Hello there! My name is Kelcie Grace (yep, I go by my first and middle name). I am so excited to be joining the Purl team as an Adoption Advisor! I recently became a mother through adoption and having the support of our Purl Adoption Advisor, Katie, was indispensable. I couldn’t be more enthusiastic to guide future families through their adoption journey. As I step into this new role, I thought I would start by sharing my family’s adoption story. I know I learned so much from reading and listening to real-life adoption stories when we first started this process. So without further ado…
I was always interested in adoption. When I was young, I would tell my friends that my baby dolls were adopted and that “their birth mom had named them”. As an adult, I knew that I had the heart for adoption. My husband took a little more time to come to the same conclusion. It wasn’t until we had traveled abroad and volunteered at a children’s home that he truly understood what it meant to love a child that was not biologically related to him. After that trip, we both agreed that one day we would adopt.
In fall 2019, I learned that my body was not designed to grow a baby and we made the difficult decision to not even try to get pregnant. After taking several months to grieve that imagined future, we began seriously exploring the idea of adoption. Like any good overachieving Type-A personality, I watched every YouTube video I could find, listened to hours of podcasts, and started collecting and reading adoption books. Before exploring the concept of adoption, I looked at it with rose-colored glasses, not fully understanding the trauma that it comes with. As I learned more I was overwhelmed by how messy adoption can be. My husband and I took a class to learn about open adoption and started to explore ways to pursue adoption as ethically as possible. We wanted to always keep the expectant parents and future child at the center of our actions. We interviewed many agencies, attorneys, and consultants before deciding to work with Purl Adoption Advisory. In the end, Katie won us over with her straightforward nature and steadfast commitment to adoption education and ethics.
In summer 2020, we began our home study process. Due to the pandemic and wildfires in our area, our home study process was a trudge to get through. During that time we started up a bake sale fundraiser to build up our adoption saving account. (More about our fundraising process in a future blog post.) We also joined a support group of fellow prospective adoptive parents who met every other week. This group proved to be an amazing resource for education and support throughout our journey.
Our home study was complete and we became an active waiting family in early December 2020. We signed up with 6 agencies and attorneys and with PairTreeFamily.com. Less than two weeks later, a young woman reached out to us via PairTree. We spent the next month chatting periodically via text and video. In January, she formally asked us to parent her child. We worked with Katie to identify a supportive agency to connect her with for the remainder of her pregnancy.
In February, we got the call that she was in labor. We frantically purchased airfare and headed to the airport. At the airport, we got a call that drastically changed everything. Long and complicated story short … the baby was born with unexpected and severe medical complications. She passed away on her two-week birthday.
This experience was devastating for everyone involved. We were lucky enough to have developed a strong connection with the mom and continued to communicate with her following the baby’s passing.Through her grief she told us she was grateful for all the support and care the agencies gave her and she knew over time she would heal. We took several weeks away from the adoption process. We needed time to grieve. We cried constantly, spent days curled on the couch watching pointless TV, ordered a lot of take out, and spent time connecting with loved ones who could hold space for our heartache. Katie was integral in our recuperation, she was one of very few people who truly understood what we were going through. With time, we knew that we wanted to continue with our adoption journey.
After rejoining the actively waiting families lists, the next few months were very quiet. COVID-19 impacts on the adoption world were apparent. We presented our profile with a handful of expectant parents to no avail. We continuously reminded ourselves that this period of waiting was to ensure that the child who comes into our lives will do so at the right time. Positive mantras and can-do attitudes only take you so far though. The wait is hard, there is just no way of sugar-coating it. It is a strange mix of emotions, wanting to adopt – knowing that your goal ultimately means a woman is unable to parent her child. During the wait, you have so much time to think and reflect, it is easy to get lost in the complicated world of adoption.
In June, we were asked if we wanted to present our profile to an expectant mom working with a sister agency in another state. We decided to give it a go. After sharing our profile we didn’t hear anything for almost 3 weeks. Just when we were beginning to lose hope, we got the call that we were picked by the expectant mother! (I will call her B.)
We had the privilege of traveling to B’s state to visit her and the expectant father in person a few weeks before her due date. It was a wonderful and also totally awkward experience. Kind of like a first date/blind date with an adult chaperone in the form of the agency support worker. We were so grateful to have met them in person so we could all get to know each other a bit more before the baby was born.
Early one morning in late July, we got the phone call that B was in labor! We were a bundle of nerves and excitement. I think we were especially cautious with our emotional reactions given our prior experience. Traveling to the hospital felt like it took ages! By the time we got there, the baby was tucked away at the NICU. We spent the next few hours splitting our time between the NICU and B’s hospital room.
That evening, together the four of us chose her first and middle name. We call her Lilli.
Lilli’s first parents signed parental termination documents three days after her birth. It was a bittersweet moment. B shared how difficult it was but also expressed her confidence in her decision.
We spent a total of 17 days in the NICU and another 10 waiting for ICPC to complete. We hit some legal snags that our lawyer navigated with grace and confidence. Though we longed to go home, the extra time there gave us more time to connect more with Lilli’s first parents and more time for Lilli to bond with them.
I look back at our adoption journey and I am reminded of how arduous and heartbreaking this process is. I also remember the joy, excitement, and deep deep love that it brings. I truly believe that it is essential to consider all aspects of adoption, the good, the bad, and the ugly. It is also important to remain hopeful and avoid drowning in sorrow and negativity. It is a hard balance to keep.
Purl Adoption Advisory was integral in our adoption process and I could not be happier to join efforts in this work. I hope that my professional background as a public health nurse brings a unique perspective to this team. I have a passion for learning and growing through the adoption process that I can’t wait to share. I am eager to walk beside families during their journey – to be a sounding board, an educator, a guide, and, most importantly, a friend.