Worth Every Moment – Teresa’s Story (Adoption USA)

Teresa Sutter and family

Teresa Sutter and family

I am a 32 year old CF mom with two kids. My children both came to me through adoption. I love talking about adoption and love to share my story with anyone who will listen.

I got married at 24 and knew I wanted to start a family right away. After a year of infertility we pursued some very minor fertility treatments but quickly decided to pursue adoption instead.

We had it easy in the sense that we didn’t “shop around” for adoption agencies. Our church has its own adoption agency. We had friends that had had a good experience adopting that way and we knew that was the agency we wanted to use. Also, since the church heavily subsidizes the adoptions it was significantly cheaper for us than it would have been to go through another agency. So our decision was easy.

Whenever you apply for an adoption the agency has its rules and paperwork and each state has its laws, so the process can be a little different depending on those two things. But no matter what, there is always A LOT of paperwork! We were asked all kinds of questions about our backgrounds, our families backgrounds, our siblings’ hobbies, our parenting philosophies, our marital relationship, and yes…even our sex life! They want to know everything. We also filled out checklists of traits/illnesses/race/gender that we would accept in a baby or in the baby’s birth family. They did a home study to make sure we were living in a safe environment for a child. And my doctor had to fill out a form and sign a statement saying that I had a “reasonable life expectancy to raise a child”. I was most nervous about that one. I have always been fairly healthy but I hadn’t talked with my doctors about adoption and wasn’t sure what they would think. Both times we have adopted though, my doctors have been very supportive and getting the health clearance has been much less of an issue than I had feared.

With our first adoption we moved states in middle of the application process which slowed things quite a bit. We’d been working on the paper work for a year when we were introduced to our daughter’s birth mother through a friend. She was already working with our same agency, so we told them the situation, they rushed the rest of our paperwork and we were “approved” for adoption shortly before our daughter was born.

That sounds nice and easy, but I will say that adoption is always an emotional roller coaster. We had 4 months before my daughter was born of having a birth mother that kept going back and forth and we weren’t sure if the adoption was going to go through. It was heart wrenching, to say the least. The way it worked out was truly miraculous, but it is a long story, so I will save it for another time, or if anyone is really interested you can get in touch with me and I will share all the details. But no matter what you go through in waiting, when that baby is placed in your arms and you look into their eyes and know that you are a mother…there are no words to describe it. It is worth every moment of pain along the way.

Our son was born when my daughter was 2 years and 8 months old. We were living in yet another state at the time, so there were a few differences from the first time through the process, but we were able to complete the whole approval process in about 4 months. Six weeks later we got a phone call saying that we had been chosen, and our son was born 10 days later! It was a whirlwind but I wouldn’t have it any other way. My children are such a gift and I am so grateful every day for the way that they came into my life.

Now, the way our agency (and most agencies these days) works is that you put up your profile and prospective birth parents look through and choose the adoptive family. I have to say that I was worried that my CF would scare off birth parents and that it would take a long time for us to get “chosen”. Luckily, that hasn’t been our experience. The way I have gone about handling things is that I briefly state the facts about my health in my paperwork and then leave it up to the prospective birth parents to ask any questions they want. With my daughter’s birth mom, we actually met her before she saw our profile so I told her I had cystic fibrosis, but she never seemed concerned or wanted to ask many questions. With my son, about a week before we got the call that we had been chosen, a case worker called saying there was a family that had more questions about my health. His birth family had read my profile and wanted to know more before making a decision, and were apparently reassured by what we told the caseworker.

We have open adoptions with both our kids’ birth families. They often know when I am in the hospital, which I used to worry would kind of scare them a little, or worst case scenario, make them regret their decision to place their baby with us, but that has never been the case.

For all the worries I had going into adoption, I don’t think that my having CF has made my adoption journey different than anybody else’s.

For any of you who may be considering adoption as a way to grow your family, I can’t tell you what is right for your life, but I will say I am so glad I didn’t let any doubts I may have had stop us from pursuing adoption for our family.

If I can help you in any way with your decisions regarding adoption or with the process itself, I’d love to help. I am an open book and no question is too personal so please feel free to contact me.

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