A birth mother shares her story of navigating the adoption process while pregnant, the importance of finding a supportive adoption agency and the comfort of having an open adoption relationship with her child’s adoptive parents.
Liz started making an adoption plan for her baby daughter in the fall of 2016. Although planning an adoption while pregnant came with many challenges and difficult emotions, she says she is grateful to have felt so supported in the months leading up to her daughter’s birth.
“From the moment we walked in the door at Evanston Hospital and said we were working with The Cradle on an adoption, everyone was wonderful,” Liz says. “They were nothing but supportive.”
Seeking Adoption Counseling and Family Support
When Liz found out she was pregnant, she knew she was not ready to be a single parent and that this was not the life she wanted for her child. Her family stood by her every step of the way. It was Liz’s mother who first reached out to The Cradle for a packet of information about the adoption process.
After reviewing the materials, Liz contacted The Cradle and set up an appointment with her assigned adoption counselor. “I met with [my counselor] a few times to discuss what the adoption process looks like and to talk through the decision to make sure it was the right one for me,” Liz says.
The birth father was involved as well. He and Liz reviewed adoptive parent profiles on The Cradle’s website, and with their Cradle counselor’s help, they narrowed their selection from 10 families to five, and then eventually to one.
“It was very surreal, like the strangest online dating you’ll ever do,” Liz recalls. However, as they learned more about the family they were considering, it became clear they had made the right choice.
Meeting Her Daughter’s Adoptive Parents
After making a decision about a potential adoptive family, Liz scheduled a time to meet with them for the first time. She went into the match meeting with a combination of feelings.
“I hope they’re the right pick for my child,” Liz recalls thinking, “and I want them to like me because it’s a relationship that I hope will be an ongoing one.”
Her fears were allayed as both parties hit it off immediately. They planned to meet again the following week, but Liz went into labor early.
The adoptive parents were in the waiting room when Liz delivered a baby girl. Due to some complications, both Liz and the baby had to stay in the hospital a few extra days. Evanston Hospital provided a room for the adoptive parents as well. After they took the baby home from the hospital, Liz signed the surrender papers in the comfort of her parents’ home, with the birth father and counselor present.
Building an Open Adoption Relationship
Since placement, Liz has been exchanging weekly emails with her daughter’s adoptive parents. She appreciates their generosity and the openness they share, and she has had two visits so far — one for the baby’s baptism and an outing to the zoo.
“It’s an incredibly difficult choice to make and process to go through, but I can’t imagine it going any smoother than it did,” Liz says. “I felt supported from the moment I contacted The Cradle. Everyone is there because they want what’s best for the child. Knowing they are still there after the adoption process takes a great weight off your mind.”
For 100 years and counting, The Cradle has built nurturing families and provided lifelong support to people whose lives have been touched by adoption. Faces of The Cradle is a celebration of their stories. Meet more of the people who make what we do possible and all the more meaningful.