After realizing the toll of IVF, the Easterbrook-Neubauers chose the path of adoption, stepping into a journey filled with surprises. Within two weeks of passing the home study, they received a shocking phone call that their daughter was born and ready for them at the hospital. Picking her up only two days later, they began the next chapter of their life, one full of learning to navigate the delicate balance of being prepared for the unexpected while embracing the beauty of the unknown.

Tell us about your adoption story! What made you decide that adoption was right for you?

We were going through IVF, and it got to the point where it felt like too much. We felt like a number, so we just had enough and quit. We then took some time off from worrying about anything like that for a while. After a while, we talked about it a bit more, and that’s when we decided to try the adoption route.

Can you tell us a bit about your overall experience with the adoption process?

We went through all the social worker visits and then passed the home study. We had gone through Choices in Victoria, which is shut down now. Once we had passed the home study, we had always heard it takes two or three years for someone to choose you, but we got chosen within two weeks, it was crazy fast. We got a phone call on Sunday that a baby had been born two days ago on Friday and to come to pick her up on Tuesday, so we just had two days’ notice. We brought B from the hospital, so she’s been with us from day one from coming home from the hospital.

What has surprised you most about going through the adoption process?

Probably the fact that we got chosen so quickly. We were planning to go on a holiday and do all this stuff before we were matched because we were told it would take a really long time, but then a few weeks later, we got the phone call.

Something that is not so surprising but that I’ve just realized since adoption has become part of our lives is how adoption is everywhere. For instance, we found out our neighbour was adopted, and so many other people around us. There’s way more adoption than you realize, and every story is different.

Another thing I’m also realizing is that for adoptions that happened earlier on, many people don’t talk about it nearly as much as we talk about it nowadays. So, it’s been nice to see people talk about it more and be more open about it.

Can you tell us about one rewarding and challenging point in your adoption experience?

Well, of course, having a family and a daughter is both rewarding and challenging.

One challenging part in the first month was not being sure if the child would stay with us. That was hard because the biological mother always had that chance to change their mind.

However, we realized that you have to trust in the process and that the birth mother or family has made their plan for a reason. Yes, they could change their mind, but they’ve put a lot of thought into it and have made that decision, and you have to go through all the steps.

What’s your best bit of advice for families considering adopting?

If anyone is ever worried about how it might feel to adopt, if it would feel real or not, it does, and it is. B is our daughter, and we’re a family.

How has the Belonging Network made a difference to your family?

I like seeing posts from the Belonging Network on Facebook since, depending on what it is, it is nice when it can relate to us somehow. I also like seeing the events that are held. It’s a way to connect with other families who have adopted if we want to or need to.

Anything else that you would like to share?

One thing we were told when we were going through the whole adoption process was that it would be a long process. We had our baby room set up, and we got that phone call on Sunday that B was born two days earlier, and we had to pick her up on Tuesday. The only thing we had to pick up on the way down to get her was a car seat. We didn’t know what age child we would be matched with. Being prepared while going through the process is the way to be. It’s definitely a weird balance between being prepared but not being too excited because you don’t want to be sad if you’re waiting for a long time.

We still have an open adoption with the biological mother. We contact them to let them know how B is doing, and B understands she’s adopted, we’re not keeping it a secret. So, we do have an open adoption, but we haven’t heard from the birth family in a long time, and I wish we did more for B’s sake. We still send them emails with pictures and letters about three or four times a year, and once in a while, we let them know if they ever want to visit to let us know. We don’t know what happened for sure, but we likely think they are just going through their own stuff.