Couple Alex and Mike live in Philadelphia with their recently adopted daughter, Olivia — but the process of creating this happy family had a lot of ups and downs.
“Our journey actually started through IVF, with Alex’s cousin volunteering to be our gestational carrier. Soon into the process, though, we found out that she was not medically qualified to carry for us due to complications with her last pregnancy,” Mike shared with us.
Mike continued, “after weeks of working on this, we finally entered the matching program. We matched with a birth mother on our second day! We were due to be daddies on April 10, 2021.”
Excitement ensued; they had a date! These dads-to-be were beside themselves with joy and hope and wonder. Until, about four months into the match, their birth mother had a change of heart and decided to parent the baby herself. Naturally, they were broken.
“We spent a few days coping with this, mourning something we never really had,” Mike remembered solemnly. But they persisted.
“We continued submitting our profiles for various birth mothers, hoping to rematch with any new situations entering the program.” And then, on April 10, 2021, the day they were supposed to be dads, something wild happened.
Mike said, “We took a short vacation to distract ourselves from the heartbreak of the day and what could have been. As soon as we checked into our hotel, we got a call from our caseworker telling us that we matched again! Of all days!”
Excitement ensued, again; the birth mother was due in less than two weeks. On April 20, she was induced, and two days later, they became dads.
“The hospital allowed us to stay for the entire process, placing her immediately into our arms for skin-to-skin, and the doctor even left a piece of the umbilical cord for us to cut! It was truly an amazing experience.
“The second she was born, a strange and surreal feeling came over us. We knew our lives changed. If there’s one thing you can never take back, it’s your first words to someone. We waited forever to tell our child ‘Daddies love you.’ We always wanted those words to be the first words we told our child – so when we finally said them, we knew that we were dads.
Fast forward six months, to October 2021, and Olivia Shay’s adoption became finalized. In that short time span, the dads have already developed some favorite fatherhood moments.
“Our absolute favorite thing is the smile she gives us after waking up in the morning or after a nap. She looks around the room, and as soon as she makes eye contact with us, she has this giant, gummy smile that makes our hearts melt.”
The dads shared some advice for others just starting the process: “Be patient, never give up on hope and trust the process; advice we wish we gave ourselves. There are going to be times where you can’t imagine this process ever ending. You wait for the phone to ring all day and night. It will happen. Everyone’s time will come.”