Lindsey is a wealth of information when it comes to adoption. As both an advocate and adoption mother, we are so happy to have her share her adoption story!
Hi there! My name is Lindsey Redfern and I am the creator and writer of The R House–a blog of adoption help, hope and humor. My husband and I are the proud adoptive parents of two little boys and are currently hoping to adopt again. We believe in open adoption and are very close to the birth families of our children.
Our family has survived devastating infertility news, a 42 day Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children snafu, a 16 month contested adoption court battle, an adoption scam, an unethical adoption agency and a failed adoption placement plan…and yet, I still love to write about adoption and the joy we have found through it all.
When my husband and I were diagnosed with infertility, I felt totally alone. My goal with writing The R House is to help others in the infertility and adoption community find connections and a community. If you are currently battling through the jungles of infertility or are part of the adoption community (on any side of the triad), I invite you to come over and share your story and thoughts with us. I would love to have you!
This is my son, Tyson’s birth mother, Nicole.
Our Nicole. My Nicole. I love her so much.
I didn’t think I would ever have this kind of relationship. But, we share something so powerful – we both love Tyson in the same and yet very different ways. I pray for her every single day. I think of her every single day. I talk about her every single day. I teach Tyson about her every single day. I thank God for her every single day.
I never thought I would get to be a mother.
I hoped I would. But, I knew it would require miracle upon miracle and that it was totally out of my hands. I am only a mother right now because of Nicole and her sacrifice. I love you!
I never thought I would get to be mother of one. Now I get to be a mother of two. It is too overwhelming. The possibility of getting chosen twice seemed like an absolute improbability. I fully expected to wait for years and years and years and to be totally depressed about it. I was gearing myself up.
Today as I stood up to claim my Mother’s Day flower in church, tears streaked my face. I am a mother, a mother of two soon. I cried as I thought of the love that I have for these two brave birth mothers who occupy my thoughts. I thought of my friends who are still hoping they will get to be mothers. I shed a tear for each of you today.
I am a mother and I am so thankful.
This is my brother-in-law, Chris, with our newest angel, Joniece.
I have the best story to tell you. It’s the perfect Mother’s Day story. Perfect. It’s a story about selfless love.
In mid January, Chris called me to ask me for advice. Which I FREELY give unsolicited or otherwise. He said that he just found out that one of his really good friends (he didn’t tell me her name) had called him and confided in him that she was pregnant. He said she was confused and didn’t know what to do. From my friends who are birth mothers, I hear that this is the number one reaction.
He told me what a great person she was and that she was very religious. He mentioned that she knew how much he loved Tyson and what a miracle it was that he got to be in our family. He had showed her pictures of his only nephew …and I can only imagine bragged about how he is the cutest baby. (this is a common theme on all sides of Tyson’s family.) He said he wanted to talk to her about seriously considering adoption, but didn’t know how to specifically bring it up. I gave him some info on the phone and he asked if I would send him an email that he could pass on to her.
Hello? No problem. I would be honored. On january 23rd, I sent it off.
That night, I was teasing the husband, Mr. R, about how I am a better social worker than he is since his own brother called ME instead of HIM–who has a MASTERS degree in this field. We both laughed and before we drifted off to sleep (after specifically blessing Chris’ friend in our prayers) Mr. R turned to me and said, “You know that’s our baby. Chris is totally going to be the favorite uncle.” We both laughed at how crazy he sounded since we had an EIGHT month old in the next room and that it would be just too perfect…too perfect, indeed.
Chris didn’t bring it up again, but we asked him about her and how she was doing weeks later when we took him out to dinner just to chat and catch up. He mentioned that he didn’t want to be pushy realizing that not everyone is as passionate about adoption as our families are. I remember specifically telling him, ”Chris, if you don’t stick up for adoption, who will?” We didn’t hear anything else from him so we figured that she had chosen another path for her baby and herself.
Tyson turned 1 on may 2nd. it was our intention to begin our paperwork on that day. Our agency at the time has you wait a year after placement to start your paperwork to get approved to adopt again. I had a full on campaign in mind that i was just waiting for the official word to unleash. Well, Heavenly Father had a different plan for us. It seems that’s a common theme for my life.
On April 25th, exactly one week before Tyson’s first birthday, Chris calls me. It is pretty rare for me to talk to Chris on the phone so I immediately answered wondering if he needed a ride to the airport or something. I couldn’t have been more off.
This is how the conversation went:
Chris: Hey do you have a minute?
Me: Sure. What’s going on?
Chris: Remember my friend that I called you about a couple months ago?
Me: Yeah! How is she? Is she healthy?
Chris: Um, yeah. She’s good.
Me: That’s great.
Chris: I think she is actually seriously considering adoption.
Me: Chris! This is amazing! Congratulations! Doesn’t it feel amazing to be part of adoption? I am so excited. I KNOW SO MANY FAMILIES!! I can send you some profiles, contact info, you name it.
Chris: …um, yeah. She is considering placing the baby with our family.
Chris: She wants to place the baby with you and Josh.
Chris: I don’t want to get your hopes up or anything …this is just what she was saying. I don’t think anything is for sure yet.
Me: Don’t worry about getting our hopes up, we have gotten phone calls like this before from others who are “finding” on our behalf. Besides, I don’t do “cautiously optimistic.” I am way too passionate for that.
Chris: Yeah, she was looking at some other profiles of families in other agencies and she kept thinking, “How do I know they are who they say they are?” Then she was thinking that it would be perfect if she placed with us because she already knows our family really well. But, I had told her that you have to wait a certain amount of time between adoptions and I didn’t know if you could adopt before that time was up. She was telling her mom that she wished the timing was different so that she could place with Josh and Lindsey. We’ve been friends since we were in sixth grade. She’s come out to visit a ton. I think you’ve actually met her.
Me: Does she have kind of long, dark-dark hair and flew in from Vancouver?
Chris: Yeah. That’s her.
Me: I totally remember her but I don’t think I ever talked to her. I thought she was just another one of your friends.
Chris: Turns out she might be a lot more. She has always been really good friends with our family, now it looks like she is going to be PART of our family.
Me: CHRIS! this is wild! Oh my gosh! CHRIS!
Chris: Yeah, so I am calling to see if you guys are interested. She wanted me to call. I know that you don’t have your papers in yet or anything, but I thought you were putting them in next month.
Me: Of course we are interested. Of course!
Chris: Okay. So, I don’t know what happens next.
Me: Neither do I. Josh is really in charge of all that kind of logistical stuff. I am in charge of being EXCITED and spoiling our birth parents with presents.
Chris: Ha ha. Yeah. I guess I should call Josh.
Me: We want to email her and call her. Can you send us her email address?
Chris: Yeah. No problem.
Me: Okay. I have to call josh. Call us back soon. Call us after you talk to her.
Seriously. This happened. Then it took off, we emailed her, and we waited and waited and waited for her to email back. I was compulsive about checking the in-box.
Two of my dear friends, who are actually birth mothers, myra and carly, were over when the email arrived. With everyone in the room, Mr. R sitting next to me and Tyson sitting on his lap, I SOBBED as I read this sweet soul piercing email aloud to everyone.
Phrases like the following, from her first email, still leave me feeling like I am walking on the clouds:
“And then one night I believe all that praying paid off, because in my heart I knew adoption was the right thing, no matter how hard it would be. Even though it hurt, I felt a sense of peace with myself, and that let me know that it was the right thing to do.”
“Chris had told me about your adoption and your relationship with Nicole, and I told my parents that was exactly the type of adoption I wanted.”
“I had called my mom to vent about what I was feeling and told her I kind of wish the timing was different and that way Chris’s brother and sister in law could’ve adopted them because they’re the only family I would feel 100% completely comfortable with because I know how much love and care they give to Tyson, as well as every member of their family.”
“I then called Chris later that night to update him on what was going on and the decision I made about adoption. I then just vaguely mentioned what I had told my mom earlier, and to my surprise he told me that you guys were planning on, I believe, filling out papers to adopt again next month. I asked him if he was serious because I felt like I had butterflies in my stomach or some sort of similar feeling and if he honestly thought you guys would be interested. He told me he thought you guys would and that he would call you the next day. I told him it wouldn’t be easy giving up my child, but if I could give it to any family in the world, or have it be part of any family, it would be his. I know it would be taken care of, raised with the right morals, and loved so very much. And there’s nothing that I want more than that for him.”
“So if you guys were interested, I already know in my heart that there is NO other couple I would rather raise him, and no other family I would want him to be a part of, rather than my own. Although I already have a relationship with the Redferns, I would love to start one with both of you, as well as you guys with my family. That would be amazing. I am so relieved to at least know that you all are interested and to know that they are such amazing people out in the world such as yourselves.”
I cannot begin to tell you how much love we have for her. It has made my love for Tyson, Nicole, and her family grow. And, obviously Chris has such a tender place in our hearts.
When I told my parents about it (one of my favorite things to do), my dad just kept saying, “That Chris. We love that Chris.” So true.
This is why you teach your families about adoption. This is why you make sure they have accurate info. This is what family is all about.
The boys will be 16 months apart. I couldn’t be more thrilled. Two cribs…who doesn’t want two cribs???
After reading her email, the Spirit was so strong. I almost couldn’t move. I just sat in front of the computer and basked in the warmth Heavenly Father’s love for me, my family, Joniece and her family, and especially this new little boy. This perfect little person. There is no doubt in my mind that Joniece was guided to us for a reason. I felt the confirmation of her decision all night long as did Josh, as did Tyson–he was still awake at like 1:00am! I felt warm and peaceful and excited …the way I always feel when God is very close…and He was.
My husband sent out a beautiful email to some of our family and friends which included these 2 paragraphs. It sums up just how we feel….
“I’m amazed daily by the miracle that is adoption. I’m amazed by these selfless individuals who want their children to be raised by a mother and a father. They make an unimaginable sacrifice out of love for that child. I’m amazed by the great adoptive families that have been through some tough times and simply want to have a family. I’m amazed by all of their friends and family who support them. I’m amazed by these kids who are just as cute as any other kid out there. We’re so blessed to be a part of this.
We’re excited to get to know this amazing young woman more. She is doing something that we cannot do for ourselves and it has to be one of the hardest things a person could ever do. We know that she loves this child and wants the best for him. We take that responsibility very seriously and hope to give this child the best home possible.”
I love you, Nicole.
I love you, Joniece.
Thank you for making me a mother …of two.
I don’t have words strong enough to convey that.
I hope you feel it.