Marci and Vorrice’s adoption journey began in 2015 when they were looking to grow their family. They met while living in Washington D.C. where Vorrice was stationed at the Pentagon and Marci was working at the US Agency for International Development. They got married later in life and when they began trying to have children, they hit a roadblock and things didn’t work out as planned. They explored all their family building options and in the end, decided that adoption was the best choice for them.
As a military couple – whose orders can change without much notice – they had concerns about how the adoption process would work given their family’s unique circumstances. They went to a few different adoption agencies before choosing Adoptions from The Heart.
One of the most surprising parts about the adoption process for Marci and Vorrice was how much initial paperwork was involved: clearances, home study, classes, etc. “You get so excited about starting this journey and it ends up taking a year to even go through all the steps to get approved,” said Marci.
The approval process time frame varies for each family. It can range from as little as 4 months from submitting the application to “entering the books” to significantly longer depending on all that is needed from the family. It took Marci and Vorrice close to a year to fully complete the process and little did they know, they wouldn’t have to wait much longer to meet their new baby girl.
“Once we were approved, a lot of people would probably say the hardest part was waiting for the baby but we only waited 12 days! So, I can’t say that we went through a lot of angst waiting for the baby,” Marci says.
They adopted a baby girl they named Layla who was born last year on Valentine’s Day and their life hasn’t been the same since.
Fears & Concerns
Like any parent looking to adopt, they did have some initial fears about the process.
“There’s a lot of fears like can we handle it? What will the baby be like? Is the baby coming from a healthy woman or a healthy family? There’s a thousand things to worry about,” Marci says.
The couple said they were fearful of what they might be getting themselves into. They also had worries over open adoption and how involved the biological parents were going to be. “We initially had concerns about someone trying to control our household and the way that we decided to parent from a distance,” said Vorrice. But these concerns were unfounded and their relationship with their daughter’s birth parents is very good.
Their adoption profile went live two weeks before Vorrice left on a seven-month deployment. The day after he left on deployment, they got the phone call that they were chosen to be parents.
“It was absolutely insane! It all happened so fast,” Marci says. Vorrice had just left the country and the biological family understood that he would be home in seven months and trusted Marci to do this alone.
“We were thankful that the family understood military life and that they were okay with going forward with the adoption even though Vorrice wasn’t home right away. We’re really blessed that they thought we were a good family to choose,” Marci says.
Marci went to New Jersey by herself to meet the expecting parents and spent several hours with them. She returned a week later with her sister to spend time together with the expecting mother as her due date approached. Marci spent three days with her daughter’s birth mom up until the day after her daughter was born.
One of the most special memories Marci has about her daughter Layla is being able to be in the delivery room when she was born. She cut the cord and was the first person to hold Layla and held her skin to skin. “I’m so grateful for Layla’s birth mother to have given me that opportunity, it was really special,” said Marci.
Finally, Meeting Daddy
Vorrice got to meet Layla for the first time when she was six and a half months old at a homecoming ceremony.
“We had a little sign that said, ‘I waited my whole life to meet you’ when Vorrice came off the plane,” says Marci.
It was such an emotional and exciting moment.
Everything has changed for Marci and Vorrice. “Now our life revolves around Layla. It’s not about what we want to do anymore but about what she’ll allow us to do”, laughs Marci.
Advice for Military Families
Marci and Vorrice offered some advice they would give other military families looking to adopt. They said the most important thing is setting up a support system and remembering it’s okay to ask for help. Since Marci was essentially a single-parent for seven months she said it helped to have friends and family visit her. “I lined up visitors for the whole seven months. Someone would come visit me and I told myself I could make it two weeks until another friend came to visit,” Marci said.
Vorrice said he understands why some military families interested in adoption may be hesitant because of the schedule that requires deployment. He also explained how the spouse that stays home may have to totally be prepared to be a single-parent for a certain amount of time.
The couple advised families not to wait for the “perfect moment” to adopt. “Don’t wait until you’re back from deployment, you have to just do it because you don’t know what family will pick you. They might pick you right away or you might not get picked for a year,” Marci says.
“It’s never going to be perfect timing for military families, it’s always hard but just do it. Go for it!” Marci says.