Why did you choose IPAS?
We always talked about adoption, even before we were married. Both of us have family members who were adopted and we have a heart for this. We chose IPAS after asking Stephanie Grant questions for a few years. One of the things we were concerned with most was how long before we "knew" our baby would be ours forever and no one could take her away. That was a huge factor for us.
What was your wait like?
God's timing is perfect in this. We made our decision to jump into this process in September of 2011. We had the opportunity to take our classes in two weekends and chose to do that. Shortly after our class, we had our home inspection and were ready for placement by early November of 2011. During this time, the agency had a long spell of boys. Since we requested a girl, there wasn't even one to be placed until August of 2012. We weren't picked for that girl, and although it was tough not to be chosen, we understood that wasn't the right baby for us. We struggled at waiting for 14 months for a placement but knew that God had the perfect baby for us. Honestly, the wait was the hardest thing and our faith was stretched with this. Numerous times, Andrea questioned if we were supposed to adopt or if we got it wrong. The agency was amazingly supportive in all of this.
What was it like to get "the call?" What happened?
We actually got a call in June of 2011 asking if we would consider taking a baby boy. We prayed, talked, and cried about it. When we were about to say, "Yes," we heard that someone else wanted this little guy so we were at peace that he wasn't supposed to be ours. Telling the agency we'll let this one go was one of the hardest things to do. Fast forward to January 25th and we were going out of town. We had a deal with our social worker, Stephanie Grant, that we would always let her know where we would be since we couldn't always be reached on cell. On our way out the door, Andrea e-mailed Stephanie and let her know our plans for the weekend. At the end of the e-mail she wrote, "I just have a feeling we're going to get a call from you soon." Little did we know that within 2 1/2 hours, our baby would be born. The next day, we got a call asking if they could show our profile since the baby was in NICU. We talked it over and said, "Yes." Within two hours and a 30 second prayer, we had a call asking if we would like to come and meet the baby.
How did you feel when you saw your baby for the first time?
The drive to the hospital was strange. Andrea was so jealous that Stephanie Grant had seen our baby before we did. When we walked into the room and saw Mallory for the first time, the first thought through Andrea's head was, "Oh Lord, she's so small. Her siblings are going to run over her." Mallory only weighed 3 lbs. 6.5 oz. Was it love at first sight? I can't claim that it was. However, I felt a connection with her and a sense of responsibility. Within 24 hours, I could claim that it was love and the mama instinct took over full force. I had to get back to the hospital soon and my mind was obsessed with my new baby girl.
How was the finalization process?
Very smooth. The hardest part after the 14 month wait was the wait for the birth mom to sign her relinquishment papers. That didn't happen until five days after Mallory was born. Everything else was easy as breathing.
Are you enjoying parenthood (of a child you adopted)?
We honestly can't see a difference between her and our biological children. When we look at her, she's not "our adopted daughter" but she's "our daughter." The love we feel for her is no less than we feel for any of our other children. The kids love her and are really great with her. Not once have they asked to send her back or been frustrated with her. Our family feels complete now.