Having experienced infertility issues, Adina and Brenton knew that adoption was their best option for growing their family. Four and a half years after adopting their first daughter, Lyah, they decided to give her a sibling and in May brought Kane home to Canada from Arizona. For their second adoption, Adina and Brenton wanted to go through the process with a different perspective, one more empathetic to the struggles and needs of their birth mother.
“For my husband and I,” Adina says, “we had a hard time starting the process again because it was hard to watch Lyah’s birth mom walk through that. We chose a much different road walking through adoption the second time. The first time was all about us and we were naive. It’s hard to watch another birth mom walk through that grief and be broken. With Kane, we prioritized getting to know the birth mother and being with her at Kane’s birth was the most incredible experience and gift.”
Adina detailed their experience with the birth of Kane as a gift and something she will never forget. They were matched with Kane’s birth mother, Taylor, at 4 months into her pregnancy. “It was early and we were scared,” says Adina, “because it was a long time to wait and alot can happen in 5 months. And we had just walked through a failed placement. So our guards were up. But we were pumped to say yes to her.”
According to Adina, Taylor specifically chose Adina and Brenton to be Kane’s parents. “That’s the most special things to know how special and wanted Kane was. She chose us because she saw our daughter and knew she was adopted [because of interracial adoption]. She loved ‘our heart for adoption.’ When she looked at our profile she saw Lyah and thought ‘yes this is the family.’ We’re from a small town and have big, close-knit families. She considered all the opportunities we can give our kids in Northern Alberta.”
Adina details the long wait up to Kane’s birth that allowed them to bond in a special way with Taylor and their soon to be unborn son. “Courageous Hearts Adoptions encouraged Taylor to reach out to us first. And a week after we matched she texted me. Since then we chatted and she is incredible. She asked alot of questions about parenting and Lyah and sent bump and ultrasound photos. We really bonded with her. While it is not ideal to wait 5 months for an adoption, we got to text over those 5 months.
At 7 weeks before the birth, we went to Arizona over Easter and met up with Taylor and her family members. She invited me to her ultrasound appointment and we got to hear the heartbeat together. That felt incredible. It has always been my dream to go to an appointment like that. She even introduced me to the doctors and nurses as “the mom”. She’s so selfless. It was amazing.”
Taylor seemed to plan everything around the experiences of Adina and Brenton. At first she was going to have a natural birth, but with them being in Canada, they didn’t know if they could make it at the time of the birth if natural. It was very important to Taylor that they make it to the birth, so she switched to a C section so Adina and Brenton could be there.
They left their hometown for Arizona and two days later, on May 31, they walked into the hospital together with Taylor at 10am and from then on she allowed Adina and Brenton be a part of the whole birth and process: “No secrets. She let me in on everything. I thought that was incredible. She kept saying ‘these are the baby’s parents.’ She is so selfless, she gave us a gift, and she took such care of her body, because she loved her son.”
“Only one person could be in the birth with Taylor and a few months prior she asked for it to be me. She could have picked her mom or sister but she chose me. I kept telling her I was so thankful and she has given me everything. I could see she was nervous, and we held hands and I asked her if I could pray for her. We prayed and sang over her and the whole operating room was in tears. Three seconds before the baby’s first cry they sedated her because she didn’t want to hear his first cry and that was so emotional for me. She had to protect herself.”
“He was born and we were in love. They brought us to a different room to be alone and do skin to skin and bond for several hours. They respected all of Taylor’s wishes. The hospital was incredible. We stayed 2 nights because of legal stuff, and we visited Taylor quite a few times and she held him and got pictures. It was unbelievable. I could tell the love she had for him. We asked each other parenting questions. It’s so easy loving the people who gave you a part of their hearts. It’s not hard to keep them part of your family.”
Since the birth, Adina and Brenton keep up with Taylor. While Adina would love to send her pictures all the time, she always asks Taylor first – “I respect her, her pain and trauma, and her healing. She’ll tell me when she’s doing well and when days are hard. Being international makes it hard to meet up, but we plan to visit her. I hope at least every couple years, but it would be up to her. And when Kane gets older we want to respect what he wants too. But right now it’s up to her and how her heart feels.”
Adina shares that Lyah’s birth and adoption story is also very beautiful. They stay in touch with her birth mother too. Adina describes Lyah’s adoption a different than Kane’s “because it was our first time and we walked into it a bit selfishly because we just didn’t know. After everything was done I carried alot of guilt and grief for her birth mother.” They now text with Lyah’s birth mother and are planning to go to Georgia where she was born and visit in November. Lyah facetimes with her birth sister and birth mom too. Adoption can be complicated and different boundaries and levels of communication work for different people. But the bond between birth and adoptive families can be incredible and lifelong.
We asked Adina her advice for other adoptive or hopeful families. She said to make sure the agency you work with is ethical and they support birth moms before and after the adoption. “Really research your agency.”
Adina and Brenton chose Courageous Hearts for their second adoption because they had previously worked with our adoption specialist, Laronda, at another agency for Lyah’s adoption. “We love her. We appreciate her and we know how much her heart is for adoption. It’s not just about finding adoptive parents a match. To me Laronda and Courageous Hearts cares.”
“Marie is also amazing with birth moms and the longer we waited the more we got to see that. We asked our birth moms how they like the agencies and both said they loved Laronda and the agencies. We also love that Courageous Hearts offers lifetime counseling and therapy, which Taylor was in. The steps she took and guarded her heart, was open and honest, and healing was because of her counseling.”
Adina also advises waiting families to be open and patient: “Your baby will come. There are alot of failed placements and if it doesn’t happen then that wasn’t your child. The wait is worth it.”
Overall, the message Adina wants to share is that adoption was never just a “plan B or second option” for them: “Don’t take adoption for granted. Adoption is number one. I have always had a heart for adoption.”
Adoption was a gift to Adina and Brenton twice and a gift they will forever be able to share with their children. Lyah even got to go to Arizona with them and experience Kane’s adoption. “I am so glad she got to witness what that’s all about. She’s 4.5 yrs so she will remember. She said ‘wow mom, mamma Taylor is so kind. She gave us her baby.’ And I got to say how ‘that’s exactly how we adopted you.’ They both have biological siblings, and I think that’s very special that they will both have that and be able to relate in the future together. They will understand each other. There will be very hard questions and they will be able to be there for each other.”
At Courageous Hearts Adoptions, we absolutely believe that adoption is a beautiful gift but not without its complexities and hardships. We choose to walk with birth parents and hopeful families with compassion and grace. Adoption is not a transaction, it is a lifetime decision and a very difficult but selfless decision. We provide supportive services and lifetime counseling for birth parents, and birth moms are empowered to always be in control of their adoption plans. We work hard to ensure adoption is accessible to all families, but we cannot do this alone. Visit our donation page to help support families and nurture futures with a monthly donation today!