Our Adoption Referral Story

We asked you to share the story of your adoption referrals. Here are some of our favorites.

A happy couple recounting their adoption referral story

We were in the security line at the Jacksonville Airport, on our way to St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. when the screener told us that my cell phone was ringing as it was being x-rayed! I picked up the bag containing my phone and glanced at the number showing on the missed-call screen. I grabbed my shoes with one hand and hit redial with the other. By the time I’d heard the news and hung up, everyone at the security checkpoint knew the whole story from my husband. We got lots of latex-gloved thumbs-ups from the T.S.A. staff. –Chesley

We received our first call from our son’s birth mother during a 25th anniversary party we were throwing for some friends. There were about 50 people in the house, and it was very noisy. I had to take the phone into a bathroom to be able to hear her. People kept coming to the door and knocking to ask if I was OK. We talked for about 20 minutes and made arrangements to talk again. After the call, I had to rejoin and host the party while acting like nothing had happened, despite the overwhelming emotions I was experiencing. My advice to waiting families would be to write down some of the items you would discuss with a birth mother during the first conversation, so that, when the moment comes and your mind is in a whirl, you will have your wits about you. —Annette

My husband and I were on vacation in Florida when we got the call that we had a referral of a child from South Korea. We had just put on our snorkeling gear and were about to go in the water off Shell Key when our cell phone rang. Our social worker told us she had a referral for us, and would give us the details when we returned home in several days. Of course, at that point, we couldn’t go swimming. All we wanted to do was jump on a plane and head home to hear about our child. But since we were stuck on an uninhabited island in the Gulf of Mexico waiting for our ferry, so we had to pass the time somehow. We collected three sand dollars, one for my husband, one for me, and one for our baby. Then we wrote in the sand, “Boy or Girl? August 16,” and we took a picture for our baby’s life book. It was a wonderful day. —Diane

I was with my mother, who was dying. I was torn about what to do. Should I stay with Mom or go to China? My gracious and generous Mom said, “You must go get my granddaughter. There is no other decision.” I still wavered, and she peacefully died the next morning. I was able to make my flight on time and still say a loving goodbye to my Mother. I believe she, in some way, was determined that I would be able to do both. —Susan

I know your nerves get on edge when you’re put in an adoptive situation. No matter how hard it may be, relax, be yourself, and be as open and honest as possible. The right situation will arrive. When it does, you will realize the RIGHT situation for you (and for the other family or parent) is worth waiting for! –Chandos

Our first interaction with our daughter’s birth mother was over the phone, about a month before we decided to fly to Texas to meet her in person. The best advice we received, during that nerve-wracking time, is to be yourself and to be honest. Expressing our appreciation to the birth mother, for being willing to correspond, and acknowledging our jitters really helped too. We were told that birth mothers are nervous too, and it is best to acknowledge it from the get-go. We had talked to two other potential birth mothers before we met our daughter’s birth mother, so we knew that expressing how happy we were to be able to visit, and how nervous both of us were, facilitated our getting to know each other. It also set the precedent for each party to feel free to ask each other whatever questions we needed to ask. —Amy

I remember how nervous we all were! I think that it helps to know that the birth mother wants you to like her as much as you want her to like you. Try to think of her as an old friend, and be sincere. You will have a forever bond with this amazing woman. —Allison

We were very nervous to meet our baby’s birth mother for the first time. She was about seven months pregnant, young, and had no family. We chose to meet for lunch at her favorite restaurant. We brought her a small gift, and I had purchased a card to let her know how I appreciated what she was doing for us and the sacrifice I knew she was making. Once we were seated, we started talking like we were friends, it was wonderful! She had also brought me a gift … it was a framed picture of our son’s first sonogram. —Tracey

I was asked by our Department of Family Services to wait for a phone call, as they had a child being voluntarily placed into foster care. I did not know the gender, nor the age. I went to the office and met a three-and-a-half- year-old boy. He crawled into my lap, wanting help finding a missing puzzle piece, and soon he crawled into this family’s hearts and souls. He is now five years old, and his adoptive brothers are nearly 20 and 23. He has caused quite a stir and revamped our lives … most definitely! —Lisa

We had completed our home study a week earlier. The adoption specialist with our Department of Family and Youth Services called me, and said that she had two boys, ages two-and-a-half and 15 months, who were almost legally free. Did we want to meet them? I rushed to call my husband, and found him out hunting. We met the boys and fell in love. Two months later, I got another call: Their sister had been born. We had 24 hours to decide whether we wanted her. I called my husband again, frantic. He called me back from a canoe in the middle of a lake, where he had gone hunting again. We decided yes, and brought our daughter home a few days later. —Heather

My husband and I always knew we wanted to adopt a child from foster care. We were told that, since the Department of Children and Family Services generally serves only children currently in foster care, the youngest child available would be about 14 months old. On a beautiful summer day, my social worker called me. She calmly explained that our family had made a match with a two-day-old infant, who was still in the hospital. I replied, “You mean a two-year-old?” She laughed with excitement and said, “No, a perfect, beautiful, two-DAY-old baby girl!” In all the years she had been a social worker, she had never had an infant placed, and she seemed as stunned and as excited as I was! My oldest son (age five at the time) still talks about crazy mom jumping up and down and screaming—of course, what he neglects to say is that he, too, was jumping up and down and screaming. My baby girl is now two years old and is truly beautiful and perfect in every way. From the tip of her beautiful dark brown hair to the ends of her dainty little feet, she is pure joy. —Tania

The woman from the agency said, “It’s a girl, with beautiful blue eyes and blonde hair.” She sent a picture to my e-mail, which I opened right away. As I watched the picture fill in, line by line, I was excited and began to cry with joy. All my co-workers huddled around to see my daughter’s picture. I tried to call my husband right away, and made several attempts to reach him at work and on his cell phone (to no avail). I turned to my friend at work, and said with exasperation, “I’m in labor here, and I can’t reach my husband!” We brought Mikayla home from Russia four months later, and have been a happy family ever since. We have been so blessed to have her in our life. —Nancy

The social worker said, “Her name is Manuela, she looks very petite and cute. She was born August eighth. They think there is still time to go get her this year, if you want.” She then faxed me the referral, along with a photo. I was so happy and I got to make one of the best, most emotional calls to my husband. My work let me take the day off to celebrate. The whole day was like a dream, one that will be part of my favorite memories forever. Eleven days later, she was in our arms. The call is what you wait and wait for, feeling it will never, ever come. When it does, you are on top of the world, knowing that soon you will be done waiting and will be holding your child. —Amy

I remember sitting at my desk at the law firm I work for. The phone rang and the case worker for the agency asked, “Are you sitting down?” Of course, I jumped up immediately! I was adopting from China, and the only information the case worker had was the name the orphanage had given the baby, her date of birth, and her weight at the time of referral. I feverishly wrote everything down on a Post-It note, and asked a ton of questions the case worker couldn’t answer at that time. After I hung up the phone, I ran around the office, telling everyone that I had a daughter and showing them the Post-It. It was so precious to me to have that little nugget of information—it was like my own sonogram. I still have that note taped in her memory book, and I look at it from time to time and smile. —Donna

I remember it like it was yesterday. It was early evening, I was at work (in the operating room), when my husband called to say we had a referral. Her picture was waiting to be opened in an email. I was so excited, I could not wait to finish surgery and run to the nearest computer (and phone). My husband and I opened the e-mail together, and our daughter peered at us from the computer screen. What an incredible moment! We were seeing our daughter for the first time! We knew the moment we looked into her beautiful face that she was our daughter. –Lori

Twelve years later, I vividly remember walking into the orphanage in Russia, scanning the room for the 16-month-old girl whose face I’d memorized from her photo. I recognized her immediately, sitting quietly on the floor, a large, red bow atop her hair. As I sat down next to her, she looked up at me as if to say, “Hi, Mom, what took you so long?” In a flash, I lost my heart to her completely. —Linda

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Adoption Agencies

Building Blocks Adoption Service
Medina, OH
U.S. Newborn, Special Needs/Waiting Child
Adoption by Shepherd Care
Hollywood, FL
U.S. Newborn, International
Family Life Services Adoption Agency
Lynchburg, VA
U.S. Newborn
Forever Families Through Adoption
Rye Brook, NY
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International
Houston, TX
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, Special Needs/Waiting Child
Children’s House International
Lynden, WA
International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
Morton, IL
U.S. Newborn
Cradle of Hope Adoption Center
Silver Spring, MD
U.S. Newborn, International
Adoptions of Indiana
Carmel, IN
U.S. Newborn
Miriam’s Promise
Nashville, TN
U.S. Newborn, International
The Barker Adoption Foundation
Bethesda, MD
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
Caring for Kids, Inc.
Cuyahoga Falls, OH
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster

See all adoption agencies >

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