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Adoption Awareness Month: My Story

SchellmanLife

As you may or may not know, November is Adoption Awareness Month. Like parenthood in general, adoption is a journey, but in some ways, it’s still considered a unique way to go—after all, your starting point in adopting a child is completely different from the alternative ways of becoming a parent.

But that’s what makes it so special, and it’s why I wanted to write this. To celebrate Adoption Awareness, I want to share my own experience with adoption.

~~

The Long Road to Adoption

So, when did it start for us?

Was it when my wife and I first spoke about starting a family? Or was it later when we decided to register at an adoption agency? Was it when we attended an adoption awareness weekend, or was it six months after that, having filed piles of legal documents to be included on the list of prospective parents?

In truth, I think it actually really started a year and a half after all that.

I mentioned how we’d already registered with an agency, we’d already filed the necessary items to become prospective parents—it had been a year and a half on the waiting list since, and at this point back in 2019, we had started to feel that our adoption process was not moving forward. The day that changed was nice and sunny, although I do remember that week hadn’t started well.

My mother had just canceled her trip coming over from Europe because of the flu. (She planned to reschedule with the hope to come during the spring instead, but little did we know back then that COVID-19 would soon hit our city and the world.)

To compound that disappointment, our dedicated contact from the adoption agency informed us that she was leaving for vacation—as such, she told us that no news on that front would come for two weeks.

The Moment Everything Changed

At that point—you probably understand—I was not expecting anything special that week.

But I was home, alone, on this sunny fall day when the phone rang. My wife was on the other side of the line and said:

“I just had a call, we have been selected by a birth mother.”

I didn’t really react all that much—we’d been “selected” a few times in the past without making it to the final round, so I wasn’t really moved. But then my wife went on:

“The prospective birth mother is in fact already a birth mother—she gave birth yesterday in a hospital to a baby boy.”

Now, I was a little surprised as, most of the time, birth mothers/birth parents reach out to adoption agencies weeks or months before the birth. Though I still wasn’t letting myself get excited, I was curious now and asked what was to happen next.

“According to the adoption agency, the birth mother selected us. We are her number one choice.”

Now, those were words I’d never heard before, but it was the next part of the conversation that sent me spinning.

“We need to decide if we agree to become his parents today—in a couple of hours. The adoption agency wants to know, or they will reach out to the next prospective parents in line.”

Still processing, I could only ask, “what happens if we say ok?”

“I guess we’ll meet the birth mother and the baby tomorrow at the hospital.”

I was in my kitchen, at the window, looking at this big red tree losing its leaves as winter approached. The seasons were changing, and so was my life.

adoption pic (2)

That’s our parenthood journey really started.

“Let’s do it,” my wife and I agreed.

Meeting My Son

The rest is history.

The next day, we met the birth mother at the hospital, along with her little 2-days-old baby boy. That’s when we held his precious life in our hands for the first time and when we gave him his first name.

That’s how I met my son.

And despite the somewhat unique circumstances of the beginning, we are now raising him like all other parents—with love, and as a complete and true part of our family. We may have adopted him, but he also adopted us, and I know I will appreciate that for the rest of my life.

Embracing Adoption

There may be some that don’t view adoption as a “real” or viable way to parenthood, but I can tell you, it’s just not true. I think it’s important to understand that adopted kids are just as deserving of loving families and the opportunity to grow up happy as anyone else.

For any prospective parents that are sitting on pins and needles like I was, for those that were exhausted of the waiting like I was—I wish you good luck moving forward.

I realize that you already know this journey is not easy, but I want to encourage you that it’s all worth it for the happy ending.

About Mathieu Legendre

Mathieu is a Senior Associate with Schellman, based in New York City, NY. Prior to joining Schellman in 2021, Mathieu worked for an accounting company, specializing in compliance and anti-corruption regulations. Before arriving in the US in 2016, Mathieu worked as an attorney in France, specializing in public law and consumer law-related matters. Mathieu also led and supported various other projects, including real estate projects and writing a World War I non-fiction book. Mathieu has over 15 years of experience comprised of serving clients in various industries, including financial services, construction, and government. Mathieu is now focused primarily on privacy for organizations across various industries.