23rd Wing executive officer, wife become adoptive parents

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Frances Locquiao
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
For one Moody couple, the experience they shared up to the birth of their son, Andrew, was not typical of many parents.

Maj. Richard Waldrop and his wife, Kristen, did not have to worry about monthly visits to the doctor, health concerns associated with pregnancy or the birthing process because they chose to adopt Andrew.

"While we tried for years to conceive a child, adoption was always an option for us," said Major Waldrop, 23rd Wing executive officer. "We looked at several options to grow our family, and adoption was the best choice for us because it opened up so many doors."

Once the couple decided that adoption was their best option, they researched the Internet to learn more about the application process and to find the right agency.

"We found that there are a lot of agencies willing to help in the adoption process and learned there are different ways to adopt a child, from domestic to international," said Mrs. Waldrop. "From our research, we decided to look for a Christian-based organization that was willing to work with us even if we changed duty stations."

In addition to looking online, the Waldrops talked to friends at their church who had also adopted.

"Our friends suggested an adoption agency to us, and after a little bit of research we decided their organization was what we were looking for," said Major Waldrop.

The Waldrops contacted the adoption agency located in Macon, Ga., in February 2009, to schedule a one-on-one informational meeting with a representative. It was during the meeting when they decided to start the pre-adoption paperwork.

"The adoption process was remarkably smooth because they helped us with all the paperwork," said Mrs. Waldrop. "The organization kept us well-informed so we knew every step of the process."

The next step after the first meeting was to decide their preferences for a child.

"We wanted a newborn, one we could raise from the very beginning," said Mrs. Waldrop. "We had the opportunity to narrow our preferences down to eye and hair color, but we chose not to be really selective."

The Waldrops created a profile book after the decision was set to adopt a newborn baby. The book contained a snap shot of the Waldrops' life including pictures of their home and even their dogs.

Several months following the meetings and the creation of their profile book, the Waldrops received notification that they were chosen as the adoptive parents for Andrew.

"We felt very blessed that Andrew's birth mother and father chose us," said Mrs. Waldrop. "It took us by surprise when they made their decision during Labor Day weekend, less than one month before his birth."

Andrew was born on Sept. 29, 2009, and two days later, he was able to meet his new adoptive parents.

"When we picked up Andrew from the hospital, we were both very emotional," said Major Waldrop. "From that moment on, he was our baby and everyone at the hospital treated us as his parents. His biological mother had 10 days to change her mind, however, we were reassured that her decision was final."

The Waldrops' life style immediately changed once they took Andrew home.

"We've experienced lack of sleep because our sleep patterns revolve around Andrew," said Major Waldrop. "We also stay home more often, but this is part of parenthood and we enjoy every minute of it. I'm just glad that I was granted paternity leave so I could spend more time with Andrew."

Although the Waldrops have custody of Andrew, they are still considered his pre-adoptive parents until the whole adoption is legally finalized on March 3 at the Lowndes County Courthouse in Valdosta, Ga. Until then, the Waldrop's are planning to apply for the Air Force Adoption Expense Reimbursement Program, which reimburses parents using a legal adoption agency up to $2,000 per child.

"We look forward to raising Andrew and seeing him grow up," said Mrs. Waldrop. "We just can't imagine our lives without him. When he's a little bit older, we hope to adopt more children in the future."