Parent-to-Parent: The First Time You Saw Your Child

We asked our readers: Tell us about the first time you saw your child after adoption matching. Was in the hospital or in a referral photo?

A baby at home after adoption matching

Eye Contact

I first saw Jaycee 45 minutes after saying yes to her foster placement. It was her first birthday, and she was smiling and laughing. She toddled right over to me and gazed inquisitively into my eyes. That was all it took to feel like she was ours.
—Melodie, Iowa

Surprise Present

Our social worker gave us the referral and a picture of a healthy little boy on the evening before our 10th anniversary. We accepted the referral the next day. It was the best present we could get, and I still remember it as if it happened yesterday.
—Jen, New York

All Alone

We met Brady and his birth mother at the hospital without anyone from the agency present. Scared and nervous does not come close to what we were feeling. But when the birth mom walked us to the nursery to see our son, John and I were overjoyed. I cried like a baby!
—Tonya, Mississippi

[Choosing a Referral or Expectant Mother Match: The Basics]

Love From FedEx

As our six-year-old daughter, Michaela, opened the referral envelope, her hands shook so much that she could hardly tear away the edge. When she saw the photos, it was love at first sight. She screamed, “Mom, she’s so cute! I have a sister!” I was so moved by her excitement, I don’t even remember my own reaction to adoption matching.
—Marcy, Wisconsin

Fashion Plate

When I first saw my son, he was 10 months old. We unwrapped the layers of cloth hed been wrapped in at the orphanage to find a tiny boy wearing a pink onesie with a heart sewn on the chest. My husband captioned the photos we sent home: “Real men wear pink!” When we returned, a month later, to bring him home, he squealed with delight. He was waiting for us!
—Tara, via e-mail

He’s the One

Sean’s foster mother told me not to expect much. At 20 months old, he didn’t talk, barely walked, and didn’t respond well to strangers. He walked over to my chair and said, very clearly, “Mommy.” It was a done deal!
—Barbara, Illinois

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Pure Emotion

We saw Alec for the first time in the hospital, minutes after he was born. Sobbing with happiness, we watched him get weighed and measured through the nursery window. In that moment, our prayers were answered, along with the questions that come with the wait. It was pure emotion.
—Lisa, Michigan

Saying Goodbye

Our daughter was almost six weeks old the first time we met her, at the home of the foster parents who’d cared for her since birth. Our son was with us, as were her foster parents, birth mom, and each of our social workers. It was very emotional to watch her birth mom say goodbye, but we were elated to become parents and so grateful to these caring people who made that happen.
—Suzanne and Todd, via e-mail


I saw my son, seven-months-old and teething, as soon as we entered the orphanage. I crouched down to talk to him and let him get to know me a little. Instantly he gave me hugs and kisses, while studying everything about me. It was wonderful.
—Amy, via e-mail


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