When I was thinking of people to interview about how to help a friend going through something hard, I immediately thought of my friend Elise, from EliseCreates. She has been so kind and compassionate during our infertility journey. She asks genuine and sincere questions. I’ve always felt like she was coming from a place of love and just trying to be nosy or offer bandaid fix-it statements. So without further adieu:
You. GUYS. Today we are starting a VERY exciting series (?) segment (?)… I don’t know. But my goal is to have at least 4 interviews a month here on the blog to give you insight from other TTC sisters, experts or honestly just people I think you need to hear from.
A couple of weeks ago, I had someone reach out and ask me about adoption. Because we haven’t experienced adoption in depth at this point, I felt it would be best to have someone who has experienced adoption (in fact, MULTIPLE TIMES!) speak to this tender and necessary subject! Today, I’m excited to introduce you to Adrienne J. Biehl. She is the mama of two of the sweetest babes I’ve had the privilege of stalking on Instagram. hahaha. I’ve met little Q in real life and she’s the HAPPIEST baby, but I haven’t met little C yet. Adrienne and her husband Jason adopted Quinley and Callum as infants, and get this, WITHIN 5 MONTHS OF EACH OTHER. They’ve got a set of Irish Twins and now it’s my pleasure to share my interview with Adrienne with you!
How long were you TTC before you decided to move into adoption?
About 5 years.
What things helped you make the decision to adopt rather than do IVF or more infertility treatments?
I don’t have a really specific answer for this except that IVF or more fertility treatments just didn’t feel like the right path for us. Part of it had to do with the fact that my diagnosis was unexplained infertility. On paper, I should be getting pregnant. But five years later and I still wasn’t so I was hesitant to believe another treatment would do the trick. Of course it makes sense now, because our babies were meant to come to us through adoption, not through me. I never had a good answer for people as to why we weren’t doing IVF or more IUIs though. The truth was those options just didn’t feel right at the time. This is a totally and completely individual decision for you to make (with your spouse of course). No one but you will know what will be the right decision for your family.
What were some deciding factors in private adoption vs. through an agency?
Cost was the major deciding factor for us. When you go through an agency you’re looking at spending anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000+ and that was just super daunting for us. When we learned that private adoption was significantly less, we decided to start with that and see what happened, while also putting away money every month too, in case two years or something passed by and we were ready to go through an agency. There can also be politics and such involved with agencies and we just felt more comfortable choosing private adoption.
What things were surprising to you about adoption?
The most surprising thing was how much pure love I felt/feel for my babies’ birth moms. Even before my daughter, Quinley, was born, I felt so much love for her birth mom. I was first and foremost her trusted friend and wanted to be there for her, even if she changed her mind and decided to parent. And the exact same thing happened with my son’s birth mom too. I love them like sisters. That surprised me more than anything.
What do you wish you would have known going into adoption? Or what advice would you give to someone considering adoption?
Just to trust in the process and be patient, because it WILL work out the way it’s meant to. And to truly be yourself while trying to match with expectant moms. I feel like this is the hardest part because you’re meeting these women who are considering you to be her child’s parents, and you want so badly to impress them and to be who they want you to be. But the connection between expectant moms and hopeful adoptive parents happens without trying too hard. They will know you when they meet you, there is nothing to worry about. And if there isn’t a connection, it’s okay because YOUR baby will come to you just at the right time and in the right situation. It’s so difficult to just trust in the process and be yourself, but it’s the most important part. Also, know that no adoption story is exactly the same. If you hear stories of families adopting, each situation is completely different and beautiful in its own way. You can’t know how yours will play out, and that can be scary of course, but it’s also exciting and it gave me hope to know that it would happen our very own special way.
How can people be more considerate to adoptive families/adopted children?
Just like anything else, there is a lot to adoption that people just don’t understand. So I think asking respectful questions from a place of genuinely wanting to learn, and not assuming you already know everything about adoption can be helpful. For example, much of the language used around adoption can be touchy. A birth mom is not a birth mom until she relinquishes her rights and places the baby with the family she chooses. Until then she is an expectant mom, just like any pregnant woman. Another example is “biological parents” versus “real parents.” It can be hurtful to ask an adoptive family about the child’s “real parents,” meaning biological or birth parents, when we are very much our babies’ real parents. These are just a couple of examples. It’s okay not to know these things! But coming from a place of learning when talking to adoptive families or adoptees will make a world of a difference.
When you found out that not only one but TWO birth mothers wanted to place their babies with you and your husband, how did that work? Was there ever a time where you felt you had to choose between one or the other? (Even though we know you have two sweet babies now!)
Quinley was already 2 months old when Callum’s birth mom asked us to adopt him. It was a unique situation because we already knew Callum’s birth mom before she was ever pregnant, so she came to us just as a family friend to learn about open adoption when she was considering placing her baby. We weren’t actively trying to adopt again, but we felt strongly that if she asked us to adopt her baby, we absolutely would. There was never really a time where we felt we had to choose between them because Quinley was already a part of our family, but we definitely had to decide if we could handle bringing another sweet baby to our family, financially, emotionally, if it was the right time, etc. Of course it all ended up being perfect and right. We are so grateful for our sweet babies and looking back the timing was all perfect.
Did you do anything special to prepare financially to adopt two babies?
We were given the advice by our case worker to put aside money every month in an adoption fund. This could be helpful if we decided to go with an agency after a few years or something, then we would have money to begin with. Because of how fast it all happened for us, we ended up just using some savings. And since we chose private adoption instead of an agency, this was enough for us. Some families choose to fundraise, which is a great way to fund your adoptions.
How can people help families hoping to adopt?
Never hesitate to pass information or a possible opportunity on. If you know someone who is thinking of placing their baby, pass that information on even if you’re not sure it will work out. You never know! If the hopeful adoptive family is adopting privately, share their story on whatever mediums they are using; Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc. And if they are doing a fundraiser, support them! Buy the t-shirt, go to the dinner, donate even $5. Every little bit helps. I think what we appreciated the most was just the encouragement and support we received. It felt extremely vulnerable to share first our infertility journey and then our adoption journey with everyone on the internet and in real life, but it was so worth it, because we had so many people rooting for us and encouraging us in our journey. That meant (and means) the world to us.
Is there anything I might have missed that could be beneficial for our readers?
I think one more thing that might be beneficial to address is open adoption. Most adoptions these days have some level of openness, just because of social media, etc. We have super open adoptions with both of our babies’ birth families, which is what we all wanted. The level of openness in an adoption is determined by the hopeful adoptive family and expectant mother before the adoption takes place. On one end of the spectrum some open adoptions look like a picture and a letter once a year, whereas on the other end you have could have visits as often as every few weeks and send pictures, texts, have phone calls, etc. For us, we treat our babies’ birth families like our own family, and we see them often. This looks different for every family, and you don’t have to make it look like anyone else’s.
Didn’t you just love that? Adrienne has been so good about helping me to understand the adoption process. You can follow their story on Adrienne’s Instagram here. I have loved following their story and can’t wait to see those little babes grow up!!