Jessica's Adoption Story

Saturday, May 1

Andrew and I attended the Colorado and Wyoming Families Supporting Adoption (FSA) Conference in Denver and loved it! The day before, he had just returned from training at Philmont in New Mexico, so he had had a long week, but we were so glad we came. We met some amazing people, one of them was Melinda. She was attending the conference with her parents, and was planning on placing her child for adoption. She and her dad came in and sat down by us during the opening and we talked to them a little between classes. Then, at lunch, we sat down at a table, and we saw them go to another table and sit all by themselves. Andrew turned to me, and said, “We need to go sit by them.” Then, he grabbed his plate and left the table. I figured I better explain to the people at our table what we were doing so they would know we still liked them. He really left mid-conversation…it was funny. Anyway, then, Melinda’s mom came and we met her too, and she stayed the rest of the day. Andrew talked to them at the end of the conference and was dying to give them one of our pass along cards. I was worried about doing it because I didn’t want to pressure her and have all these hopeful adoptive couples handing her cards and trying to become her best friend. I was really worried and wanted her to feel welcome, not pressured to choose us. He did it anyway.

At the end of the day, our caseworker, Kelly, said he needed to talk to us and pulled us out into the hall. He told us that Melinda had looked at our profile on and she liked us! He hadn’t met with her yet, but he would be the next week, and would keep us posted. Holy cow! We were so excited! And we were amazed with everything that happened that day: they just happened to sit by us, we sat by them at lunch, and really, that we were able to meet them at all.

Tuesday, May 4

Kelly called in the evening after he met with Melinda and her parents. She still liked us…and was going to email us soon! Then, he realized he had taken our profile down for a “soft hold” so he said he’d need to put it back up so she could get our email address. We were a little worried, but it worked out fine. Her mom had actually printed out our profile, so they already had it. Kelly also told us we could be 50% excited, but it was a little hard to keep our excitement levels down! The waiting (for the emails) began; we really did check our email at least ten times a day after that.

Thursday, May 6

We got our first email! Actually, the funny thing is, Melinda sent this email at about 10 pm. We were going crazy checking our email so often, so I finally told Andrew we should just shut down the computer and play a game. We did. The next morning, we checked it, and saw that she had sent the email minutes after we shut down our computer! We were so impressed with that first email…she was so honest, open, and thoughtful. She asked us questions and told us to get back to her soon, but to not rush. She wanted us to really think about our answers. Honestly, we couldn’t think about anything else! We worked on them Friday, all day and all night. I probably interrupted Andrew during work a lot that day, but it was hard not to. We emailed her all of our answers on Saturday and waited for a response, which fortunately, we got!

We continued to email every few days over the next few weeks and found out a lot about Melinda. We grew to love her and we were so excited to get her emails. We also found out she was due July 7th, but she was waiting to tell us if she was having a boy or a girl. We even emailed her mom at one point. She asked us if they could come visit us on Memorial Day and we said yes! We couldn’t wait. Even though our caseworker said we should still be 50-60% excited, Andrew made a paper chain counting down the days until her due date!

Monday, May 31

Melinda and some of her family came out to meet us. We talked, played Sorry, looked at pictures, and ate dinner. Then, we talked more, and Andrew asked her why she had ever considered us and wanted to contact us. She and her mom shared their feelings of how they felt guided to our profile. Then, Melinda told us she thought we were wonderful, and that she wanted us to be the parents of her baby! Andrew and I both started crying; I couldn’t say anything, and finally, he said, “thank you,” and we rushed over to her to give her a hug. Actually, she was still sitting down on the couch, and I kind of felt like I was attacking her with a hug, because I didn’t even give her a chance to stand up! Everyone was crying and hugging at this point! Then she told us she was having a baby girl, and said she wanted to give us our first baby gift. She had made a beautiful baby blanket and gave it to us. We looked at some of her baby pictures then, and talked more, and then, they had to leave. We wanted to keep talking, but they were already leaving later than they planned, so we figured we better let them go.

That night, we were on the phone for hours, calling our parents and brothers and sisters. We were so excited and so happy that it was hard to sleep!

Over the next month or so, we were able to go visit Melinda and her family a few different times. We loved getting to know all of them better! We found that we have a lot of things in common, and we had so much fun learning more about her. We met with her, her family, and our caseworker to discuss details of her birth plan—what she wanted to happen before, at, and after birth and placement. It was hard to think about some of those times, because we knew it would be so difficult for her, and hard for us to watch her hurting. We feel so grateful that we all wanted to have an open adoption and we are excited to have Melinda in our lives forever!

Sunday, July 4

Our lives were forever changed this day, and it had nothing to do with fireworks! The day started off like a normal Sunday; we got up and got ready for church which started at 9 am. I was going to teach my Primary class, the 6 and 7 year olds, and Andrew was going to Elder’s Quorum. When I got to Primary, I even volunteered to teach another class because their teachers were out of town. Then, at 9:14, Andrew’s phone started to vibrate. We never used to take his cell phone to church, but the last few weeks, it went everywhere with us, and was usually hidden in his pocket, on vibrate. Once he realized it was his phone vibrating, he looked and saw Melinda’s name and rushed out of class to answer. She said her water had broken and she was heading to the hospital.

He came down to Primary and came behind my row and said, “We need to leave.” I asked, “Really?” and of course he said yes. Would he have really joked about that? I told them we had a family emergency and needed to leave, and left all my stuff there. Andrew grabbed his things out of his class, and we took off. At this point, it was only 9:18, so we were still doing good on time. I called Melinda and she said her water broke around 8:50, and they were on their way to the hospital. Fortunately, she was not yet having contractions, so she was feeling pretty good and ready for this baby girl to get here!

We got home, threw together the last few things we had and got in the car. The two hour drive seemed to go so quickly, although Andrew went the speed limit the whole way. On the way, we called and texted our family members and wondered if this was really happening! I had printed off directions to the hospital weeks earlier, but unfortunately, they weren’t the best instructions. Fortunately, we did have our atlas with us, so we were able to figure out where we were going without too many problems…although it was still a little stressful! We made it there, and got up to her room about 11:45.

Melinda’s contractions started just before we got to the hospital, but she was doing amazing! We were able to visit with her, walk around with her (for a little bit), and enjoy being with her more. She was doing great, and then all of a sudden, things started to change, and the contractions started getting worse. We left the room for a little while, and were actually going to go eat something, and then, they told us to not go anywhere. She was dilated to a 7 and things were moving quickly. She decided to get an epidural, which helped a lot with the pain. It helped me too because it was hard to see her in so much pain. I wish we could have taken that pain away…oh how we love her! Even as I am writing this, more than two months later, I remember the emotions that filled us at the time, and am still overcome by them.

At 3:02 pm, she was dilated to a 10 and they started getting things ready. Andrew and Melinda’s dad and siblings were waiting in the family waiting room. Her mom and I were able to be in the room with her. What a blessing! I am so grateful that she was willing to let me stay with her for this special time; it meant so much to me. Melinda was incredible! She pushed and pushed, and did everything just right…fortunately, things continued to go well and quickly, and the most beautiful girl in the world was born at 3:49 pm. She was perfect, with plenty of dark hair, and she hardly cried at all! She was amazing! Melinda held her for a little bit and we talked about names…she wasn’t Jessica until that point. They measured and weighed her and had to warm her up a little, and then I took a little break to go deliver some news to the others.

After awhile, we all piled back into the room, took some pictures, watched Jessica’s first bath, and then prepared to move rooms. We were so fortunate to be able to stay in the hospital, in a room right next door to Melinda’s. The nurses were amazing; Melinda’s delivery nurse was also LDS and her daughter and son-in-law had recently adopted through LDS Family Services as well. She never works Sundays, but because of the holiday weekend, she was assigned to, and she was great! There really are no coincidences in life…it is amazing how everything works out.

We got to our new room and called our families and our Bishop, ate some dinner, and tried to really understand what was happening. Everything really was a blur for the next few days…but it was wonderful! Melinda wanted Jessica to stay in our room at the hospital, so she could get some rest. We were so worried that first night! Because Jessica was born so quickly, she still had some things in her that she would start to cough up and choke on at times. We were so afraid she was going to choke, that we would get up and check on her with every sound she made! She didn’t want to sleep for a few hours in the night, even though we did, so we got a lot of practice trying to stay awake in the middle of the night. It was a long night!

Monday, July 5

The next morning, we brought Jessica over to Melinda and they hung out for a few hours. She told us to go take a nap, which we did! I felt so much better after that nap! Melinda’s family came that day too, and we told them we were going to explore around town, so we left for most of the day. It was interesting, being out and exploring, when we had a little baby back at the hospital. Most people don’t get a day like that when their child is only a day old, so it was kind of fun for us!

We were able to visit more with everyone later that night…they really need bigger hospital rooms. We never had enough chairs! That night, Jessica stayed with Melinda. We were hoping she would sleep well for her, but she wasn’t quite used to sleeping through the night in those days, so we felt a little bad when we found out she was up for a few hours with her as well.

Tuesday, July 6

Tuesday was placement day and we knew it was going to be a big day. Melinda was going to be discharged and we were going to be able to bring Jessica home. While we were looking forward to it, at the same time, we weren’t. There were a lot of emotions and we knew it would be a hard day. Our caseworker Kelly came and met with Melinda to sign paperwork. He said she was amazing…but we already knew that! Then, he met with us for our paperwork. After that, we all met up in Melinda’s room to visit and take more pictures. Like all of our visits, this one was great, but I felt like I could only talk so much before I started to cry. The spirit and the love that was felt in that room was so great that it isn’t something that can be discussed on a blog or really even described through words. We were filled with love for Melinda, her family, and for Jessica. We were amazed at her strength and love for her beautiful little girl. She is incredible and we are so grateful for her!

I think we could have stayed there all day, but eventually, it was time to go. Melinda brought Jessica over to us and placed her in my arms. It was a great moment. We all left the hospital together and visited a little more in the parking lot. Eventually, we all got in our cars and drove away.

We got a little lost, but eventually made it onto the right freeway and headed home. Jessica was sound asleep for the entire drive; even when we stopped to feed her, she feel asleep soon after we started driving again. Andrew and I were talking and we really couldn’t believe we were finally parents! It felt so incredible and so unreal. We felt so blessed! That night, we shared the news with the world. We were so excited and wanted everyone to see our beautiful little girl!

We are so grateful for Melinda! We felt that she was guided to us and that we were guided to her. We are so blessed and grateful that it was the will of the Lord for Jessica to join our family and that her amazing birth mom was strong enough to place her with us. She has made an incredible sacrifice, one that was filled with love for her beautiful daughter. We love her so much! Our lives are blessed every day by her actions! We are so grateful for open adoption and that she will always be a part of our family!

1 comment:

  1. Brianna, thank you so much for sharing your experience of Jessica joining your family. My daughter is 16 and due in March. I have worried a little about not knowing what to expect at delivery time. Nicole has chosen her family and they are amazing. Already they love her so much. I hope our experience is as touching as yours. I know it will be hard, but having a family that is so loving will make it easier to let them take the baby home with them. Your kindness toward Melinda, how you were so concerned with her and her feelings was just amazing and so Christlike. Thank you for sharing. I hope our experience has the same special spirit that yours did.