We’ve all heard the stories of people falling in love at first sight, but does it really happen? Sure, when you look across the room at a handsome stranger your heart may go thump, thump! More than likely, that is lust. True love is more than finding someone attractive. Love is a mutual feeling that goes beyond looks and deep into the soul. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen; in fact, it may have happened to you!

When you see a newborn baby for the first time, it is an incredible feeling. Whether you just gave birth, or you are seeing your soon-to-be adopted child for the first time, there are no words to describe what is happening to your heart. Newborn babies aren’t usually what one would call beautiful in the real sense of the word, yet everyone seems to think they are. The truth is, the miracle of birth is a messy, scary series of events. However, it is the most beautiful thing to witness.

I will never forget the first glance of each of my babies. That feeling of complete exhaustion and exhilaration happened at the same time. The tears flow and you wonder how you just did what you did. As the baby is placed on your chest, you marvel at the miracle that is yours. Unfortunately, not all mothers get to experience that life-changing moment. Some mothers experience it differently. Some mothers sit next to and hold the hand of a sweet girl who’s going through the pain of delivery, only to hand the baby over to them when it is over. Other mothers wait patiently, sometimes hundreds of miles away, for the phone call announcing the birth of a baby. 

The first time I laid eyes on our son, I cried in awe of his beauty. He truly was a beautiful baby boy! Weighing in at 8 lbs 13 oz, he was a sight among the preemies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Having been born to a very small birth mother, there was a lot of trauma during his delivery. Due to the difficult delivery, he required extra care for the first few days of his life. Upon waking up very early in the morning and not wanting to miss the doctor, I arrived at the hospital in time to feed him his first bottle. This was the first time I had been alone with him and I sat in the silence contemplating this great blessing I had been given at the expense of someone else’s sadness. I was overcome with gratitude for this young girl who wanted only the best for her baby. I hoped and prayed that I could be that for him.

We had been doing foster care for nearly four years when we discovered I was pregnant. This came as a surprise since we had been unsuccessful for over 10 years. The happiness was short-lived as I miscarried that baby and was told it may have been due to stress. We continued to do foster care and again I became pregnant. Although we had had a sibling group for nearly two years, we made the difficult decision to have them placed in another home. I was able to carry my baby to term. When he was 5 months old, the state contacted us about a possible foster/adoption placement of a two-and-a-half-year-old little girl. This was what we had been praying for all along. Of course, we accepted the request and began the transition process. She was very mature for her age and was the size of most 4-year-olds. She wasn’t feeling well the day we met and it wasn’t a great start to our happily ever after. That meeting was very brief and I remember very little about it. The next time she was brought into our home and the feeling was overwhelming when I was filled with the realization that she was to be mine. As I lifted her up to see the baby sleeping soundly in his crib, I knew they were meant to be siblings. Their relationship grew into a great friendship. 

One adoptive mother shared her story with me; 

“I adopted through foster care so my son was just a placement at first. He came to me straight from the hospital, but the day he did, something just felt right in my home. When he was 4 months old, I was certain he was going to be my son. I knew by just looking at him that this was right for both of us. When the goal changed to adoption at six months, I don’t believe the social worker even officially asked me if I would adopt him. They just explained the process and went over the paperwork. I didn’t need to be asked and they knew it as much as I did. Adoption is so messy, sad, beautiful, traumatic, and life-changing. I acknowledged all of the loss while also celebrating the love in our home. My son never felt like he wasn’t my son. He has a story before our story, and I am open about that with him. The day we signed the adoption papers was just a formality. The best decision I ever made was agreeing to this particular newborn placement.”

“Overwhelming joy, thankfulness, and instant love”, describe the feelings of one adoptive mother. While all adoptions are not love at first sight, love can grow in the right environment. With patience and constant nourishment, the family unit can thrive. Dave Thomas, adoptee, foster/adoption advocate, founder of Wendy’s and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, has said, “Every child deserves a home and love. Period.”

Cindy Hill has seen all sides of the adoption triad throughout her life. At the age of 9, she watched as her sister placed her baby for adoption. She married her high school sweetheart who had two adopted siblings and later adopted two of their six children. Adoption is a blessing in her life. Cindy and her husband recently sold their home of 26 years and became empty nesters.They currently live in a destination trailer on their oldest daughters property along with their two dogs and small herd of cattle. Cindy’s hobbies include going to garage sales, decorating, teaching piano lessons, spending time with grandchildren, and writing. She is a Teacher’s Aide in the Science department of a charter school.  She and her husband also enjoy traveling together. Writing gives Cindy a chance to reflect on life and look at it from other points of view as well.