Avery Lynn Brown at five months old
Published December 2015
By Shelbie Bostedt, Intern
For Natasha Brown, adoption just made sense. As she entered her 40s, Natasha thought more and more about beginning a family, but being unmarried with limited fertility options, she began researching adoption agencies, and The Cradle immediately stood out.
“A lot of agencies were saying similar things about their belief in openness, but what stood out was that The Cradle had a very set process for engaging both adoptive and birth families,” Natasha says.
Natasha had always wanted to adopt, even when she was younger, and with support from her mother and friends, she found the strength to pursue her dream of becoming a mother.
As she learned more about The Cradle and the process, including counseling for both birth and adoptive parents, to ensure that all parties were making the best decision for themselves and the child, the more certain she became of her decision to adopt through The Cradle. She went to an information session at the end of 2013 and loved what she heard.
“I didn’t want to adopt because I couldn’t become pregnant, but because I knew I could offer a really good home,” she says. “I was turning 43, and I thought, ‘This is a good time.’”
After a year spent completing all of her paperwork, the home study and adoptive parent profile, Natasha settled in for the wait. By late November 2014, she was “live on the list,” and waiting to be chosen. As a single mother, she was initially worried she’d be less likely to be chosen for a placement, but soon learned that many birth moms are open to single adoptive mothers.
“I learned not to think that everybody would want a husband and a wife, just because that’s how I was raised,” she explains. “I couldn’t judge what they’d want based on how I grew up.”
After four months on the waiting list, Natasha got a call about a potential match in the middle of a business trip to Florida.
“I was in total shock,” she says. “It had only been four months. I knew I had signed up for this, but am I really ready? It was a total, ‘be careful what you wish for’ moment.”
Natasha had a day to look over the material about the birth mother and decide if she was interested in meeting, and while she was overcome with nerves, she knew she had to say yes.
Her mother flew in to be with her in Florida, and gave her the reassurance she needed.
“She had been with me the whole way, and we said, ‘Let’s go for it, this is what we signed up for,’” she says.
Less than a week later, Natasha found out that while the birth mother hadn’t initially wanted to meet face-to-face, after looking at Natasha’s profile, she changed her mind.
“I felt like a little kid who got picked by Santa Claus!” she says.
Their meeting was an emotional one, Natasha remembers, with the weight of the decision the birth mother had to make hanging over the room.
“I had no questions about why she was in that situation,” Natasha says. “The part about the process that makes me cry the most is when I think about her and the decision she had to make. I have nothing but compassion for her as a fellow mom.”
A few days later, she signed the surrender documents and Natasha was able to take Avery home from The Cradle. The baby had spent three weeks in the care of the Nursery.
Natasha sends monthly updates and pictures to Avery’s birth mom. “I’ve had enough space to bond with Avery while also staying in contact and planning to see her a few times a year,” she says.
Now, with Avery home for eight months, Natasha reflects on how well The Cradle prepared her not only for motherhood, but as a mother through adoption.
“The Cradle did a wonderful job dispelling the myths about adoption,” she says. “Especially what the profile of a birth parent can be, and not just what you might picture.”
She is also thankful for the resources she knows The Cradle can offer her later in Avery’s life, as her daughter begins to understand adoption in different ways throughout her childhood.
“I can go to them about how to best support her whenever,” she says. “Once you adopt, you’re forever part of the [Cradle] family.”