My husband and I were married for about 7 years when our lives changed forever. We had worked with Adoptions From The Heart to adopt a child through their domestic program. We matched quickly, but it fell through in the end. But in 2004, our son Thomas came into our life. He was an emergency placement. We got the call on a Tuesday morning, and by that afternoon we laid eyes on him for the first time. I felt like the Grinch did when he realized there was more to life. My heart grew three times as I gazed upon his precious newborn face. I felt a connection and love that I have never felt before. And yet it was complicated. Why? Because I witnessed a very brave woman, so strong and resolute, make a difficult and painful decision. My heart ached for her. I wanted so badly to make her proud of the mom I wanted to be.

Colleen and Chris meeting baby Thomas for the first time in 2004.

Chris holding baby Thomas at the hospital in 2004.

Colleen holding Thomas at their hotel awaiting ICPS approval in 2004

We haven’t seen her since that fateful day. We lost contact with her, but my heart never forgot her. As time moved on, I worked hard to be the best mother. My son is an amazing child. I know everyone says that, but he is truly unique. He is now almost 16. He asked me recently if I could reach out to his birth mother. Thomas was always curious and thought deeply about her. I found her on social media. Just recently they connected. I want so badly for them to connect! The story is fresh and unfolding. Stay tuned!

Thomas at 14

Thomas at 15- an avid drummer, musician, and all-around great guy

Did we adopt again? Yes, 5 and half years later through another emergency placement. (Optional: Funny story, Colleen was on a business trip across the country when the call came about Brendan. She hopped on a plane the next day and we took him home the following day!) We had another baby boy whom we named Brendan. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw him. He was the Gerber baby. So cute and precious. He makes me smile every day! Finally, Thomas was a big brother! We never got to meet Brendan’s birth family, per their decision.

Colleen holding Brendan for the first time

Thomas meets his new baby brother and helps with feeding.

Brendan’s finalization ceremony (2010) our family is complete!

Brendan volunteering at a senior center at 10

Fast forward, our boys are 10 and almost 16. It’s amazing raising two children that are so different from each other and from us. Is it easy? Hell no! My teen is a hard-core metal rocker who marches to the beat of his own drum. My 10-year old is a ham. He is hilarious and very precocious. His adoption is closed. I would love for him to connect someday with his birth family. But right now, he just wants us. Do they get along? Not really. But when they do cooperate, it is magic.

Brendan and Thomas as children.

Brendan and Thomas

Our family of four.

If you’re considering adoption, reach deep. Do you want the perfect child, or do you want to be parents? You might be surprised. You might not get what you’re looking for, but you’ll get what you need.