Lori and Dan are no strangers to the beauty of open adoption, but things didn’t start off that way. “I never imagined in a million years that things would be this way, but now I can see how happy this little boy makes so many people,” Lori explained.
Rewind a couple of years to when a friend of a friend referred Lori and Dan to Adoptions From The Heart. After years of dealing with infertility, they felt like it just made sense to explore this new option. “We got a very good vibe at the informational meeting we attended in the office. My husband and I are both teachers so we knew we wanted children and we were just so excited to get started with the process.”
After beginning the process in January and then entering the books in June, it was hard to fight the desire to baby proof and prepare for a new bundle of joy. “I wanted to start cleaning and setting up the baby’s room; I wanted to be ready, but not too ready.”
“We waited a year before we turned to our social worker and asked what we could do. Honestly, we went into the program with a really conservative key and throughout the process and the wait we really opened up.” In August the Connecticut couple was chosen by a birthmother due in October. The first meeting came in September and with that also came lowered levels of anxiety. “Going into the meeting with our birthmom Julie I was a nervous wreck, but when it came down to it, it was just a bunch of people sitting around a table talking and we had a lot in common.”
September was well underway and that meant both Lori and Dan were spending their days in the classroom. Their colleagues wanted to throw a baby shower, but Lori wanted to keep things as discreet as possible until after the placement.
“The other teachers bought a great swing for the baby and wrapped it up in normal paper because they knew I didn’t really want to make it a big deal. Little did we know, Julie was in labor at the same moment as I was having my adoption shower.”
“We got the call during the school day and my husband actually answered his phone during class. Looking back I’m so happy my replacement was there and with my students. I passed my class in the hallway as they were leaving an assembly and they knew right away, so much for keeping it a secret!”
Originally, Julie wanted more of a hands off, less-open adoption and Lori and Dan were open to whatever happened and began to send letters and pictures. At the Connecticut holiday party the families reunited and again in the spring for finalization. “We hugged the first time we met and we just had good feelings right away. After finalization we all went out for ice cream after court and honestly it was like seeing family.”
As time went on, Lori and Dan and Julie they more openness . “We talked about it with our social worker first who said that in our situation she thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea and so we shared emails and addresses. “It has gotten easier for us ever since we really opened up. They are added on my list and I send photos and updates a couple times a week and they really appreciated it. And we email back and forth, it really is special.” Julie’s parents are very involved and Julie’s dad will always say “one more for the road” and kiss Sammy. An open adoption that are multigenerational was a very pleasant surprise for Lori and Dan. “We are very lucky and we are even paying it forward, encouraging another couple to join the Adoptions From The Heart’s program.” Even though this was the first time the families attended an AFTH picnic, it certainly won’t be the last.