Our family’s path to pursue foster care and adoption is born out of our faith and our desire to offer up our suffering and channel it into compassion and love.
We have always felt we had a special calling for adoption, even though we can have children naturally. We first considered adoption when we lost our firstborn daughter at twelve days old to a heart condition (HLHS). She was born with half of a normal heart and was expected to live and thrive after progressing through a series of three surgeries; sadly, however, she faced unexpected complications. We were able to donate a freezer full of breastmilk that was intended for her to an adoptive mother whose child also spent time in the NICU. Over the years since, this mother was kind enough to send us updates about her son, to whom we felt a special connection.
Since then, we welcomed three more boys (who are currently six, four, and two years old), and so put the idea of adopting on hold. Now, although we are physically able to have more biological children, we would love to complete our family through adoption and to give a home to a child who is already here.
Our family was officially approved for private adoption last December. While we are still pursuing this route, we feel increasingly drawn to foster care and/or foster-to-adopt programs. Within the world of private adoption, we have been dismayed by the focus on external appearances. Please do not misunderstand—we are fortunate to have a beautiful family and to share wholesome, Catholic-based values of love, humility, and compassion in our daily lives. Yet, as we were advised to take on social media consultants, website-builders, and other adoption professionals, we found ourselves questioning whether such resources and time might be better spent by opening our hearts and home to a child in a more direct fashion.
We are drawn to foster care and foster-to-adopt as a way of gleaning meaning, beauty and love out of our suffering, and channeling our own grief into something beautiful. I remember gazing up at the crucifix during Mass, over and over, in the months after our daughter died, which began to give me glimmers of hope. We hope and believe that such an experience might be a meaningful journey of love for our existing biological children, who have welcomed each subsequent sibling with open arms. Their elder sister would have been eight years old this past year.
One constant throughout our journey has been our faith. My husband, who is a Catholic convert from Anglicanism, walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain as a true pilgrimage before being officially received into the Church. His journey also served as a fundraiser for a child who suffered a stroke and spinal injuries. Today, our faith is present in our daily lives: as our eldest living child leads his siblings in the blessing before meals, as he teaches them to genuflect and perform other outward expressions of faith, and as we strive to instill values of humility, compassion, and love within our family each day.
I remember when we were first considering a foster and adoption journey. We were visiting our daughter’s grave with our family, in a cemetery tucked away in a beautiful hamlet near our home. We knelt by her grave, spoke to her and prayed to God, asking Him if the adoption/foster route was the right path for our family. I asked God, if possible, to show us a sign of what to do. Lo and behold, as we left the cemetery and turned on the main road, we noticed a small, purple and white sign, that said “Become Foster Parents Today.” The sign surely was standing there when we turned in; I believe God called us to see it.
To be clear, we are not seeking to replace the daughter we lost. This is a reality that any parent who has experienced loss knows all too well. We are, however, seeking to channel the love we had for her into a child in need of a home, and to open our home and hearts to another family. Perhaps our journeys of loss might intersect.
Our journey includes the strongest support for expectant mothers and fathers who choose to parent their children when facing unexpected situations, and we have connected with some wonderful non-profits, both on the local and national level, that empower expectant mamas. In that regard, we are not seeking to find a baby for our family, but to open our hearts and home to an expectant mama who chooses to make an adoption plan.
Megan and her husband Adam have been married for almost 15 years and live in New York. They are parents to three biological sons, one daughter in heaven, and are hopeful adoptive parents. You can read more about their adoption story here. You can also follow their journey of loss on Instagram: @meganadamheart4adoption