A Tale of Adoption and Assistance

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This guest post was written by Chris Hickman, Associate Director in Protiviti Atlanta. This post originally appeared on our Protiviti Careers blog.

The Start of A Journey

hickman-2Our journey with adoption began around 2010. My now husband and I were attending a show one evening at the theater when I leaned over to him and said “Why don’t we look into adoption?” It was certainly something that we’d talked about in the past.

The show was “A Christmas Carol.” Before the start, we both stood outside watching the well dressed children running around the auditorium in anticipation of the show ahead. Little girls in their red, black and green dresses with perfectly fixed hair and little boys in dressed in their best gathered around the massive Christmas tree in the center of the open space. My partner looked at me and smiled. I knew the answer.

Elation and Grief

Only a week after contacting the adoption agency (recommended through friends), we were paired with a birth mother out of Southern California. She was pregnant with twins and we decided to take a leap of faith and move forward. From that situation, our son was born. Due to unexpected complications, he was in the neonatal intensive care unit for about 3.5 weeks, along with his sister, who tragically did not survive.

At the time, I had been working with my team for about 5 years. I had communicated with the management team on what was happening in case I needed to pick up and go. And that time came quickly when the twins were born. We spent a month living in California while our son grew strong enough to come home. I was given all of the time that we needed to get through this elation and also the grief. Without the compassion, time and understanding from the team, this would have been impossible.

“Another Amazing Call”

As we were going through the process of our second adoption, marriage equality became a reality across the United States. For the security of our children, we decided that we would get married. Then, in mid-April 2016, another amazing call came. The agency that we had been working with was notified that a baby had been born in Southern Georgia and the parents were looking to put her up for adoption. I was in California (interesting coincidence) on business at the time. My husband sent me a photo via text showing a one week old girl being held with the text “She needs a home”. I called him back immediately and said “let’s move forward!”. I tried to change my flight to get home earlier than my scheduled Friday flight and ended up taking a red eye home from San Francisco.

hickman-1During the flight, I was as sleepless as I was nervous. I was getting text updates from home on what was going on. When I landed in Atlanta after spending the night on the plane, I met my husband, our daughter and the birth family at the attorney’s office. Our son was at school for the day. I’ll never forget our one-week old daughter, Carly, nestled in her car seat with my husband’s introduction: “Here she is!”

Here she is, indeed. We were already prepared for a little girl at home. We have been prepared for 4 years. We found out about her on Tuesday, and on Thursday, she was with us. Obviously I called in to say that I wouldn’t be in that day!

Love and Assistance

When we started the search process for both of our adoptions, I told very few folks at work since we weren’t quite sure if things were going to work out. I needed to be able to contact someone in case we got the call and had to go somewhere or be away for a while. With our son, we were in Southern California for nearly a month and had complete support of everyone at the office. Our second adoption was so completely different. First of all, it was local. Secondly, the baby was born at full-term, and healthy, and didn’t require a hospital stay. Thirdly, our company had been acquired as part of the Protiviti family. I learned the process of the adoption assistance program and parental leave. The adoption assistance program provides a taxable reimbursement for a qualifying adoption. The cost of an adoption can be high and every amount certainly helps. I started the application process with the necessary adoption paperwork. The available leave, coupled with the adoption assistance benefit, helped ease the stress of becoming parents again through adoption.

Our story is a long and mostly happy one, with moments of great sadness but with moments of extreme love and elation. There is never a guarantee that an adoption will be flawless. There’s usually the roller coaster of emotions and moments of “how are we going to get through this?”, “should we continue with this?”, “is this the right thing for us?”

Protiviti made the process much easier by giving us not only the time and assistance that we needed, but also the love, thoughts and baby gifts that make the personal connection that much more special.

This blog post was re-published from the Protiviti Careers blog.

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