‘A mother has chosen you.’ It didn’t feel real. As painful as it was, I’d do it all over again.’: Couple adopts after ‘gut-wrenching’ disrupted adoption, ‘Everything led us to this moment’

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“Motherhood is something I felt my whole life has prepared me for, from helping in the children’s nursery at church as soon as I was old enough to dedicating my career and education to working with children and families. I have two degrees related to child development and I’ve always looked forward to the time where I would mother my own children. My husband and I talked about raising a family before we were even engaged.

We married in June of 2016 and shortly after, I had some health complications that led me to the discovery of premature ovarian failure. My worst nightmare came to life—my body isn’t able to conceive children. The day I found this news out is one that will live in my mind forever. This day changed the series of events that led me to where I’m at now, raising my adopted daughter, Remi, alongside my incredible husband.

After finding out having biological children would not be a part of our story, my husband and I took some time to heal and plan for the future of our family. We always talked about adopting, but imagined we would pursue it after having a couple of biological children. We didn’t know if we would ever be able to adopt a newborn baby, and we wanted the opportunity to raise a child from birth to gain the most experience we could. Through further research, I found out we could pursue a newborn adoption with an agency in our state.

Courtesy of Erica Matteson

We attended our first adoption informational meeting and went full-force into this decision for our family. Before we knew it, we were deep into piles of paperwork and home study to-do lists. It took us 6 months to complete our home study, and we became an active waiting adoptive family with our agency in December of 2018. Our adoption journey felt long. We waited 19 months before an expectant mother had any interest in speaking with us. We presented to nearly ten different expectant mothers with our agency and they all chose another family for their newborn baby.

In July of 2020, I connected with an expectant mother who lived 12 hours away from us in another state. We clicked right away and had so much in common. We spent the next few months building a relationship and planning an open adoption for her baby girl, who was due at the end of October (2 days before my birthday). This part of our journey brought us more hope than any other moment of our lives. We finally felt like the moment of becoming parents was in our foreseeable future. We had the opportunity to come up with a name for this baby girl, and we referred to her daily in our lives for months. The idea of her grew in our family and close friend’s hearts as we anticipated her arrival into our lives.

This baby girl decided to arrive 3 weeks early and her mother called us with the shocking news we had to hop in the car and take the overnight drive to their state to meet her. Baby girl ended up in NICU after she was born, and the first time we met her was a moment in my life I’ll never forget. The emotions and the feelings still live on in my heart. For the next 3 days, we lived in her NICU room and slept on the tiny couch together. We spent time with her mother and father and our conversations felt so natural and easy.

Courtesy of Erica Matteson

On a gut-wrenching day during our time in this hospital, we found out baby girl was not going to actually be our baby girl. Her mother chose to keep her. We couldn’t leave that hospital quick enough and we couldn’t get home as quickly as we wanted to. Our hearts shattered more each mile we drove away from that hospital and to our home 12 hours away. We returned home, not knowing what our next steps would be or if we could endure any more of this adoption journey. But something in our hearts knew we were still meant to be parents.

15 days after returning home from our disrupted adoption, we received a phone call from our social worker. I remember looking down at my phone to see the missed call and was so perplexed she was calling us on a Sunday evening. She usually emails, anyway. Before I could call her back, I heard my husband’s phone ringing. It was her calling him right after she called me, and my heart dropped at that moment. I knew right then she had something important to tell us.

My husband put her on speakerphone and we both heard the words, ‘A mother has chosen you.’ All of this didn’t feel real! We just returned home from what we thought was our moment to become parents, and here we are actually hearing about a new opportunity. Our social worker frantically gave us the details about this mother and her baby girl because she needed to know quickly if we were interested. This mother was already in the hospital about to give birth. We said yes quicker than we’ve ever responded to any large decision in our lives.

Courtesy of Erica Matteson

The next day, October 26th, our baby girl was born and we met her at the hospital when she was only a few hours old. We also met her birth family and have the most amazing memories of our time in that hospital. The pure opposite of what we just experienced in another hospital earlier that month. Remi was perfect and healthy. We spent the next couple of nights with just the three of us in our own room together. It was starting to hit us everything that led us to this moment was how it was meant to be.

Courtesy of Erica Matteson
Courtesy of Erica Matteson

If the first baby girl didn’t come 3 weeks early, then we would have never been able to be presented to Remi’s birth mother. The first baby girl’s original due date was October 27, but Remi was born on October 26. My husband perfectly worded it in a poem he wrote a couple of days after we returned home from our disrupted adoption:

Courtesy of Erica Matteson

‘We thought we had found you

In fact, we were certain

We thought we had held you

Fed you

Helped you sleep and heard you cry

Turns out, that was someone else

Someone who has become a beacon

A bright light cutting through the inky black

Carving a path to the most important thing in the Universe…

YOU’

Sean Cook Weddings
Courtesy of Erica Matteson

The Universe led us to our daughter. As painful of an experience it all was, I would do it all over again to have Remi Rose Lennon in our lives, in our hearts, and in our arms.”

Courtesy of Erica Matteson
Sean Cook Weddings

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Erica Matteson of Michigan. You can follow their journey on Instagram.  Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more touching stories about adoption here:

‘I heard my phone ding and felt my breath catch. ‘A little boy was born last night. He’s in critical condition.’ Without a second thought, we said, ‘YES!’: Couple shares beautiful open adoption

‘The nurse came in and said, ‘Her new parents are ready for her.’ Only 15, I kissed her soft baby cheek, and placed her into the arms of her mama.’: Teen mom embarks on ‘beautiful’ open adoption journey, ‘I couldn’t have picked better parents’

‘You need to place our child for adoption.’ How could he ask me to do that? I was totally alone.’: Birth mom becomes part of son’s adoptive family, ‘The moments we share are priceless’

‘How much longer?’ we asked. ‘We can expect twice as long as a straight couple.’ The call came. She was 17.’: Gay dads share open adoption journey, ‘It’s the gift of a lifetime’

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