'I was in panic mode:' Adopting during a pandemic looks different but isn't impossible

As the COVID-19 pandemic came to the United States, many people were in a state of confusion.

Many didn't how they would be able to work outside the office.

Others didn't know how they would take care of children when schools were closed.

Now imagine being in the midst of trying to adopt a child.

"I was in panic mode. I was in panic mode trying to figure out what all we could do during the pandemic," Kate Faw told ABC11.

Faw and her husband were awaiting word on adopting their second child.

"So, I guess there was a question about is adoption even a possibility during this time?" she said.

Kate and Adam Faw already have a 3-year-old son named Anthony who they adopted at birth.

Both parents are educators and on the day that schools were shut down, March 13, a little boy whose mother was considering putting him up for adoption was born prematurely at UNC Hospital.

Although the Faws were back in the adoption market, they were unaware of the birth and had no idea they were about to become parents to a second child.

"We hadn't really necessarily grasped the concept of that this could actually happen during the pandemic," Kate Faw said. "I think we kind of thought everything was on hold."

It was during the newborn's first week in the neonatal intensive care unit that his birth mother chose the Faws as his new parents.

"Monday, March 23 we were at the hospital, we were in Chapel Hill," Adam Faw recalled.

But unlike when they adopted Anthony, only one of them was allowed in.

They decided it would be Kate.

She had to follow strict guidelines, things we're all used to now like wearing a mask, thoroughly washing hands, and social distancing.

A week later Jacob was at their Sandhills home.

"A cornerstone of Jacob's story is that we're, the whole country is literally shutting down, and we get a phone call that we have a little boy waiting," Kate Faw said.

And if other prospective parents are waiting until the pandemic is over Adam Faw would tell them not to.

"I would say just to jump right in, absolutely," he said.

The woman who runs the adoption agency that the Faws used doesn't want people to wait either.

She said parents are needed now more than ever since the anticipated pandemic baby boom appears to be happening.

"We usually had about two calls a month that said, 'I just found out I'm pregnant, six, seven weeks.' But then April and May hit, and we had 12," attorney Parker Herring told ABC11.
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