Last Christmas, Adrienne and Will Pfaffenberger hit rock bottom.
After being matched with an expectant mother considering adoption, they got to know her over the next five months, receiving pictures, ultrasounds, and even an angel teddy bear with a recording of the baby’s heartbeat inside.
When the delivery day arrived, Adrienne and Will packed up their car and drove from their home in Indiana to a hospital in Ohio, where Adrienne was invited into the delivery room and cut the baby’s umbilical cord.
From the moment they arrived, they felt a special connection to the child.
“We’ve never had a child like that and so people have always told us, there’s a shift in your mind, and there’s a shift in your heart, when you see your baby for the first time and you hold it,” said Will, a radio producer who had been documenting their adoption journey for listeners. “That definitely happens. And it did happen for us.”
At the hospital, the excited but nervous couple took pictures of the new baby girl and her family, and introduced her to the rest of their family back home via Skype.
But the placement was not to be.
On the second day, the expectant mother changed her mind about her adoption plan and decided to parent.
Will and Adrienne, who had named, held, fed, and fallen in love with the baby girl, were devastated.
“We packed up our hotel room in like 15 minutes and then we were in the car and left like silently, quickly, we were pretty mad and so we were, like, ‘We are not staying here another second’,” Adrienne said.
On their blog, where they had shared their story, Adrienne wrote, “I will have to live with the permanent loss of never knowing her future. How crazy is it that something that occupied so much of my time, thoughts, energy, and emotions, can just be gone in a blink of an eye. It’s like a dream, a bad dream. I’ve woken up and it’s as good as if it never happened.”
Back home, everything was the same for them, and yet different.
“The devastation, loss, anger, frustration, hopelessness, and sadness we are feeling right now is immeasurable. It is a suffering like we have never had to endure before, and we are now back at home and grieving – trying to figure out what to do next.”
For weeks, they grieved their loss, and continued to pour out their feelings into their blog.
“I know it may seem crazy to be going on and on for a month now talking about grief, talking about still being sad and distressed over a child that ‘wasn’t even ours’, but the truth of the matter is that she was ours. In our hearts and minds she was ours.”
The experience shook their confidence in people and the adoption process.
And yet despite their hurt, they refused to let the experience define them.
“It is a thing that happened and it has become part of the fabric of who we are and what our story will be, but it is not the only thing. We like that we have become much more educated on the good, bad and ugly sides of adoption, and we know we will always have more to learn.”
As difficult as their fall-through was, it wasn’t the end of their adoption story.
In March, thanks to some networking, they were contacted by a pregnant woman with an adoption plan and began building a relationship with her.
This time, they decided to guard their hearts and keep their relationship low-key.
That is, until yesterday, when they announced their adoption news on their blog under the heading “Love You to the Moon and Back!”
“It is with great excitement, elation, gratefulness, and relief that we are able to finally announce the birth and adoption of our son Lincoln Xavier!”
This time, the hospital experience went smoothly, with Will and Adrienne and the birthmother and her family taking turns caring for Lincoln.
His birthmother “was steadfast in her decision, and never made us feel uneasy that she was going to change her mind,” Adrienne wrote. “Her family was with her in the hospital and we got to know them much better in those few intimate days in the hospital. We truly hope that they came to see our love for Lincoln and for his birthmom.”
When they started their adoption journey just over two years ago, Adrienne and Will had no idea what was in store for them.
But now they say they are “blessed beyond measure” and couldn’t be happier at the turn of events that led them to become little Lincoln’s parents.
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