Terry and I would like to thank you all so much for all you have done. You are ALL angels that God has very busy helping Him, answering prayers and granting miracles. Mardie, your vision and the services you offer are top notch. Your organization is seamless and the services Lifetime provides are above and beyond just being a business. You are incredible! Your passion for adoption and every aspect surrounding it is awe inspiring.
I really want to reach out to all the waiting families and let them know that working with Lifetime is the smartest step they have taken toward adoption, so please feel free to share any part of this. Only months ago, we were sitting in the same place, waiting and wondering if our dreams of being parents would ever really become reality. It will happen! Every day I would check the Lifetime website to see if it had been updated so I could see how many couples had been matched and of the couples already matched, who's babies had been born. I would pray for them and us and everyone who was still waiting and for the staff of Lifetime.
It was a long journey. I would look so forward to the wonderful monthly calls from our adoption coordinator, Veronica, even though they were just to touch base and make sure none of our information had changed. Those calls were a wonderful time to express concerns and receive reassurance that we were eventually going to adopt. I know I probably sounded like a recording every time Veronica called, but she made me feel like my questions were so important and she was never hurried to get off the phone.
We had been contracted with Lifetime for 14 months when we received that call we had been hoping and praying for every day. What a moment! Our birthmother and her mother had chosen us from the website and we were thrilled. I find a lot of comfort in my faith, so I found myself at church 2 hours after receiving the call at work. I really wasn't functional anymore after the call! I work with many wonderful people who sent me home to enjoy the moment with my husband who was off work that day.
Veronica had been careful (to try) not to get me too excited about it all, reminding me that this was just the early steps. As I was crying tears of joy on the phone she reminded me that this was very exciting but we needed to proceed with "cautious optimism". (In other words she held my feet while my head was in the clouds) Knowing this was true and knowing how much I rely on my relationship with God, I stopped at church on my way home to pray. I asked God that His will be done, but, after years of infertility issues and a year and a half of adoption planning, that I REALLY hoped this WAS His will!! We were ready!
In the weeks and months that followed, we developed a good relationship with our birthmother. She came to visit us with her six year old daughter which was a wonderful experience. We were able to get to know her face to face and she was able to be reassured that she had made the right decision. We had a cookout with our family and everyone was excited to talk to her and she handled it very well!
Adoption was not something either of our families were familiar with, so it was a time for nervousness also. Terry is one of five children and Brenda is one of three. Between us, we are aunt and uncle to 14 nieces and nephews! Being able to have a child of our own was something our families have dreamt of with us for quite some time. We did a lot of educating with our families and taught them everything we had learned about open adoption. The cookout was very enjoyable and an evening we'll always remember.
Following this visit were 2 more months until Bethany was due to be born. Veronica was our anchor during this time. We called her many times with many questions and she was a wealth of knowledge. One time I called her and said "Hi Veronica, I'm not really sure why I'm calling you..." and without that even seeming unusual or strange to her, she took the ball and ran with it. She started saying "well you probably wanted to talk about..." and hit the nail on the head! 45 minutes later we hung up and I felt great and was on to do whatever it was I needed to do.
The highly trained, knowledgeable and compassionate staff of Lifetime is of course the backbone of everything, but there are also many other wonderful things about Lifetime that helped us through our wait.
First and foremost, the Lifetime website. I could sit and read about the staff, look at birthmother's who were seeking families, read wonderful stories from families who had successfully adopted through Lifetime, see adorable pictures of babies who had been adopted and of course read and read all the FAQ's. I would even go back and re-read them at different times just to remind myself that "everyone who stayed with Lifetime had adopted"! I loved that part!
Mardie's "Let's Talk Adoption" internet radio show and Adopting Online book are fantastic resources. Even if the topic of the radio show isn't something you think applies to you, there is still something to learn from it. The shows really help you become more well rounded about adoption and I found I could answer the questions from my family and friends better after listening to them. The shows are archived and you can listen to them at your leisure and chose your topics if you can't catch it live. The book... well, I could just go on and on about the book, but in a nutshell, it is fabulous! It didn't come out until after we were matched with our birthmother and I still got so much out of reading it. I still do! It's a wise investment to any couple in any stage of adoption. Thank you Mardie!
All this and I haven't even mentioned the Lifetime Foundation! Lifetime has a foundation set up to help afford birthmother's the opportunity for an education and/or help them to meet their basic needs with clothing or whatever it is they may need. It also affords adoption grants for special needs adoptions and funds education on adoption in the community. I just feel so very blessed to be part of such an outstanding organization with such integrity. We are proud to be a "Lifetime Family".
Bethany is five months old today as I write this. Terry and I just can't believe it! She is the most beautiful, wonderful, adorable baby and I had no idea I could love someone so very very much. I jokingly apologize to her for her luck in becoming my first child because I love being a mother so much I celebrate everything she does, every day! It's like "oh my gosh, you smiled!!!", "oh my gosh, you said 'ahh'!!!", "oh my gosh, you cried for me and then smiled when you spotted me coming to you!!!". Life just doesn't get any better than this! Terry jokes with me when he gets home from work because it's all I can do to hand her over and give him his time with her! He's such a wonderful dad and we are loving being a family.
Thank you Lifetime for helping to make our dream come true. God bless all of you and all the wonderful work you are doing. The couples that have the opportunity to work with you and babies matched by you will be blessed for a "lifetime". We are so grateful for you.
Thank you all very much. Also, thank you for the sweet gifts you have sent us and Bethany. We will cherish them.
With much love and gratitude,
Brenda and Terry