This month we are highlighting private adoption and our blog story comes from Stacey Pittman who is the Private Adoption Leader for the Regional Alliance. Here is Stacey’s personal story of adopting her daughter Megan, pictured above, and how valuing her life and Megan's birth mother’s journey has blessed their family.
“After years of struggling with infertility, my husband Robert and I decided to pursue adoption. Initially we were overwhelmed with all the different avenues, but after months of careful consideration and prayer, we decided to pursue private adoption. We had volunteered to work with teenagers at our church for more than a decade prior to this. Seeing many unplanned pregnancies, we wanted to help a teen mom in this difficult situation.
For the next 4-6 months, we were always working on something to finish our home study. In addition to our home study, we had to make an adoption profile book (similar to a scrapbook) that helped capture the essence of who we were in hopes that a teen mother would choose us to be the parents of their child. This was by far the most difficult part of the adoption process for me. Knowing that a young mother would choose us to parent their child based on a profile book we created was quite the challenge. Talk about pressure!
After the home study was completed and profile books were sent out, the wait began...and wait we did. After 6 months we had no hits on our profile book. At a year, a phone call to the agency indicated the same thing. By this point, I was certain that our profile books needed to be re-done. Robert began to question if we should remove all the references to church and volunteer work. Perhaps teen moms were repelled by the thought of a sterile environment with potentially judgmental, perfect people. However, the agency assured us that the right person would pick us and that we just needed to “trust the process”.
In February 2010, we were finally picked by a teen mom in Arizona! Her name was Katy and she informed us that she chose us based on our work with teenagers in our church youth group! She was 17 years old, already had a little boy, had to drop out of high school, and was living with her parents. When she got pregnant again her parents requested she make an adoption plan. We were matched very early in her pregnancy and began communicating via emails and texts getting to know each other. We found out through the agency that the only financial support she desired was the co-payments for her doctor appointments and hospital stay once she had the baby.
In April, Katy asked if we would be willing to fly out to attend her ultrasound appointment. We would all find out the sex of the child together. We quickly agreed and had the opportunity to meet her son and the rest of her family. We found out the baby was going to be a girl. We were ecstatic! After the ultrasound appointment, Katy’s demeanor towards us changed. She wasn’t as jovial and was reluctant to make eye contact with us. We left knowing something was wrong but didn’t know what. Within a week we got a call from the agency saying she wanted to parent the child. She had convinced herself it was another boy. When she found out it was a girl, she couldn’t follow through with the adoption plan. She had always wanted a daughter. We were heartbroken. The agency told us emotions would be high on both sides. They encouraged us to not react quickly, and certainly don’t “burn bridges”. They had seen teen moms change their minds back and forth repeatedly during a pregnancy. They said to let some time pass, maybe 3-4 weeks, then send Katy a letter showing our support. We wrote the letter, but didn’t get a chance to send it. Just before the suggested time period ended, we got a call from Katy asking, ‘Do you still want her?’ We quickly said, ‘Yes, we never stopped wanting her!’ She said, ‘Ok, I’m willing to do this.’ All of sudden, we were back communicating on a regular basis through text and email.
While we both were happy that she decided to pursue the adoption again, our hearts were very guarded. She had changed her mind once. Who’s to say she won’t change it again? We agreed to be optimistic, but decided to prepare for the worst. We prayed a lot and left it up to God if this child was meant for us.
Megan Grace was born on August 12th in the evening, just a few days early of the planned C- Section. The hospital was very accommodating and gave us an empty room across the hall from Katy. Katy had Megan sleep all day on her lap or chest in her room then would let us care for her at night. We thought this was going to complicate things and make it very hard for her to say goodbye, but Katy gave no indication that she would change her mind. In fact, to our surprise, she listed Megan Grace Pittman as her name on the birth certificate.
After being cleared to leave the hospital, a social worker was prepared to meet Katy at her house to release her parental rights. Katy asked the social worker to come the following day so she could spend time with her son who she had not seen while she was in the hospital. We didn’t think much of it however, the next morning we started getting texts that concerned us. By noon that day Katy’s parents were on their way to our hotel to take Megan back from us as Katy had changed her mind yet again. Her parents said they would work on Katy to change her mind. During that afternoon we continued to pray, believing the Lord was in control and His will would be done. To our great surprise, that evening Katy’s dad called us back and said the adoption was back on! In the end, Megan was only gone from us for a total of 8 hours. Katy did release her parental rights the following day and we were cleared to travel home to California.
Granted, our private adoption journey wasn’t perfect, but I don’t think any adoption is easy. They all have their ups and downs and you have to expect the unexpected. Once we accepted that and decided to let God’s will take over, we were more open to the process and our anxiety was replaced by an overwhelming sense of peace. We feel blessed to know Katy and have developed a close relationship with her family. Here she is pictured below with myself and Megan during one of our visits last year."
Because of Stacey and Robert’s commitment to trust God and value life, Megan now has both a connection to her past as well as a stable hope for her future. This story of open adoption has provided blessings on both sides: the Pittman’s get the joy of seeing Katy’s personal growth over the years and Katy gets to see how well-loved Megan is. What a beautiful story of persistence this is for those of us waiting for God’s plans to unfold in our own lives!