It seems I had waited my whole adult life to become a Mom. After struggling with infertility and discouraged by many agencies against single parent adoption – I was beginning to feel that perhaps parenthood was not to be for me.

Then I found Adoption STAR. I initially went to an informational meeting looking to complete an International Adoption. With encouragement from the wonderful staff, I did apply to complete a Domestic Adoption and on December 31st, 2001 I flew to NYC to meet my beautiful daughter.
How has life changed in that time? How hasn’t it changed? My once quiet home is now filled with chatter, my rooms are filled with toys and books and children who love them, my yard is filled with swings and bikes… and my heart is full of love, admiration and amazement as I watch my daughter grow.

Thank you to Adoption STAR for my family and for continuing to reach out and serve all involved in adoption.

The day we received a call and our baby found us…..

It was the last snow storm of the year, Saturday March 8, 2008, around 3pm the phone rang. John went to pick up the phone and the caller ID showed Adoption STAR. He said, “Why would Adoption STAR be calling us on a Saturday?” I proceeded to answer the phone and our caseworker Sarah asked if we would be interested in hearing about a birth that took place locally and a birth mother had chosen us from our on-line profile. Of course, I wanted to hear more…

Sarah continued to tell me that the birth mother had given birth this morning and that the mother and baby were doing very well. She told me the history of the birth mother, her family and the father. She then asked if we were still interested?

My mind was spinning a mile a minute. I wasn’t comprehending everything she was telling me… I asked her to hold on a minute and told John to get to the other phone “IT WAS FINALLY HAPPENING” we have a baby!!! I then asked Sarah to repeat everything again so John could listen to what she was saying.

The baby was born at 7:15am. Very healthy 7lbs 8oz, 21 1/2 inches long, brown hair, the cutest square chin with long hands and feet. At this point we still didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl? I asked her if she would tell us the gender and she said it was a boy are we still interested? Of course, we both said without hesitation. It didn’t matter as long as he was healthy.

We were thrilled. We just couldn’t believe it. Sarah said she would call us back later and “Go ahead and start getting things ready your baby will be coming home tomorrow or Monday.” We could start telling our immediate families as she was the birth mother was going to surrender her rights later that day.

We met in the kitchen shaking and in shock, just looking at each other not believing this was finally happening after 13 long months of waiting… we were about to become parents. We decided to call our mothers first with the good new then the rest of the family.

I didn’t have many baby items as I wanted to wait until our baby came to us so my mother and sisters went out in the snow storm to shop. What fun we had.

Sarah called us back later to say that the birth mother was going to sign the surrender papers tomorrow and asked us if we had a name chosen so that she could get the paperwork started for us to pick up our baby on Monday morning. We told her his name was going to be Alexander William after our fathers.

We received the call from Sarah at 8:30 Monday morning for us to met her at the agency at 10 am to get the paperwork finalized and then she would go pick up Alex and bring him back to the agency. The hospital called around noon to inform us that we would be able to go to the hospital and pick up our son. I was trembling… so nervous to met our son for the first time. He was absolutely beautiful, just like Sarah described him.

Our journey as a new family had just begun…..

We thought we were ahead of the plan, until we received the call from Zachary’s birth mother one month prior to the expected delivery! We dropped everything and took off to Indiana very early the next morning. On our way we stopped in Buffalo to meet with Sue, she was so reassuring and genuinely happy for us! Just two hours before reaching Indianapolis we received a call that Zachary was having some respiratory issues and was being transferred to a neonatal intensive care unit downtown. We were so scared to hear this and so anxious to get to him. We first laid eyes on our beautiful baby at 10:30 that night and we knew when we walked into the unit which baby was Zachary. He was so sweet, laying peacefully on his belly with his little knees tucked up under him. When he was moved he let out a sound that we joked sounded like what we imagined a baby dinosaur would have made! We were so in love already. He did very well and was discharged from the NICU to us on Valentine’s Day. The whole week he spent there we were able to take care of the legal issues, learn about baby care from the best nurses ever, and spent much quality time with Abby (Zachary’s birth mother). Everyday we received support and encouragement from Sue at the agency. Thinking back we have so many wonderful moments from our day in court, dinners with Abby, putting Zachary in his carseat for the long travel home, to being greeted by our neighbors upon our arrival, and many, many more. However, the memory that we cherish the most is seeing Zachary so happy at his first birthday party. He is an amazing little guy, bursting with so much personality. Every day has been a wonderful day since the arrival of our beautiful son into our lives. No words could every describe the gratitude we have for Adoption STAR and their role in helping us finally grow our family!!

When you have tragedy in your life, friends always seem to make the same remark: Things happen for a reason. It’s meant to be soothing, and you appreciate the sentiment. But profound or insightful, it’s not. In times of grief though, what really is there to say?

Our first baby, Nigel Clifford, came suddenly. He was born March 9, 2009, approximately 2 weeks after we were home-study ready. His birth-mother selected us on March 10. We picked him up from the hospital on March 11. On March 23 he joined us for Michael’s grandmother’s 100th birthday party. Joy was abundant. On March 24 we were notified that Nigel’s birth-parents wanted to revoke their surrender of Nigel. The next day, with heartfelt advice from STAR, our attorney and family, we gave him up. The pain was overwhelming.

Things happen for a reason, people kept telling us.

In mid-September, STAR introduced us to an expectant mother in Buffalo. A month later, we received “the” call, sprinted to the hospital, waited, and at 4:29 p.m., she delivered our beloved son Julius Byron Jeraquël. Julius is joy personified, always smiling and laughing. He is simply the cutest, happiest kid of all time. Our hearts have swelled and our home brightened with Julius in our life. It’s our honor to be his parents, and we cannot put our immense admiration and love for his courageous birth-mother into the appropriate words.

We became a “forever family” on December 22. It was a glorious day, but just the beginning. Julius amazes us every day, and each day, we celebrate our life together as a family.

Whatever the true reasons were for our losing Nigel – divine intervention, a simple human change of mind, something else – had we not lost him we would not know Julius. And today, that thought is unimaginable to us.

It was 2002 when my husband and I first made the decision to adopt. We knew almost immediately that we would one day bring a child into our home through adoption. However, the questions of how and where and when remained until we sat in a tiny office on Niagara Falls Blvd and met with a case worker from a relatively new local adoption agency, called Adoption STAR. We knew instantly that this agency was different from the others we had researched. We felt strongly about their practices and philosophy and immediately took a huge leap of faith and registered.

Adoption grew my family.

Since that time, we have welcomed three of the most charming and beautiful children into our home and their stories are just as unique as their personalities. Besides the obvious, of being a busy mom to three active children, I see all the subtle ways that adoption has touched our every day lives.

Adoption grew my faith.

Adoption is an unpredictable journey fraught with risks. As hopeful parents, we put our trust, and our future, in the hands of an organization and in individuals. Sometimes we put our trust in the universe, that through divine orchestration, the child destined for us will somehow find us. Others, like myself, also hold onto our faith. That deep belief that there is a plan for our lives. There were many times when we couldn’t see far enough around the corner to know what the future would hold. But we always had hope and trust- in our faith, in the process and in Adoption STAR.

Adoption grew my circle of friends.

All I have to do is pick up my phone and scroll through messages to see that adoption has had the single largest impact on my circle of friends. Over time, we gravitate towards like-minded individuals. Those in similar circumstances, or who can relate by shared experiences. This is so evident in my circle of friends. These men and women “just get it”.

Adoption grew my perspective.

In order to fully appreciate the act of adoption, we must first look at what predicated it. My children lost the families to which they were born into. That loss is real and it’s big. Focusing only on the joy to which they bring me, is only half of the story. Adoption has caused me look and feel beyond myself.

Adoption grew my world view.

Being a parent to children outside my race has forced me to face issues I probably would not have otherwise considered. To more closely examine my beliefs and my biases. It continually reminds me to step outside of my box and consider other ways of life.

When I think back on life before adoption, I see a different life and a different person. Adoption not only touched my life, but changed and shaped every aspect of it. I have grown to the person that I am today because of adoption.

My husband Jason and I had been trying to have a baby. A miscarriage, fertility treatments and then news that our odds were so horribly low that we would ever have a successful pregnancy. After grieving we made the choice to adopt. We had talked about adoption especially since Jason’s family was touched by it from a young age. I will never forget that night. My tears dried and there was hope. Hope that we would have the family that we had dreamed of. We attended Adoption STAR’s orientation. The feeling we got was one of warmth and love. We fell in love with the agency and started attending the meetings with enthusiasm. After we were home study approved we received profile calls that didn’t work out. It was tough to get the news. Then THE call came. I was driving back to work on my lunch and had to pull into a parking lot. A birth mother already saw our book and wanted to meet us! We were beyond thrilled! We set up a meeting and we all clicked. It was like magic. She told us she was having a boy. She told us her hobbies and cravings and her plans for the future. We were officially matched shortly after. We exchanged numbers and she kept us updated on how she was feeling and her dr appointments. She was wonderful! We couldn’t believe how lucky we were to have this opportunity to share in her experience. After her last dr appointment she told us she would be going in to have the baby and that we could come and be with her at the hospital. What a gift. We were that with her family to support her. It was a long labor and she was amazing. Her strength was beyond measure. When the baby was born we heard the lullaby playing in the hallway. Jason and I were able to see her and the baby when she was ready. She handed him to me. Tears streamed down my face. He was the most beautiful baby boy! She let us have hospital bracelets so we could have full access to him. I cried as the nurse put it on my wrist. We were the ones to give him his first feeding and we watched as the nurse gave him his first bath. He was so sweet and perfect as the nurse took our first family picture. He grasped our fingers and stole our hearts! We didn’t have a room so we were shown to the family area on that floor. We held him for hours just marveling at this little miracle that was in our arms. We visited with his birth mom at the hospital and she told us she was happy for us. She told us that we deserved the perfect baby. She is such an amazing woman. We think about her every day. We talk about her often. She came to our home to visit with us and little Charlie. She told us she knew from seeing us in our profile book that we were the ones. It was meant to be. Adoption STAR brought us together. We will forever be grateful for their guidance in helping us make the most important & wonderful decision of our lives!

We cannot tell you how much this packet and the follow-up letter that came a few weeks afterward speaks about the quality of agency that Adoption STAR is. I have contacted numerous agencies over the years via email, telephone and in written mail and not one other single agency compares to the attentiveness and level of compassion that shines through in your single packet presentation. I am sincerely touched and grateful to have finally met an agency that I do believe my husband and I could feel comfortable moving forward with so that we could become a family and not just remain a couple.