Adoption Success Story from Courtney and Michael Richard

Courtney and Michael share their adoption story of Graham.

 

Michael and I met in 2012 and married in 2014. We both live and work in Thibodaux. Michael is the Operations Manager for a beverage distributor, and I work as an Optometric Technician in an eye clinic. When we’re not busy with work, we love spending time with our friends and family watching sports, cooking, and traveling. We look forward to weekends and time off even more since becoming parents.

Ever since Michael and I met we both talked about wanting a family. Soon after we were married, we found out that we would not be able to naturally conceive a child. For a short time, we felt our dreams of having a family were shattered. But we soon realized we still wanted to extend our love to include a child and we didn’t want to give up on our dreams. After researching and considering all our options, it didn’t take us long to decide that adoption was the best choice for us. The more we discussed plans for parenthood the more we realized our calling was for us to adopt.

We have a friend whose mom placed a baby for adoption many years ago through CCANO. Right before we started the process, they were reunited after over 40 yrs. Hearing their story touched our hearts and led us to contact CCANO.

We started the process mid-2019. Before the end of that year, we had completed our adoption home study and were anxiously awaiting to hear when we would be chosen by a birthmother. We had always heard that the waiting would be the longest and hardest part of the process. We took Danna and Cindy’s advice and held off on preparing our home for a baby. Instead, we took the time to prepare our hearts and truly embrace the home study. Through the process we learned so much about adoption, we grew closer as a couple, and we got more and more validation that we were on the right path. We can’t say enough about the counseling and support we received from Cindy and Danna. They were always available when we had questions or just needed our minds at ease. The personal guidance we received was exceptional.

You ever heard the saying “nothing happens, then everything happens”? Well, 2021 everything happened! We were in the middle of a pandemic; Hurricane Ida was on our doorstep, and we were finally chosen by an expectant mother considering adoption! After meeting our birth mom and confirming the baby’s due date, we were thrilled! It was during that time that I started journaling and writing to Graham —documenting all our emotions.

 We couldn’t exactly celebrate just yet. Ida forced us to evacuate our home. We stayed in Texas and with limited communication and our baby’s upcoming due date fast approaching all we could do was pray that everything would go smoothly and that we would have a home to return to. As the stormed passed and we were able to return home to begin the cleanup process, we soon learned of Graham’s birth.

 His birth mom had also evacuated. Graham was born in Vicksburg, MS. We received pictures from his birth mom and excitedly packed up and headed to MS. We were ready to meet our son. We booked a hotel in Vicksburg for a few nights where we planned to have our first nights together as a family—- back home we were still without power.

The day we met Graham was surreal. We couldn’t believe we were finally parents. We didn’t sleep much at all that first night because all we could do was stare at this perfect baby. We FaceTime our families and introduced them to Graham and everyone was so happy to see him. Our dream of having a family had finally come true. I remember journaling about our first night and how happy we were.

We had no idea just 24 hrs. later everything would change when we got a call from Danna. Graham’s birth mom had changed her mind and decided to parent. She had not yet signed the legal paperwork for the adoption and we had to say goodbye to our beautiful baby boy. We understood things like this can happen with adoption situations, but we never imagined at that point it would happen to us. I think during that time we felt all the stages of grief—shock, anger, and sadness. It was a horrible feeling to be so in love with our baby boy and then have to say goodbye knowing we would never see him again. I remember telling him to “be strong”. All the while trying to convince myself to do the same. It was the longest ride back home. I don’t think Michael and I spoke much at all. The pain and grief we felt was all too much for words. I couldn’t speak but felt some comfort in continuing to journal and write to Graham, even if he’d never read it.

We went home to a hot dark house, but it didn’t matter because what we were feeling inside was ten times worse. During this time, we prayed and continued to question everything. The weeks passed. Our power was restored and little by little so was our faith. We started to pick ourselves up and fall back into our normal routines. We found comfort in thinking how blessed we were to have had one amazing night as parents and how good it was that when Graham needed us, we were there. On Sept 9th, I wrote my last journal entry to Graham or so I thought …

Fast forward 2 months later. We get a call from Danna. There’s a baby ready for immediate placement but not another baby! It’s Graham! After parenting Graham for 2 months, his birth mother came back to the decision of adoption and wanted us to be his parents. Once again there were no words for the feelings we felt. Our prayers were answered. We got to the office as fast as we could and there he was! Our baby boy just as beautiful as we remembered. We were reunited and together we finally headed home, all as “strong” as ever.

We hope Graham always knows how much he is loved. His full name includes two middle names. The name Thomas chosen by us and the name Kai chosen by his birth mom. Our hope is that he sees his unique name as a representation of his amazing birth story.

It’s so unbelievable to think that it’s been a year since we brought Graham home. We are absolutely enjoying every bit of being parents. We get excited when we think about our future and all the experiences we will get to have with Graham. Although this adoption process was such a huge part of our journey as a couple, it’s only a small part of the even bigger journey that’s ahead for Graham. His story is just beginning. Thanks CCANO for being a part of our story!

Today we can’t imagine life without Graham. It’s hard to remember what we even did before we were parents. He just fits perfectly into our family. There are times when it still feels surreal. Although the journey wasn’t always easy it was so worth it.