Rachel and Michael Baughman tried for six years to have a baby.
First came the four long years of fertility struggles, then two more years navigating the adoption process.
“For a little while I was keeping track of the moms we presented to and then I just stopped because it started feeling really disheartening. Maybe 25 times we presented to a mom and then we found out she chose another family,” Rachel recalls.
But this is not a sad story. This is story of how a loving, well-informed community can provide adoptive families with the love and support they need through the ups and downs that come with adoption. It's a story about how the right information can prompt families to get started on what might be an intimating process. It's a story about the beauty of adoption and the blessing that comes when your baby finally joins your family.
Because the Baughmans were blessed with a son. He’s a beautiful 10-week-old boy named Milo.
Rachel sat down with us recently — a very cooperative Milo cradled in her arms — to tell her story. Here it is, in her own words (lightly edited for brevity and clarity).
On deciding to adopt
“You’ll hear a lot of stories from adoptive families where they always knew they were going to adopt one day. It took us a long time to get to a place when we were OK to start the adoption process, and even longer to get excited about it. For both of us, it was just an unknown. It felt very scary and overwhelming.
The first thing that I ever attended was a four-part seminar series on how to care for adoptive families that the Adoption Support Alliance put on. Those were super helpful for me. They just laid out in a real and honest way what it looks like for a family to adopt, what the requirements are, what the emotional toll is, what the financial obligation is. They spent one whole seminar talking about race and culture. They had some families share their own personal experiences with adoption. Going through those seminars was one of the things that helped me say, ‘Yes, let’s start the process.’”
On finding Milo
“At the beginning of 2017, we were eligible to be adoptive parents. For the next year and a half, we kept asking these women to choose us to raise their babies, and then we’d find out they had chosen another family. So we just felt really beaten down after awhile of going through that process.
Then, in June of this year, we got a call that one of the moms had picked us, and her baby was due at the beginning of August. We were in shock. It didn’t feel real.
It was about a week before her due date and I got a call one evening, on our wedding anniversary in July. And the social worker said, ‘I’m calling to let you know the mom had her baby this morning, and she’s decided she’s keeping the baby.’
At this point, it had been almost six years that we had just been asking over and over again for a baby. We had been told we were going to be given this baby, and then it was just taken away from us.
The week after that happened, one of the pastors from our church asked if he could bring a group of elders from the church to our house and have a really intentional time of prayer. My attitude was, whatever. We’d been praying for six years already. I also felt like, ‘I don’t know what to do.’ But my husband, Michael, was like, ‘I think we need to do this.
So we arranged a night for some people to come over. It was on a Thursday, and we sat out on our back deck. They gathered around us and laid hands on us and prayed for a long time.
About five minutes after they left, my phone rang, and it was our adoption agency. They were calling to tell us that a baby had been born that day in Austin, Texas. It was a little boy.”
On what happened next
“We flew to Austin that Saturday, and I reached out to friends to tell them about the baby. One friend of mine here has a good friend who lives in Austin. She asked if she could put us in touch.
So this girl, Lauren in Austin, sent me a text and she said, “I don’t know what you need, but if you think of anything please let me know.” I said, “We need a place to stay.”
That night, we’re sitting in hospital with the baby, and I get another text from Lauren. She had emailed a group of people at her church letting them know about us and our situation, and one of the families said they were going on vacation for the week and they’d love for us to stay in their home.
The family who lives there has an 8-month-old. It was this cute little house with all the baby gear, 10 minutes from the hospital. It was just amazing.
Almost every night we were there, somebody brought us dinner. A couple mornings people brought us breakfast and coffee. One girl just showed up with a bag of baby clothes.
Then, when the family letting us use their home came back, we still had to stay in Texas. So another family reached out to say they had an empty guest bedroom we could use. And we moved in with them.
Everything we could have needed was just provided for us by total strangers who just knew that we were there to adopt a baby and who wanted to be servants and care for a family in need.”
On the name, Milo
“One of the two meanings of Milo is ‘merciful,’ and we felt like the whole experience had been just this amazing example of God’s mercy. It felt like we had been begging him for so long to give us a baby, and in an instant, he gave us a phone call and answered our request. As he continued to meet our needs in those first couple of days, we just feel so undeserving of all this goodness. So Milo just felt really fitting.”
Written by Mary Johnson, Brave New Word
If you are interested in learning more about the adoption process — both international and domestic — we'd love for you to join us Saturday, Dec. 1 at 9 a.m. for our Adoption 101 course. Click here for all the details.
Photo credit to Miranda Reger Photography.