‘Would you like to hold your son?’: Mom shares emotional adoption journey, amazing act of kindness for birth moms

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“Adoption can be quite the emotional roller coaster; there’s times of highs and times of lows. The story of our Gus had every emotion in one 9-month roller coaster. It was September 2011 when we decided to put years of talking adoption into action. We put our profile out into 5 states across the country to find a little boy who was meant for us.

After a few adoption counseling sessions, house checks, and filling out everything we’ve ever known about ourselves, our profile went ‘live.’ It didn’t feel real until in early January 2012 when our profile was all of sudden going into the hands of a soon to be mama in Florida.

February 12, 2012 we got a call from an agency in Arizona. I still remember where I was standing. A 19-year-old girl wanted to chat with us. Her name was Rae and she was having a boy in June of that year. During our conversation on the phone, she just came out and said she wanted us to have that little boy growing inside of her. We held our joyful tears back until we hung up the phone and could let the tears flow. We were excited, but cautious.

Couple hoping to adopt a son hold up a wooden box with the word "Brave" engraved into it
Courtesy of Chelsea Dyck

None of this was a for sure thing until we held our boy in our arms. We would learn quickly that there would be a hiccup. Not a major one at first, but enough to put a mild pit in our stomachs. The baby’s father wasn’t on board with the adoption. After a couple months of back and forth, we were told to move on and put our profile out to other birth moms, but something didn’t feel right.

A couple months passed and it was only getting pushed further away from us. Everything felt so out of our control and slipped further away every day. We don’t know what was going on in his mind or heart. We had zero control, sitting in chilly Minnesota a couple thousand miles away from Rae. We prayed, and we prayed, and we prayed some more. I remember laying on the floor of our nursery, for a baby we didn’t have, listening to music and dreaming about the day a baby’s cries and laughs would fill this room.

The Bible verse we held onto during this time was Ephesians 3:20: ‘Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we could dare to ask or imagine according to his power that is at work within us.’ This verse was something we held onto during the struggle – we kept praying for God‘s timing, but secretly wanted our own. At this point, we assumed joy would come in a different form, from a different birth mom, and with a different child.

We were so disappointed this little boy we had started to love wouldn’t be in our lives at all. On the day we were told to submit our profile for other birth moms, the birth dad walked into the agency and said he was ready to sign the papers and he was on board with the adoption. So out of the blue, or was it all an orchestrated plan?

That day, what had been going on in the birth dad’s mind and heart brought him walking into the adoption agency saying he would like to sign all the papers and he feels like it was in his son’s best interest to go through with the adoption. WHAT!? We couldn’t believe it, but we knew it was right.

Over the next couple months, we developed a relationship with Gus’ birth parents. We’d talk on the phone and email, and slowly a bond was forming. Gus’ due date was mid-June and we were all ready to go. We had lined up to meet Rae for coffee the morning after we arrived. We sat at the coffee shop awaiting a woman we had never met and a child we would call our own.

10 minutes felt like 10 months and then we saw her from a distance. 4’11”, nine months pregnant, and all of 90 pounds, our life was about to change. How do you greet a woman who is carrying your child? How do you not throw your arms around her and give her a hug when she’s giving you the most selfless gift?  How do you just shake her hand when her bravery has been caring your son for the last nine months?

How do you not burst into tears when everything you dreamed of was about to walk up to your table and say hello? We stood up to give her a hug and tears begin to roll down my cheeks. She was amazing in every way and you could tell that little boy was well taken care of inside her belly.

June 14th came and Rae would be induced. Needless to say we were on pins and needles. There’s some similarities to the waiting besides not having a huge belly and being uncomfortable (don’t get me wrong, we were uncomfortable with the waiting game!) but there’s a million different emotions that go along with this. We knew there was a 72-hour waiting period where the birth parents’ minds could change and so could our world. We knew 6 months of communication and a long trip to Arizona could all end in nothing. That’s a reality and we were trying to ignore it.

We got the call from the hospital that we could come meet our son. Our hearts were racing and our blood pressures were unhealthy as we rode the elevator up to see Rae and this new baby we’d been waiting and praying for, for the last 9 months. We stood outside of the hospital room door, knowing as we walked through the threshold our life was about to change.

We pushed open the door and all of those nerves went out the window. He was here! Our son was here! As we walked in the room, Rae asked if we would like to hold our son. Our son? How does that even work? How is she so confident in her decision? But it felt so right! As she reached out her arms and I reached out mine, she handed me the most precious gift I have ever received.

But we still had to be cautious, which was WAY harder now that we’d held our boy and fallen in love with him. He stayed in our hospital room and kept us up all night, but we were in love. Somehow holding our boy, the insecurities of the waiting game faded away. The relationship with the birthparents began to bloom. 3 days after Gus was born, on Father’s Day, signatures were put on paper that matched what we all together knew in our hearts. Gus was officially ours!

Little boy adopted by his parents poses for a photo, smiling big while showing off his muscles
Courtesy of Chelsea Dyck

When we said goodbye to Rae to head back to Minnesota, we stood on a curb as I held our 3-day-old son, Gus. She asked if she could give him a hug and say goodbye. She gave him a kiss and said, ‘I love you Gus’ and I couldn’t have imagined or written a more perfect story. He’s twice loved. He was loved so much; Rae made a selfless decision for Gus. I can’t imagine what she was thinking during this time. ‘Will I see him again? Will he know how much I loved him?’

Now, some cool things. From the day we turned in our paperwork to the day Gus was born was exactly 9 months. A normal pregnancy, but instead, for us, growing in our hearts. Gus is now nine and talks about Miss Rae with such a love and understanding it oftentimes blows our mind. He has a book we made him about his adoption story and photos of his birth parents and us having fun together and surrounding him with love before he was even born.

Little boy holds a photobook depicting his adoption and life story
Courtesy of Chelsea Dyck

On Gus’s 7th birthday, Gus’ birth mom came to visit us for the weekend to celebrate his birthday. It was everything we could have hoped for. There’s a depth to Gus that knows he is twice loved! She visited again when Gus turned 8 and now when Gus tells people about his birth mom he says, ‘Miss Rae is my birth mom and she loves me.’ When he first said this, I opened my mouth to correct him. I wanted him to say more or say something about her, but then I realized he’s saying and understands the most important thing. Everything wrapped into that statement. This is my birth mom and she loves me. This is all I hope he understands: how much he is deeply loved by her. The depth of those words and the truth in that statement could not be more true. I hope he knows and remembers forever.

Adoptive mom shares birthday card son's birth mom sent him
Courtesy of Chelsea Dyck
Birth mom and adoptive mom pose with their son during a school function
Courtesy of Chelsea Dyck

Adoption affected our lives so much, we wanted to give back to this brave community of birth mothers. We started ‘brave boxes.’ It is a box of gift cards given to birth parents as they leave the hospital. They don’t leave with a baby, but they leave with bravery and courage that is unmatched. Such a brave, selfless, incredible gift they have given and this is a small thing we can do in return.

Adoptive mom shares 'brave boxes,' a supportive gesture for birth moms
Courtesy of Chelsea Dyck
Mom shares photo of her two sons working on 'brave boxes' together, something the mom started to support birth moms
Courtesy of Chelsea Dyck

Gus‘s story lives on in each one of those brave boxes. There is a photo of our family and a heartfelt note from our family to each birth mom about how brave we think they are for making this decision. It’s our way of allowing Gus and Miss Rae’s legacy of bravery and love to live on. Stories change lives, and Gus’ story has done that for us.”

Family of four take a photo together out in the Minnesota cold, all wearing beanies
Courtesy of Chelsea Dyck
Family of four take a photo together with smiley faces drawn onto their hands
Courtesy of Chelsea Dyck

This story was submitted to Love What Matters  by Chelsea Dyck of Minnesota. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Submit your own story  hereand be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and  YouTube  for our best videos.

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