A network of adoptive families, birth families, and adoption professionals which exists to improve the lives of children and others touched by adoption through support and education. UFA is actively engaged in community outreach and advocacy to raise awareness of adoption as a loving option.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Delivered Blessings

This article was published in Central Floirda Lifestyle. 
It is used with permission.
Written by:  Kimberly Kimmel
Going through an adoption process can be a nerve wracking, even frightening experience for everyone involved. Both the birth mother and the adoptive mother have absolutely no guarantees going in that everything will work out in their favor.

Rachel McMurtrey and her husband Steve fromDr. Phillips had taken the usual route in their quest to be parents. You name it; they explored it. Procedures, injections, surgeries, even egg donations. With each failed attempt to become parents, they grew more passionate and determined. “My husband and I have been married for 11 years and had difficulty getting pregnant. We went to two different doctors in the area and it just didn't happen. We were so disappointed,” Rachel says.

Taking a Chance
The last remaining step to get the child they so desperately wanted was adoption. The McMurtreys let their hearts lead the way and jumped into the process. “After we exhausted the fertility route, we signed up with several different adoption agencies,” Rachel says.
LDS Family Services, an adoption agency associated with the Mormon Church, was one of those agencies. Part of the process is to make a profile and be listed with an agency. Birth moms also choose an agency to help them place their child. Once vetted by the agency, a birth mom is able to look on the site to choose adoptive families. The McMurtreys, “the waiting family” didn't have their profile up on LDS’s website yet because they were in the very beginning steps with the process. The McMurtreys’ birth mom went on the site and chose a Florida couple for her child but discovered that the couple had already adopted and was no longer a waiting family. “She was told there was another brand new couple … and that was us,” McMurtrey says.

Tara Daugherty, the McMurtreys’ birth mom, got the information on the McMurtreys and liked what she saw. She chose them to be her child’s new parents. Rachel says when Daugherty discovered she was pregnant, she was going to terminate the pregnancy. But she had a change of heart at the last moment and contacted LDS Family Services. Daugherty, who lives in Georgia, says she was not prepared to have another child. “I have a daughter who is five and I wanted this baby to have a family and them to be a family forever,” Daugherty says.
When the McMurtreys began, they knew the emotional risks they'd be taking, but they were willing to go for it. Knowing the birth mother could bow out at any point, and they may go home from the hospital empty handed, was a risk they were willing to take.
“You don't realize how much control you don't have. Your heart is in someone else's hands. At any point they can back out,” Rachel says. Because they knew sometimes adoption stories end badly, the McMurtreys were leery, but determined. “There is a lot of heartache behind it. You guard yourself emotionally. People have a perception that you don't go through any pain when you adopt, rather than give birth, but it is a whole different pain. It is an emotional pain during each and every step of the entire process,” Rachel says.

Promises Kept
When the time came, Daugherty requested that the McMurtreys be present in the delivery room.
Easton McMurtrey was born December 26. “The birth mom wanted us there. My husband even cut the umbilical cord,” Rachel says.
As for Daugherty, she was completely satisfied with the way everything turned out. “It all went just how God intended. Nothing could have gone better,” Daugherty says.
In the beginning, each wanted a closed adoption, but they ended up getting along so well, they changed their minds. The experience greatly bonded the two women, who in the end, settled on an open adoption. “After getting to know Rachel and Steve we connected, and it was so great because I was able to bless them with a child of their own and we are great friends. It is such a huge blessing in my life and circumstances,” Daugherty says.

Abundant Blessings
Both moms share the same faith and received counseling through their churches. “We have found that studies have proven it is better for the child to have an open adoption. She couldn't take care of him. We helped her, and she helped us. We stay in touch often and see her. We are like sisters,” Rachel says. “It can be a long journey that makes you tough and more sympathetic. It is not an easy route. But of course it is now a blessing.” Rachel says her best advice to other families who want a child is to never give up hope.”
Rachel and Steve see their son as the ultimate Christmas gift. “Because he was born on December 26, Easton is our gift. We are like kids with our joy. Being parents means so much to us. We don't take a second for granted. A lot of people even say he looks like us. We love caring for him and savor every day of being parents. We are so grateful,” Rachel says.
And the most surprising part for Rachel? The love that is felt. To me I didn't realize I could love a child as though it came from me. I feel like he is mine and that he was always meant to be mine. I don't feel like he was adopted. Miracle after miracle has happened,”
There is a saying in the adoption community that Rachel says sums up how she feels.
“With adoption a baby grows in a mommy's heart instead of her tummy.”

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