"They're Like Family"
Updated: Dec 12, 2018
Lizzy was 21 years old when she got pregnant. With her due date approaching, Lizzy knew that her current situation wasn’t an environment she wanted to raise a child in. Lizzy’s father, who has two adopted siblings himself, brought EVOLVE Adoption & Family Services (formerly Hope Adoption) to her attention.
Arriving at EVOLVE, Lizzy met with her pregnancy counselor, Allie and a few weeks later she met with Ryan and Janelle. “They’re like family,” she says, “Ryan and Janelle are the kind of people that would drop everything for someone, I’m very lucky.”
Prior to finding EVOLVE, Lizzy had plans with a couple from up north, but it fell through. Looking back Lizzy is grateful, “I don’t think they had plans to tell the child at all… open is way better, I wouldn’t know Mia at all.”
EVOLVE expresses openness from the beginning. “Allie made it clear that I could choose whatever I wanted,” shared Lizzy.
On December 9, 2013, Lizzy gave birth to Mia. About to turn five years old, Mia is sassy and spunky. “She knows it too,” Lizzy laughed. Mia’s birthday party is in just a few weeks. Pulling the invite off the refrigerator, Lizzy shared that her husband, her family, and friends have all attended a birthday party. “Ryan and Janelle treat everyone like an extension of the family,” said Lizzy. At birthdays, her and Mia “go off and do [their] own thing” to exchange birthday and Christmas gifts and to have time alone.
“We see them more than just birthdays… we see them throughout the year!” said Adam. He shared that once they all went to Chuck E Cheese, “I’m pretty sure I had the most fun.”
Lizzy attributes a portion of the closeness between Janelle and Ryan to how much time they spent together in the beginning. “In April of 2014, we had to go to court to terminate the father’s rights, he wasn’t cooperating. My lawyer encouraged Ryan, Janelle, and I to meet up three times a week to build a relationship.” In June of the same year, Mia’s adoption was finalized.
When asked if this is how she envisioned an open adoption, Lizzy was quick to say no. “This isn’t how I imagined it at all,” she shared as she got up from her kitchen table. She came back with a box in hand that contained everything she has regarding Mia. A Birth Certificate, Adoption Papers, cards from Ryan and Janelle, and a handwritten letter they gave to Lizzy the day Mia was born. Among these memories was an openness agreement that all three of them signed. “We did the most basic one, we weren’t sure what we were going to be comfortable with,” continuing on, “obviously it worked out really well, they’re like family.” The openness agreement stated that both the adoptive parents and the birth mom would send updated photos of one another and Mia, share big life updates, and coordinate an agreed upon number of meet ups.
Adam, speaking for his wife said, ‘It’s hard for you to see Mia, but you’re glad you do because you get to see her grow up. It’s hard, it’s hard to see her daughter.”
In the future, Lizzy hopes that she and Mia will stay close. “I don’t think she fully understands now… I want to have a relationship in the future.”
Adam and Lizzy are trying to start a family, having been married just over a year. Allie, Lizzy’s pregnancy counselor attended their wedding along with Ryan, Janelle, and Mia- who was their flower girl.