Anne English just knew in her heart that she was meant to be a mother. However, when she was ready to take on the role, she wasn’t in a relationship or really young enough to wait much longer. For English, her answer to parenting was always going to be adoption.
“I had looked into international adoption and all of the options for adoption. The best option for a single woman like me seemed to be adopting through the Department of Children and Families. I really began to take the process seriously because I didn’t want to go through [it] unless I was serious.”
English’s enthusiasm throughout the process quickly evolved into a steadfast focus on the mission at hand. Sitting and waiting was simply not going to be how she was going to approach the early stages of becoming a mother. But as English quickly found out ,the process of adopting from foster care and attending adoption parties felt at first like exploring an entirely new world.
“This was not something that was going to be a spectator sport for me,” English said. “I wasn’t going to sit and wait for a phone call. I knew that it would be longer, it would take longer, if I didn’t do everything that I was asked to do. I looked at this process like visiting a foreign country and knew I would benefit from having people who had already been there taking me through the customs and the culture,” she recalled.
After taking MAPP classes and going through the home study process, the waiting for English began to set in. There were adoption parties to attend and hopes were high for a match. Then in March of 2009, English’s phone rang and the conversation that came from it changed both her life and the life of a small infant named Gracie.
“I was contacted on March 18, and on March 27th my baby girl came home,” said English. “She was 7 weeks old. She weighed 5 pounds, 11 ounces; she was a tiny, tiny infant. Our real journey began with foster care. I fostered her for 7 months. We had no issues. Her adoption was finalized on National Adoption Day on November 20, 2009. We’ve been legally a family ever since. But I think we’ve been a family since they handed me to her. I just knew she was mine. That’s when I became a mom,” she recalled.
Like any other mom, English has kept track of each and every significant milestone in Gracie’s life to date. First steps, first words and even the first ‘Hi, Mama,’ is eternally etched into her motherly memory bank.
“Especially for folks who have worked as hard as adoptive families have to become a family, those milestones really mean a lot,” English said. “Everything we do together means something to me; I spent a lot of Halloween nights with little kids coming to my door when I wasn’t a parent and it was hard. I remember the first time she [Gracie] and I walked down the street holding hands and I thought ‘This is a milestone. This is a moment.’ And all of those feel so good that all of the other challenges just melt away.”
For Anne English, becoming a mother started out as an ambition and bloomed and blossomed into actively having that role as a mother to a little girl once in need of a family to love and take care of her. For every challenge that comes her way, the ability to make new memories and track new milestones with her daughter, each and every day, makes the journey together as a family the sweetest one of all.