‘I’m sorry, you were my second choice.’ 2 weeks later, we got an email titled URGENT. They’d changed their minds.’: Family of 5 adopt newborn from birth mother, start beautiful open adoption

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“What would it be like if we realized our ‘yes’ could completely alter the course of our existence? What if we realized our ‘yes’ would alter the course of someone else’s life? The day to day, week to week, season to season, we are filled with opportunities to give our yes. This has been the theme of Ethan and I’s story from the very beginning. From where it all first started, surrounded by the mountains of Northern California, to now being by the Great Lakes of Michigan, our story has been a continual adventure of saying ‘yes.’

Courtesy of Lydia Bricker

Ethan and I met in 2011 when I was just seventeen, and he was eighteen. We had both just graduated high school from opposite sides of the country. When we first met, I knew Ethan was a country boy from Michigan. From being captain of the track team to knowing how to break a horse to growing up in a God-loving home, I was endlessly impressed by who he was. Then there was me, a city girl from northern Utah who was wrapped up in music, the arts, and serving in my father’s church — we could not have grown up anymore different!

Courtesy of Lydia Bricker

We started dating within just a few weeks of knowing each other, and it did not take long before we were completely head over heels for each other. Ethan and I both have very similar personalities; when it comes to the enneagram, we are both EIGHTS. For those of you reading who do not know about the enneagram personality test, Eights are the challengers. We both are headstrong, dominant people who go hard after dreams and never give less than 100%. When it came to building a life together, you can just imagine how intense this made our story!

We got married when I was 19 and he was 21 during our internship year of schooling. People thought we were crazy to get married this young! I remember our wedding day when I was headed down the aisle to him as he was crying looking at me like I was the greatest prize he could ever receive. When someone looks at you that way, you do not wait — not a day has gone by when I have regretted giving my entire being to this man. We were young and had dreams of having a big family and changing the world.

Courtesy of Lydia Bricker
Courtesy of Lydia Bricker

Three months into marriage, we got pregnant with our firstborn, Graceson Bravery. This started what seemed like the endless season of pregnancies to me. The following year of having Graceson, we welcomed our daughter Scarlett AnnaRose into the world. Then, just fifteen months after her arrival, we had our second son Knightly James. That is a whole lot of yeses! With both Scarlett ad Knightly, I was put on bed rest for the majority of my third trimester. We had always had a heart for adoption in our family. With each pregnancy having more complications, we felt like this was the Lord confirming in our hearts that adoption was to be a part of our story.

Three kids deep, we started the process for adoption. We contacted Bethany Christian Adoption Services to tell us where to start. Next thing we knew, we were sitting in a Tuesday night orientation eating pizza and drinking coke wide-eyed at all of the information coming at us. That car ride home was silent. It was not so much there wasn’t anything to talk about, but we were so overwhelmed and feeling so many things about all of this. We walked into that orientation thinking this was about us, about our family planning, about what we wanted. We walked out of that building knowing we did not know what we did not know. To continue this, it would take a much bigger yes than signing up for our attendance to this meeting.

Courtesy of Lydia Bricker

In our world, it is easy to believe what culture makes us believe about adoption. Culture has put shame on adoption over the years. Getting pregnant out of wedlock wasn’t okay — for so many centuries they would send these women away during pregnancies so no one would know, then they could come back after birth when the child was born and placed with another family. That mother would most likely never see her child again. The whole process was filled with nothing but shame and secrecy. Adoption.

Some things have changed over the past few decades though. Hope came back, what really mattered came back, and what really mattered was love. Love for the birth mother, for the child, and for the adoptive family. One of my favorite verses out of the bible says, ‘He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.’ -Ephesians 1:5. Adoption’s goal has to be family and unity. Society is catching on now that adoption is not a means of a clean slate to a journey, but it is simply just an added chapter to a beautiful story.

We left the orientation knowing for adoption to work for us, we wanted to be open to a birth mother being a part of our child’s story. We felt so strongly in our hearts their story did not start with just us, and so we would not try to cut that part of the story out. We filled out the pricy application which had us put our money where our mouth was, then began to fill out more paperwork than a mortgage makes you fill out.

We received our home study approval on July 4, 2017, while we were on an Alaskan cruise, and I can remember celebrating over Crème Brule while nervously laughing at what our yes had gotten us into. We received our first baby profile to view just one month later, and I had never been so nervous in my life. Here was this baby who was just an hour north of us waiting in the hospital for their forever family. Now, how this works in a domestic private adoption is you will receive profiles, and you can decide then if you want to be presented to the birth mother. At that point, if you say yes, the birth mother will look over at all of the adoptive families’ profiles who are interested, and she will decide the best fit for her child. This was the beginning of twelve no’s… I don’t know if I can fully express the amount of rejection you end up feeling from being told no over and over, but it can really make you question things.

The wait felt endless. After every profile that didn’t work out, Ethan would always say God had the perfect baby for our family, God already knew this before it happened. Of course, after each pep talk, I caught myself at TJMAXX buying baby stuff I knew wasn’t necessary since I had three kids and already owned everything possibly needed. My nieces ended up with a lot of girl items after this part of the journey was over. What I held onto in this season and what I would pass on to every waiting family out there is this: when the yes comes, it makes all the past nos make sense. When you get that call and see that sweet face, it makes every past baby profile you had wished was your yes make sense they were actually nos.

Courtesy of Lydia Bricker

In January of 2020, we had been viewing three profiles to which we said yes that wanted to be shown to the birth mothers for. There was one, in particular, I was so drawn to, and I kept telling Ethan and our family I really felt like that was the one. Over a couple of weeks, we slowly received our nos’ back from our social worker the mothers had picked other families. When we received the email about the one I felt so drawn to, we got yet again another no. I felt broken. The birth mother wanted us to know we were her second choice, that she just loved our profile so much. What on earth? That didn’t make me feel better; if anything, in the moment, I felt like, ‘Oh, so we were almost good enough for you?’ I could feel bitterness to the process of adoption setting in. I had no other option but to lean into God and give him my brokenness in this situation.

Just two weeks later, we got an email on February 12, 2020 with the subject titled ‘URGENT PROFILE POSSIBILITY.’ I had seen emails like this before… they never led to anything hopeful. I opened the email, with little expectation. Then, what I read broke every bit of hopelessness off me. Ethan and I read to find out this baby had been born, and the selected adoptive family had changed their minds. The birth mother wanted to see if the family who was her second choice she liked so much if they would be willing to adopt her child. That family was us.

We called our caseworker, and before we knew it, we were at the hospital seeing this sweet baby boy. His birth mother let us name him, so we welcomed Revere Praise into our family. It was the end of visiting hours, and we had not done all of our paperwork yet with the hospital, so it was time for us to tell our bundle of joy goodnight and we would see him in the morning. We left the hospital on cloud nine. Nothing prepares you for parenting, especially parenting through adoption, and we were just overwhelmed with thankfulness for this little guy.

Courtesy of Lydia Bricker
Courtesy of Lydia Bricker
Courtesy of Lydia Bricker

We got home and started to pack our bags to go to the hospital the next morning. We didn’t want to have to waste any time the next day getting over to our little guy. The morning came, and I was making French press for Ethan and I and finishing up a few dishes before we took off to Detroit to see Revere. Ethan got a phone call I assumed was just a work call from him taking the day off—maybe they needed him to wrap some things up first before we headed out. It wasn’t his work. It was our social worker.

She informed us the birth mother had changed her mind. She couldn’t go through with this adoption and was very sorry, but she would not be continuing this process. I didn’t know my heart could hurt in that kind of way over someone I had only known less than twenty-four hours. I couldn’t keep doing this; this couldn’t be real. I knew in my heart this was our son. I knew from that first profile viewing he was meant to be in our home. We grieved hard that day. We cried, we ate extreme amounts of ice cream, and we held our three kids tight like we hadn’t held them before. No after no had come our way, but this was something I never expected to face in our marriage.

After a sleepless night with a full aching heart, the phone I hated so much rang again. Again, our social worker on the other line: ‘Hi, Ethan and Lydia, look guys I know you have been on an emotional rollercoaster this week, and I hate to bring up another question for you, but the birth mom did call us today. She met with us, and she has changed her mind back. She would like you guys to be Revere’s parents.’ Shell shocked and emotionally burnt out, we filled with hope while also wanting to keep the situation at arm’s length. Funny how self-protection works, isn’t it? Something we can want so badly can be so hard to grab onto if disappointment has come in before. After talking through the situation with our social worker and praying together as a couple, we felt like this was a yes we wouldn’t be the ones to go back on. We would walk down this road we had been dying to get on not knowing what we did not know.

Courtesy of Lydia Bricker
Courtesy of Lydia Bricker

We took Revere home from the hospital on Valentine’s Day. Every day has shown me this yes has made every no along the way make sense. Our relationship with his birth mother continues to grow. We have an immeasurable amount of respect for his birth mother, and we want to raise Revere knowing just how brave, strong, and full of love she is. We are so thankful for the gift she has given in placing him with us — because her yes altered the course of all our lives.”

Courtesy of Lydia Bricker
Courtesy of Lydia Bricker
Courtesy of Lydia Bricker

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Lydia Bricker, an independent music artist who can be found on Spotify. You can follow her on Instagram along with her husband, Ethan Bricker. Submit your own story here and sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more stories like this:

‘I’ve told you I’m a virgin a million times!’ She slammed on the brakes. ‘We need to find an adoption agency.’: 16-year-old birth mom pursues open adoption, ‘He deserved better than me’

‘We are having a closed adoption! She will not steal my baby!’ Then our lives were suddenly intertwined.’: Mom ‘gains a sister’ through open adoption, ‘We get to walk this together’

‘The family stopped answering. ‘They’ve backed out of the adoption.’ They wanted a healthy baby, not my son with a disability.’: Mom of 5 adopts special needs child after rejections, now in beautiful open adoption with birth mom

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