Exactly two weeks after starting my new job with The Archibald Project, I got in the car and drove three hours north to Fort Worth, Texas. I pulled up to a light pink Airbnb that was being rented by a young couple named Sarah and Jay Keywood. From the second they opened the door, I could feel the nervous, excited and joyful energy flowing through every ounce of their being. They invited me into their temporary home and adoption story with wide open arms.
This is Part One of the Keywood adoption – the pre-baby part. And honestly, I’m most excited to share these photos and the words exchanged in this part. This is when I got to hear about their two-year long process, their heart for an open adoption, what they wanted for Jeremiah’s life, and their reliance on the Lord throughout it all.
I was laying out the outfit Jeremiah would wear home on the bedspread to take photos when Jay’s phone rang. The two of them looked at each other with wide eyes. I asked who it was and Sarah whispered, “It’s the agency calling to tell us whether or not the birth mother signed her rights over.” I heard Jay say some “mmhm’s” and “thank you’s” and then he ended the phone call, looked at Sarah and said “we have a son.”
There were tears both in front and behind the camera. I had no idea that heartache and joy could mix into one feeling until that moment. The heartache from knowing that a mother was in a situation where the best option was to place her child for adoption yet joy for an incredible couple gaining a beautiful, tiny addition into their family. Sarah and Jay talked about how amazing the birth mother was and told me that, not only did the three of them chose to do an open adoption, but they also all picked out Jeremiah’s name together. I asked them why they chose an open adoption and they said, “we feel that an open adoption continues to affirm the birth mom's brave choice. Not only will our son know his biological roots, but his birth mom will continue to know him as he grows. An open adoption marries two families to each other, both supporting each other. This is not co-parenting, but rather a covenant with each other.”
As their current reality began to sink in, excitement radiated from the instantly new parents…so what better way to celebrate than to crack open a few bottles of “Dad’s Root Beer” in their cute, fully stocked kitchen.
I knew they had just arrived to the Airbnb the day before so I had to ask how they managed time to grocery shop. Sarah told me that a friend who lived 45 minutes away coordinated with the Airbnb owner and filled their cabinets with food so they didn’t have to worry about groceries for their two week stay. Their friends and family were a crucial part in their adoption. They helped them fundraise and supported them through prayer and their presence. You could tell Sarah and Jay were so loved and it wasn’t hard for me to understand why.
After a few sips of the root beer, Jay looked at his watch and realized it was time to go pick up his son. They jumped up, made a bottle, packed his diaper bag, and grabbed the keys to head out the door. Although they had never had kids, they were ready. They had been ready for two years and June 7, 2016 was they day that would change the rest of their lives.
Before leaving, they asked if I wanted to ride with them – this is how welcoming Sarah and Jay were to me. They offered me, a random stranger, to ride with them on the way to pick up their newborn son and on the way back with him for the first time. It shocked me and made me want to be this person to others, the person that welcomes anyone. I rejected their offer only to ensure they got quality family time on the last car ride as a married couple with no children and the first car ride as new parents.
We hopped into our separate cars and made our way to Gladney Center for Adoption to pick up four-day-old Jeremiah Alexander Keywood.
Stay tuned tomorrow for Gotcha Day images and more information on their open, domestic adoption!