Molly & Chad's Story

We had been married for more than eight years and we always knew we wanted a family. After struggling with infertility, we were exhausted but sure that we were meant to raise children together.

Seeing adoption as a choice rooted in love – from the birth and adoptive parents’ perspective, we knew this was the path we would pursue. Like many families starting the adoption process, we were concerned that it would take a long time, no one would select us, and we wondered if we would bond with the child.

Quite frankly, we were terrified, but we had already been through so much on our path to parenthood we hoped that all of the tough lessons had strengthened us and prepared us that much more for building our family.

Adoption, in general, can be overwhelming. At the beginning of the process it can feel like you’re trying to learn a new language. Ultimately, we decided that when choosing an adoption agency, the two most important things are good communication and knowing the treatment of the birth parents is ethical.

We found all of that and more working with Graceful Adoptions.

The Graceful Adoptions’ team are just good and decent people. We found the person they recommended to complete our adoption home study had the same decency and kindness. They were respectful to birth parents, the communication was great, and we never felt like our ethics were compromised.

We were ready to be parents and were focused on building our family so we approached adoption with our minds and hearts open. We felt comfortable and had a good feeling about working with Graceful Adoptions so we tried to learn and listen as much as we could.

We truly embraced the mantra “let go and let God.” We were so hopeful the right child would find his/ her way to us. Initially both of us only thought about the possibility of adopting a newborn. As we started to speak with Graceful Adoptions and go through our home study process, we started talking a lot about toddler adoption and decided that we were open to that path.

During a visit with our home study investigator, she said something that stuck with both of us. She told us that she thinks about deciding what you are open to as “leaving doors open.” It’s not that you have to walk through those doors, but they are open to you. We decided that toddler adoption was a door that we needed to leave open alongside newborn adoption.

Our goal for our family is to continue the kind of families our parents and grandparents have raised. We recognize that it takes hard work and love throughout a child’s life and we knew any child who came to us was just the start of building that family. Whether a newborn or a toddler, we were committed to the ongoing love and support it takes to have our family grow.

We were prepared for a difficult and long process with multiple disruptions. However, our experience was very different.

We were matched in less than two months and brought our son home in less than three months.  From the moment we saw Liam’s picture, we instantly felt a bond.  Liam was three years old when his mother made an adoption plan. When we heard about Liam, we didn’t hesitate to say we were interested in being considered for him. Hearing about a three year old whose entire life was going to be turned upside down, we were both instantly struck thinking about what a frightening situation that was going to be for him. We both knew that if we were chosen to parent Liam that we would do everything in our power to make him feel safe and loved.

We were a bundle of nerves when we learned Liam’s birth mother had selected us for a phone interview. Excited and terrified all at the same time! While someone may dream their whole life about having children we highly doubt they ever consider having to interview for the privilege! Would she like us, would we like her, were we making a huge mistake, what if she didn’t pick us, oh my goodness what if she DID pick us?! Moments into the call we all bonded over how nervous we were and from there we quickly realized she was an amazing woman and we felt a natural and respectful connection with her. When we met her and Liam in person, the relationship was easy.

After meeting Liam for the first time, we both fell in love with him and knew that he was our son. He is the most beautiful, loving, and kind child! He is smart (really smart!), silly and joyful. There is a light in him that we could not imagine living without, our story was absolute fate.

Although we would do anything to have been Liam’s parents from his birth, we feel so fortunate to get to be Liam’s parents now and we are thankful every day that we chose to keep the toddler adoption door open.

Looking back on how we got to where we are today, it all seems like a blur (turns out, life with a three year old is busy!). It’s difficult to explain the unique experience of a toddler adoption transition. But I do know that we would have never made it through without Graceful Adoptions hand-holding.

We knew we were happy with our choice in adoption agencies, but we had no idea how good of a choice Graceful Adoptions was until we went through the transition. Their staff provided emotional support to us, advice on attachment, and made sure we were in legal compliance and doing everything necessary to get to take Liam home. The guidance Graceful Adoptions gave us allowed us the time and energy to have a transition that set us up for success once we brought Liam home.

Our transition is our family’s own beautiful unique story. We got to know Liam and spend quality time with him and his birth mother setting the foundation for the wonderful relationship that we enjoy today. Because Graceful Adoptions made sure that all legal aspects and paper work were being done and nothing was being missed, we were able to enjoy our time together with no distractions. We got to learn Liam’s favorite things and how to comfort him. We bonded over daily trips to the park and swimming pool and shared our first family meals together. By the time we got to go home, Liam had decided to start calling us mommy and daddy.

The night we got home, our family was there to celebrate.  Our home felt so full of joy and love, Liam instantly felt embraced by all of it and we felt so supported. Liam still talks about his Grandpas putting his bed together and helping to set up his room.

Watching him form relationships with our extended family is one of the most rewarding parts of getting to be Liam’s parents. He instantly bonded with his grandparents and quickly became a favorite among the cousins. It’s all part of the healthy, strong family we want to continue to build.

Toddler Adoption

We know we are extremely lucky. We know that not everyone’s adoption journey will be like ours, but we do know that if you choose to work with Graceful Adoptions, you will feel just as supported as we have through the adoption process. We also encourage you to keep your heart open to toddler adoption. We will not say that it isn’t hard work, but being a parent is hard work no matter the age. We are not sure that much can prepare you from going from childless to the preschool drop off.  But we wouldn’t trade our story for anything else. For us, it’s exactly how it was always meant to be.

Molly & Chad
Ankeny, IA