Posted November 08, 2021 by Angie Milks, Client of Adoption Services
"How did I get here?!" I ask myself often, in moments of gratitude. After years of infertility nonsense, Jim and I knew we were ready to explore adoption, but we couldn't have imagined how it would unfold in our lives. Ten years ago, we started the approval process with Catholic Charities, and after the highs and lows of infertility, we found out what that rollercoaster feels like as waiting adoptive parents.
After meeting several birth moms and one failed placement, we got the call we'd been waiting for… Lidia would be in our arms in just 18 days. Lidia was our answered prayer, and it all seemed meant to be. She was precious from day one. We even learned that the middle name we chose for her, Jean, was also her birth mom's middle name, along with her grandmother's first name. From the onset, Jim and I knew open adoption was going to be our preference. Open adoption can look a million different ways, and with Lidia's birth family, we are lucky to have communication with them through email, exchanging pictures and stories frequently.
It is with Andy's adoption that we learned the true meaning of openness. We had waited almost another three years to find a birth mom who connected with us, and when we met Erin, she was an energetic breath of fresh air! At the first meeting, she and I instantly connected... Jim could barely manage a word as she and I just chatted away. She seemed so brave and sure of herself and her decision. I was in awe. When we found out that Erin had chosen us to be her adoptive family, it was just the beginning of understanding the blessings she would bring into our lives.
After meeting again, we realized we lived just two miles from her parents' house where she grew up! We also figured out that we went to the same church, St. Colette in Brunswick. St. Colette is the patron saint of women seeking to conceive and expectant mothers. Yes, it seems like God had a plan for all of us.
Another idea she had was that she wanted all of the families to gather and get to know each other prior to the birth. So Erin and Chris (the birth father) and their families, along with Jim and I and our parents, all met for lunch. It was a surreal experience! Looking back, I see that I've followed her lead so often as our relationship has grown and evolved. She included me in her birth plan (I was on her right leg!) so that Jim and I would be the first to hold Andy when he was born. We still laugh about how the nurses yelled at us for passing Andy back and forth in the hospital right after his birth! It seemed like we were on the same page from the very beginning. In the past six and a half years, we've spent holidays, birthdays, and so many regular days together. I am still overwhelmed with gratitude that Erin asked me to participate in her wedding, and Andy has been a ringbearer three times; for her and both of her siblings. It truly feels like—as we adopted Andy—her family has adopted Lidia and us right back. We have a very open relationship with Andy's paternal side as well, and it continues to amaze me. We are just so incredibly blessed.
One goal of ours was that there would be no secret or shame in our adoptions, and this is the beauty of openness. We've talked to our kids from day one about who they are and where they came from. We have a book that introduced the concept of a Tummy Mommy; our Tummy Mommies are regarded as Super Heroes in this house!
We love how magically our family has come together. To celebrate this, we created the concept of a Milksaversary. Basically, it's what others call a "Gotcha Day," the anniversary of the day we finalized their adoptions in court and they became Milks'! On their special days, we usually give them a small gift, spend family time together, and each kid gets to pick a special dinner (Taco Bell for Lidia!) and dessert. We tell them their birth stories and express gratitude for their birth families. We acknowledge that families are made in so many different ways.
I would say this life has far surpassed whatever Jim and I could have dreamed up. I say all the time that, had I been able to get pregnant, we would have missed out on so many beautiful moments. We wouldn't have these kids, who are so perfectly made for us and entrusted to us by their birth families. We wouldn't have this incredible extended family who now takes care of us. And, I wouldn't have met my sister: my Life Changer, Erin.