendship that I experienced that day made me want to help ease the pain of the journey for other families like mine and to get involved.