This is the story of how Bailey and Travis came to adoption — at least, from Travis’ point of view.

Bailey and I met in October 1998 while we both were in school. We were drawn together by mutual interests both for our present and for our future. We knew that eventually we would want to build a family, but at the time, completing school was at the forefront of both our minds. Following my graduation from graduate school, Bailey and I married in October 2002 and soon started thinking that we would like to have children. Unfortunately, that was not in the stars for us.

In the meantime we encountered events that brought us to the thought of an international adoption from China. For example, a very close friend of Bailey’s family adopted a beautiful little girl from China. On the other hand, my grad school roommate Yimin was a international relations student from China, who shared with us stories of his homeland, and who eventually brought his wife Cindy to the United States.

But perhaps most fortuitous event, though, occured on a flight to Rapid City. One the plane, we sat next to a woman and her two beautiful daughters, whom she had adopted from China. This mother told us all about her adoptions and how the experience enriched the lives of everyone involved in them.

Following the plane ride, Bailey and I began casually discussing about the possibility of international adoption. Bailey took to the web, looking up information on the internet about the adoption process and different agencies. She did this every few weeks, usually (according to Bailey) whenever the yearn for motherhood was at its strongest.

The day before her birthday in 2004, Bailey was again searching the internet about adoption information and possible local agencies. Ironically, one agency, Holt International, was offering an informational meeting at the local YMCA that very next day, her birthday! She e-mailed the adoption coordinator to gather more information. But, because she didn’t know what I had planned for the day, she didn’t tell me immediately.

After spending the afternoon together on her birthday, I asked Bailey what she wanted to do next. Coyly, she said “Go to an informational adoption meeting?” Needless to say, I was a tad surprised: I was expecting a suggestion like “Let’s get some birthday cake” as opposed to “let’s look for a kid to adopt,” but we had been talking about it, and so we went to the YMCA.

The gathering, a sort of “meet-and-greet” for potential new adoptive parents, included several families who had previously adopted through the agency — along with all their adorable children. (A very good strategy employed by Holt, by the way!) We conversed with the parents, asked questions of the social workers, and played with the little children: giggling girls and bosterous boys from China, Korean, and India. Bailey and I left the meeting invigorated, excited about beginning our family by adopting a baby and bringing her into our home.

That very night, we e-mailed the agency for an application. We were on the road to adoption…