Shawn & Cheryl | Adoptive Parents from Tennessee

38210018.JPGHow did you and your husband come to the decision to adopt?

Both Shawn and I knew that we wanted to grow our family through adoption. It was something that we quickly connected on. We also knew that we wanted to have a little girl someday and her name would be Olivia. Somehow we’ve always been pretty much in sync when it comes to the important things. We feel so blessed that God had that same plan for us and for our family.

How did you feel when you first met your child's birth mom?

Wow!  Meeting Ali was one of the most exciting and nerve-racking days of our lives. Mad thoughts and nervous energy were top contender emotions! We received “the call” from our caseworker Deasree on January 16th, 2013 with the amazing news that a birth mom named Ali wanted to meet us. It was such an adrenaline rush. Both Shawn and I were at work when Deasree got a hold of us. Needless to say, we couldn’t concentrate the remainder of that day. We were slated to meet Ali the following Monday, January 21st, 2013. Her sister Claire would be with her during our meeting. Even more nerve-racking. Would they both like us?

Meeting Ali and Claire could not have gone any better. There was an immediate connection between all of us. It was such a beautiful time of sharing. We both felt incredibly nervous going into our meeting, but we honestly left feeling at peace with how well things went and looked forward to hearing from Ali again and if she felt like we were the right choice for her and her baby girl. It was certainly all Shawn, and I could think about until we heard from Deasree that Ali wanted to meet again for breakfast in a few days!! Finally, that day came, and we went to have breakfast with Ali, Claire and our caseworkers Deasree and Rita. We met up at this cute coffee shop. Again feeling very nervous but not as nervous (I don’t think) as the very first time we met. We all placed our orders and then made our way to sit down at a table, and we weren’t sitting too long before the waitress came by with mugs of piping hot coffee that Shawn and I, of course, were glad to accept b/c we both LOVE coffee. I immediately remember both Ali and Claire watching us, and I wasn’t sure what was up. Shawn was the first to notice that his mug said, DAD! And finally I clued in that mine said MOM!  Wow!! It was such a SPECIAL moment for us!  What a way to let us know that Ali chose us to become parents to her unborn baby girl and that it would be right around the corner. 

Take us back to the day Olivia was born, what was it like? Best and hardest parts of the day? 

Ali’s sister Claire sent us a text early that morning to tell us to get our butts over to the Medical Center because Olivia would be joining us soon! What an AMAZING day! Olivia came right on time. Born in the morning on February 7th and weighing in at 8lbs 8oz she was a very happy and healthy baby girl. 

Literally minutes after she was born Ali’s dad James (GDD – short for Grand DaDa) came and got us in the family waiting room and brought us down to meet our sweet baby girl Olivia. 

We chose Olivia’s middle name after meeting Ali and Claire and wanted Olivia to carry on the names of two very special ladies that would always remain a part of her life through the years. This day was beautiful thru and thru and Shawn, and I can honestly say that there was nothing difficult about it whatsoever.  It was incredibly special from beginning to end. 

How has your friendship gotten stronger over the past two years?

Both Shawn and I have so much respect and admiration for Ali. She has been so brave and so strong throughout our combined journey. We both LOVE Ali more than words can depict. She has given us one of the most incredible gifts of LOVE. Ali’s immediate family is like an extension of our family. We love them all and feel so connected with them. We connected right from the very beginning, and spending time together in the hospital during Olivia’s first few days was such a special time. We connected. All of us. Griffin (Ali’s younger brother) was the recipient of such a sweet little smile from Olivia when he was rocking her. I know it melted his heart. Ali’s sister Claire was such a support system for her and her strength and continued support certainly made the decision Ali chose an easier one. Claire was by her side the entire time. Grand DaDa (Ali’s Dad) is an incredible man. His heart is so big and has been very supportive of Ali and involved in Olivia’s life. Shawn and I hit it off with him the first time we met which was in the hospital on the eve of Olivia’s entrance into the world. Our friendship has grown because of the respect that we show one another. We talk regularly and enjoy spending time together. It’s clear that Shawn and I are Olivia’s parents, and how wonderful for Olivia that she has a relationship with Ali and will grow up knowing her birth mom and her amazing story.  Olivia is blessed to have so many people that love her.  She will grow up healthy and confident because of all that love! 

What is your favorite part about Ali?

Favorite part about Ali?  Admittedly it’s tough to choose a favorite part because there are many favorite parts… so Shawn and I decided it would be best to highlight more than just one. Her strength, determination, selflessness, openness, maturity, love for others, creativity, level-headedness, style, unconditional love, brave side, fun spirit, love of animals, love of music, passion, and how comfortable it is to be around Ali.  She’s like a sister to us! 

Has adoption been worth it to you? 

Oh my goodness YES! We love our little family.  We couldn’t imagine our life without Olivia in it.  She’s our daily dose of happiness.  I can’t wait to go upstairs each morning and peek my head in her room and see that incredible smile of hers.  It’s crazy how fast the time is passing and how fast she’s growing up. We feel such JOY being Olivia’s mommy and daddy!

Would you choose this if you had to do it all over again?

Without question yes, we would do it all over again in a heartbeat.  This journey has been so special.  Thank you, Ali, for being so BRAVE! We love you so much!  

In honor of Thanksgiving, we are asking this question — What have you been most grateful for throughout your adoption journey?

"Shawn and I are most grateful for the gift and the journey that comes with Adoption.  We are so grateful for Ali and for being blessed with our amazing and beautiful daughter Olivia.  She is our everything." - Cheryl


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Want to get to know Ali, their daughter's birth mom? Read her adoption story here.