By Anchel Krishna @anchelk
Three years ago Masalamommas featured an interview with Preetha Bhat and her husband, Don Paul. Preetha shared their story of trying to have a baby.
Initially, after a few months of trying, they decide to seek medical help and found that Preetha had endometriosis and PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) that made it extremely difficult to conceive naturally. Don and Preetha went through three IVF cycles. The first one worked. Preetha got pregnant but unfortunately lost the baby in the first trimester. The subsequent IVFs did not result in a pregnancy, and after the third one, they decided to stop because it was getting too stressful.
Adoption was always an option for Preetha who always wanted to adopt even if she conceived naturally.
In November 2013, Preetha and Don finally welcomed their new daughter, Eva home.
With their long journey behind them, they are both thrilled to finally have a daughter and we wanted to share their update with our readers on the journey to adopt, the process and how they’ve adjusted to parenthood.
We spoke to them recently and here’s an excerpt of our interview:
What was your adoption process like?
We chose to adopt within the U.S. and we decided to adopt a newborn baby. There were a few reasons we chose to adopt within the U.S. We wanted to have access to the birth parents’ medical records. We were also open to adopting a child of a different ethnicity. We preferred a newborn because we thought bonding might be easier.
We worked with an attorney located in California. As part of the process, we had to have a home study done. A home study is where a licensed social worker visits our home and asks questions and inspects the home to ensure safety.
After the home study, we had to put together a profile describing us, our family, our hobbies, etc. This profile was shown to multiple birth parents. Our daughter’s birth parents saw our profile in August 2013 and indicated that they were interested in us as potential adoptive parents. We flew to California to meet them in person. After that, we were formally matched with them and continued contact with them until the baby was born.
After the delivery, we had to stay in California (her place of birth) for about two weeks until all the paper work was done.
Can you tell us a bit about how felt going through the adoption process?
We felt a lot of uncertainty because we didn’t know if we would be selected as adoptive parents. We also didn’t know whether the birth parents would change their minds during the process, so we didn’t want to get our hopes up.
What was the most difficult thing about the process?
The wait time and the uncertainty of the process. We learned to go with the flow because we couldn’t control the outcomes.
Can you tell us whether culture/race played a part in the adoption process?
We were always open to adopting a child of a different ethnicity/race. Eva is biracial with a Latino heritage. I do feel that culture does play a role in birth parents choosing potential adoptive families. Birth parents are likely to choose adoptive families with whom they think they have something in common. In our case, the birth parents chose us despite the fact that they are of a different race. So, it is likely they found something in our profile that resonated with them.
What were yours and Don’s reactions when you met your daughter for the first time?
We felt disbelief that she was finally here after so many months of waiting. Honestly, we were afraid to feel too excited because even at that point, we didn’t know if the birth parents would change their minds. So, we were holding back emotionally. We began to feel like she was ours when her birth parents surrendered their parental rights (which happened two days after she was born).
What was the process of getting to know one another and becoming a family?
This was more from our side. We were intentional about bonding with our baby and spending time with her. I took a couple of months off from work so I could be with her. Being a newborn baby, it was mostly taking care of her basic needs but my husband and I tried our best to share responsibilities so he could be part of her early life. It got easier as she got older because she was able to engage with us.
What were the biggest challenges?
The main challenge was to take care of a newborn without any help. We don’t have any family members or relatives in the U.S., so we had to do everything on our own. That was very hard. We do have friends who dropped in occasionally but they are all working full-time, so they couldn’t provide the kind of help we needed in the early days.
What were the biggest joys?
Experiencing parenthood itself was a joy that we got to experience for the first time. Another high point was when she smiled at us for the first time. To us, that signaled that she recognized us as her parents.
Is there one particular memory that stands out for you?
We remember everything so vividly but if I were to pick one memory that stands out to me it would be the very first time we held our baby girl. My husband was so happy but so nervous at the same time because he had never held a newborn before! We had to coach him on how to hold her! Of course, he learned everything very quickly, but that first contact was very endearing to watch.
Are you going to tell Eva that she is adopted? How will you approach this?
Our daughter will definitely grow up with the knowledge that she is adopted. We’ll talk to her about how we adopted her and about her birth parents. Of course, we’ll do it in an age-appropriate way. It is a semi open adoption. Eva can decide if she wants to connect with them It We’ve kept a lot of memorabilia including pictures of her birth parents, emails from them, and a few clothes that her birth mother picked out for her. All this could add to the story that we’ll be telling her.
What is the message that you would like to share with others who are considering adoption?
Adoption is a long and stressful journey. Please make sure you stay well-informed about the process, the agency, and the odds of being successful. It is also good to be realistic about your expectations because you have no control over the outcomes.
Are you a couple going through adoption? We’d love to share your story or comments! Share them below.
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