Elizabeth’s Adoption Journey
Adoption is a journey. In these features, we give hopeful adoptive families the space to share what they’ve learned, what they’ve struggled with, and what keeps them going. We’re so happy to introduce you to Elizabeth.
Tell us about yourself and how you made your way to PairTree?
I’m a solo adoptive mama to my amazing five year old son Jack. I am honored to have an incredible open adoption with Jack’s entire birth family — it’s truly wonderful that he’ll always know his first family and have that relationship with them.
I’ve been a foster mother for 6 years and in that time have fostered 11 babies and one amazing teenager. I’m also a volunteer host family with Safe Families.
In 2021, we matched with a wonderful mama who chose us to adopt her three-month-old baby girl. After mom signed adoption consents, Baby Girl was placed with us for about 6 months before mom came to me to say that she regretted her decision and asked if we would allow her to parent again. While it was heartbreaking to say goodbye to our newest addition, I knew it was the right thing to do and we supported mom during reunification.
After a year of healing, we are ready to try to grow our family again. Jack is baby crazy and LOVES to have little ones around. He will make a terrific big brother, and I cannot wait to add more joy and chaos to our tiny but mighty family.
What has surprised you about this process – good and/or bad?
The thing that has been the most surprising for me, but also really amazing, is the relationships we’ve made. We have talked with lots of expectant mothers along the way. While they weren’t a “match” in terms of us adopting their baby, we developed some genuine friendships as a result of getting to know one another. It’s been fun to keep in touch months and months later and check in on one another.
What do you think is misunderstood about adoption?
I see a lot of people talking about adoption as a fall back plan if they can’t conceive naturally. That sends so many terrible messages to adoptees — as if they were the “last resort” that parents settled for. I often hear people talking about adoption and transactional terms, as if it was just a means to an end. Adoption is not a fallback option or a last resort. Adoption is not just a way to add to your family. Adaption is a complex, complicated, nuanced roller coaster of emotions and relationships that takes a lot of skill and patience and compassion and understanding and education to navigate successfully for all three sides of the adoption triad.
Who are your biggest supporters? Who can you always turn to?
My mom is my best friend. Even if we disagree, she is always my biggest cheerleader and a huge support system. I’m only a little embarrassed to say that we probably talk four or five times a day!
Do you have a favorite quote or mantra?
I always say that my life‘s mission is to be “radically generous and disruptively hospitable.”
How often do you cry? (Seriously…)
I’m a happy crier, so… often!
What you are most proud of – so far – in this process?
I am really proud of how we handled the “failed adoption” of baby girl last year. We were under no legal obligation to reunite baby with her mom; mom had already signed adoption consents and was past the legal window for changing her mind. But I also could not sleep well at night knowing I prevented a mother from being with her child. It was definitely hard and I still miss baby girl so much, and Jack does too, but I’m really glad we did what we did and supported mom through reunification.
What scares you the most about this process — and why?
Truthfully, experiencing what happened last summer again. While I am so glad we made the decision that we did, it was really hard to think that our family was finalized and then have to say goodbye. We did the right thing, but it was very painful and I would definitely like to avoid that pain again.
If you had a magic wand, what would you like to change most about this process?
The ethics! I feel like so many people think that as something is legal, it is also ethical — especially in the world of adoption. I can completely understand how people are just so desperate to welcome a child to their family, and it can be hard to be completely ethical when all you want is to grow your family. But we owe it to the expectant mothers and the adoptees did you everything in an incredibly ethical manner, even if it doesn’t always benefit us.
Click here to learn more about Elizabeth. They’d love to hear from you!