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An Adoptive Mother’s Intuition: How Nicole Ketchum Found Her Daughter Lulu

Jul 18, 2019

Our guest on ADOPTION NOW is Nicole Ketchum. She is a creative entrepreneur, an adoptive mom, and the founder of Hey Girl Decor, which is her modern decor company that specializes in acrylic chandeliers. The chandeliers are made for homes, parties, weddings, events, you name it. In addition to her website, you can check them out on her Instagram account.

To start this interview, April asks Nicole why she ultimately chose adoption. Nicole says that adoption was actually their last choice. She had tried for years to have a baby, but she had been unsuccessful. Nicole was also in and out of surgery for her endometriosis. 

In addition, she tried IVF, which was unsuccessful, along with acupuncture and yoga as well. Eventually, she decided to give adoption a shot as the last option. 

“We decided to try one last time, and if it didn’t work with adoption, we were not going to be parents.”

April then asks Nicole how she and her husband found their agency. After a couple of false starts, they found a small agency in California that checked every box. As Nicole points out, the agency was small enough to make their shot at being matched extremely slim. 

Unsure of prolonging parenthood even longer, Nicole and her husband were rather uneasy.  Nicole had a hunch, and that gut feeling would ultimately prove to bear fruit. Lo and behold, it only took four months for them to be matched with a child!

When asked what they had to do at this point, Nicole says they had to redo their home study because by then it had expired. They also had a lengthy phone meeting with the agency to iron out every single detail and requirement for adoption. But after going with her gut and saying no to multiple calls, Nicole began to harbor doubts about adoption.

After four months, Nicole said she was done and didn’t want to do adoption anymore. She decided on going to Bermuda with her husband... and of course, received the call she’d been waiting on the next day!

With the matching process out of the way, she said that the rest of the process was so quick  that it all just felt right. The birth parents had picked Nicole and her husband right away, and before they knew it, they were flying to California to meet over dinner. Everyone was nervous and Nicole admits she was petrified, but coasting off of the collective nervous energy, they all had a good meeting.

April asks Nicole how the birth mother was during this first meeting. Nicole says that in addition to how quiet she was, she also seemed to be in shock. The birth mother, Melanie, is half-Korean and Chinese and is the daughter of a very domineering mother. Nicole states that she was petrified to tell her mother she was pregnant, so a lot of this must have factored into just how uneasy she initially felt.

Fast forward to the birth of their daughter Lulu. Nicole and her husband just missed their daughter’s birth but made it shortly after! And boom, they were suddenly parents! 

Nicole explains that it was difficult and almost traumatic to be a mother...just like that. 

“One minute, I am not a mom and I’ve given up...and the next minute I went from zero to one hundred and I wasn’t prepared.”

She said that it was three days total of sitting in the hospital, so it was definitely uncomfortable and a shock to her system. But things started to normalize and the birth parents had already signed the necessary paperwork, so Nicole and her husband were soon on their own.

April then asks Nicole if she had any struggles transitioning from the hospital to home, and she said it was a definite struggle.

Nicole said that she suffered from postpartum depression after taking Lulu home. She says that she cried for weeks on end because she didn’t know it was ok to feel sad in her position. After honoring her feelings, she worked through it.

Nicole stresses that adoptive parents should give themselves grace and walk through any feelings that arise during the adoption experience. Going into it with no expectations is important. 

April then asks if Lulu knows her biological family, and Nicole says that she has started that conversation, but is approaching the topic gently through direct and indirect means. As Nicole shares, Lulu is understanding it and piecing it together naturally. They are so connected and fully attached now more than ever!

For more on Nicole and Lulu, listen to the episode in full! And be sure to check out Hey Girl Decor to support Nicole. For an after show of this interview, look no further than the ADOPTION NOW Youtube channel.