For the Vedders, the right couple came along quickly. They were at a rest stop in North Carolina on a road trip in July when a phone call told them a couple had selected them to parent their child. It was unexpected. They figured they’d be waiting for months, like they had the first time. Virin had just taken apart Corey’s crib.
“This was not at all on our radar,” he said.
The birth parents were teens. “Drew,” 16, and “Willow,” 15, looked at profiles of five couples and chose the Vedders. They liked that their daughter would have an older brother, as well as the pictures that showed a happy Corey and the details about the Vedders’ life together.
“It may not be the best for us, but it was for her,” said Willow, who has blue eyes and likes to paint. She and Drew live near Alpharetta. (The names of the teen couple have been changed to protect her privacy.)
Soon the couples met, introduced by the staff at the adoption agency. These meetings can have a feeling of an awkward first date, with everyone on their best behavior. But the uncomfortable feelings melted away.
“It’s a click. It fit,” said Virin.
A second meeting on Aug. 2 was scheduled. But that night, Evelyn Marie, at 7 pounds and 12 ounces, was born. The couples met a second time at Northside Hospital where the Vedders got to see their daughter shortly after her birth.
Two days later, Evelyn was brought home. Kristie, tearing up, called the experience a “bittersweet” moment. The birth parents had their goodbyes, then Kristie and her husband left the hospital with their daughter.
“It was hard,” said Willow. “I cried five days straight.”
But because it is an open adoption—in which contact between birth parents and the child continues after an adoption is finalized—the birth parents get to experience milestones. In fact, when Evelyn rolled over for the first time, Kristie captured it on her iPhone and texted the video to the birth parents.
Virin said they are pleased with the arrangement. It is natural for a child to know their family tree, he said, and birth parents have the option to get to know their child.
(Story continues below)
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Indeed, even Evelyn’s name was given to her by her birth parents and the Vedders embraced it. The name means “little bird,” which is a childhood nickname for Willow and her middle name—Marie—is shared with Kristie’s mom.
The open adoption helps Willow.
“If we’re having a bad day, sometimes we’ll get videos. We can look at the videos and see that she’s happy,” she said.
Drew, who is Catholic and involved in arts in his high school, said, “Evelyn will probably get to see the world with them.”
Three months on, the milestones have begun. The couples and the children have met, gathering at Shorty Howell Park in Gwinnett County for an afternoon. Corey got trucks and toys from Drew and Willow.
Evelyn was baptized in October. Both she and her older brother are being raised in the Church.