Gavin and Danielle are planning their first Christmas with newly adopted daughter, Abby. For a couple whose tradition has always been to visit family across the country, this year will be a little different — everyone is coming to them.
After being referred to Upbring by a friend, the couple found out early on that there was no “playbook” for how to approach the adoption process. Wanting to forge a relationship with Abby’s birth parents, the couple felt domestic adoption was the best route.
Working closely with Erin Patterson, Director of Adoption at Upbring, the couple took their first steps toward starting their new family. Getting the first e-mail from Erin about Abby’s birth mother gave Danielle a sense of calm she remembers vividly.
Gavin and Danielle were even at the hospital the night Abby was born and recall fondly the hours they spent alone with her birth mother – just the four of them, their new family.
“Abby turned our life upside down, but it’s a welcome chaos. We waited a long time for our lives to be upended like this,” Danielle says, describing the overwhelming joy of being new parents.
The couple is already starting beautiful new traditions with Abby. Danielle makes time to sing and dance with her daughter every day and loves to read her favorite book from when she was a child.
“Corduroy. He’s a teddy bear who no one wants to buy because his overalls are missing a button. A young girl buys him, gives him a bed and promises to take care of him. I never realized it before, but it is an adoption story.”
Gavin, a musician, has already written an original lullaby for his little girl. He recalls how his own father taught him how to play piano, and anxiously awaits the day when he can begin Abby’s lessons.
According to Gavin, a lot of his family traditions revolve around food. “My mother is a chef who has passed down all of our Italian family recipes to me. I look forward to sharing them with Abby and encouraging her to come up with her own.”
Excited about the future, Gavin and Danielle hope to teach Abby the importance of kindness and generosity. For a family brought together by adoption, they understand the power of grace and being open to all possibilities.
Danielle wants to encourage prospective parents who might be intimidated by the process or have reservations about raising a child who isn’t theirs biologically.
“When you open your heart to adoption, that love and understanding will come back to you.”
Gavin and Danielle are certainly reaping the rewards of their decision. They have a happy, healthy daughter in their lives and an army of supporters around them who can’t wait to spend the holidays getting to know baby Abigail.