There are so many paths to parenthood and every November we celebrate the one taken by roughly 95,000 families in America—adoption. Whether a family or an individual adopts an infant, a toddler, a grade schooler, or a teen, all adoptions are precious and, most often, long-awaited. In celebration of this year’s National Adoption Month, we’re sharing the story of one such adoption. Here, how Laura Hutfless, co-founder of FlyteVu, an entertainment marketing agency, found herself to be the proud mama of baby Evelynn Hope.

Like so many women, Laura Hutfless grew up believing the promise that she could have it all: the family, job, kids, hobbies, travel—everything! But as she entered the workforce, she quickly learned that no one really had it all.

“I realized early on that if I was going to be the mother I wanted to be, I needed ownership over my own schedule and financial stability,” says Hutfless. So, during her twenties and thirties, she focused on climbing the corporate ladder and starting her own company.

“Sure, I dated, but I was independent and had high standards. I wasn’t exactly Cinderella. I could afford my own glass slippers!” she says. And with that, came a perspective change. “I went from thinking ‘I need to be married to start a family’ to ‘I’m fully capable and deserving of the life I want with or without a partner,’” says Hutfless.

So, at age 35, Hutfless froze her eggs, just in case. “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to birth a child, but I wanted every available option to make that decision when the time came,” she says, telling herself that she’d make the call by her 40th birthday “no matter who was in my life when that time came.”

But Hutfless decided on adoption about two years earlier than she expected. “When my significant other passed away unexpectedly in 2019, I just knew adoption would be part of my story,” she says. “It’s amazing how the hard chapters in life always prepare you for the beautiful ones yet to come. I felt that I could connect and empathize with a birth mom’s emotions of grief and loss surrounding her decision, so I began to pray for God to provide an opportunity for me to adopt and love a child with my whole heart.”

In January 2021, Hutfless began her adoption journey. It took about four months to complete all the paperwork, home studies, and the “interrogation process,” she jokes. By April, Hutfless’s adoption agency and attorney started showing her profile book to birth mothers who were looking for adoptive families. A mere five months later, Hutfless got a call she would never forget. She had been paired with a birth mom. Hutfless was over the moon.

“Words can’t articulate how grateful I am. My baby’s birth mom included me in the pregnancy process, invited me to her first ultrasound, allowed me to name the baby, and she always referred to the baby as ‘your baby,’” says Hutfless. Still, Hutfless couldn’t help but feel on edge.

“The success rate is quite low for [newborn] adoptions,” explains Hutfless, who had friends’ adoptions fall through multiple times. “They all told me that one of the hardest parts was looking at a fully prepared nursery for a child that never came home. So, I decided not to put together a nursery.” Instead, she allowed herself to buy one children’s book each week. If the adoption fell through, she thought, she could easily keep the books hidden until another adoption was successful. 

It turns out that those stacks of books would be put to good use soon...but the wait would be a bit longer.

Baby Evelynn Hope was born 10 weeks early, weighing in at a little over 2 pounds. Evelynn stayed in the hospital for 63 days. “She got the nickname ‘The Wild One’ in the NICU because of her fighting spirit. I think she takes after me,” says Hutfless. While “The Wild One” surely fit, so did her given name, Evelynn. “It means ‘wished for child’ and ‘desired’ and there’s no better name for my beautiful little girl who has always been wanted, loved, and chosen,” says Hutfless.

Hutfless describes her first couple of months with Evelynn as being in “crisis mode” as she was singularly focused on bringing her baby home from the hospital. Then when that milestone was finally achieved, a new kind of crisis mode began.

“Evelynn stopped eating, she broke out in a rash, and she was clearly showing signs of being in pain. So, we began a new journey of doctor’s visits, sleepless nights, and undiagnosed symptoms,” says Hutfless. That’s when all the emotions erupted, and Hutfless broke down. “I called my mom and told her I didn’t think I was a good mom and Evelynn deserved better,” she recalls. “My mom was quick to tell me that every mom feels this way. And then she got on a plane to come help.”

“When I signed up for motherhood as a single woman, I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I never anticipated the first two months would be spent in the NICU during a pandemic—then all of the urgent doctors’ appointments, medications, and allergy scares at home,” says Hutfless. Even with all that, Hutfless counts her lucky stars. “My fairytale looks different from what I thought, but oh, what an amazing love story it has turned out to be!” she says. “I’m so grateful for the extra years of maturity and wisdom I needed to weather all the emotions that came with this rollercoaster of an adoption and preemie journey.”

 smiling baby with SNOObear

Today, The Wild One is 11 months old and thriving. She loves waving at strangers, shaking her tambourine, and finding her voice through song. Her official adoption papers were finally signed in October, but Hutfless didn’t need them to truly feel like Evelynn’s mama.

“She was 100% mine when I first walked up to her incubator, opened the door, and she reached up and grabbed onto my finger,” says Hutfless. “She chose me as much as I chose her. She was mine when God fashioned her in the womb. I’m sure of it.”

More on adoption, foster care, and infertility stories:

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