THE PARENTS: Sara Lindmont, 41, and Dion Lindmont, 49, of North Wales
THE CHILD: Bodhi Lynn, 1 year, adopted December 31, 2018
HIS NAME: “Bodhi” means enlightenment in Sanskrit, and “Lynn” is the middle name chosen by his birth mother to honor her own mother.
It wasn’t meant to be a test. Really, it was a reflex on Sara’s part, a gesture of her innate curiosity and lifelong fear of missing out. On the couple’s first date, she reached her fork across the table to spear a bite of Dion’s dinner.
Dion didn’t flinch. “I had two nephews and a niece, and they were always trying to see what I had to eat. So it was fine,” she recalls. Good thing, says Sara. “If she’d reacted negatively, that would have been a deal breaker.”
They’d met on Match.com — the third couple in Sara’s family to do so successfully — and quickly discovered a shared matrix of values and allegiances. Dion’s Irish; Sara’s Scottish. Both feel tight bonds with their families, love animals, and cherish experiences over objects.
“Yes, we wanted stable careers, but we really wanted to play and have fun and travel and enjoy life instead of always pushing for money and tangible things,” Sara says.
But the true test came a few months into their relationship, when Dion’s father, a civilian contractor working in Iraq, was gravely injured during an ambush of his truck convoy. He died in January 2003.
“I met her entire family through that process — at the hospital or at the funeral,” Sara recalls. “It sort of jump-started us kind of quickly. I remember saying to a friend, ‘It’s got to get better.’ ”
It did. They adopted an 8-week-old golden retriever, then a second dog. And in October 2006, while in town for AIDS Walk Philly, they made a spontaneous trip to Jeweler’s Row, where, it turns out, a proposal at the ring counter means the proprietor brings out champagne.
“I was in pigtails and workout clothes, sweaty. We’d just walked eight miles,” Sara says. “Next thing I know, we’re driving home from the city and I have an engagement ring on my hand.”
Marriage equality hadn’t yet come to Pennsylvania, but the couple wanted a ceremony to mark their relationship: a 120-person wedding at the Valley Green Inn, with their dogs (and a dog handler), friends, and relatives from both sides. They decided to merge their names, Linderman (Dion) and Montgomery (Sara) to the hybrid Lindmont.
“The family name was really important to us — the ‘team spirit’ element,” Sara says. “Hyphenating didn’t work. We liked the idea of honoring where we came from. My grandfather was concerned that we’d messed up the family tree. I said, ‘We’ve just added more sparkle to it.’ ”
Dion, who according to family lore had been the chief interpreter of her younger brother’s baby talk, did not want to bear a child, but she yearned to raise one. And Sara wanted to experience pregnancy and birth.
They tried for two years, a crushing ride of intrauterine inseminations, appointments with fertility specialists, and, for the final, last-chance cycle, hormones that Sara injected daily into her abdomen.
“We did six tries. It felt like we were gambling,” she says. Then a good friend turned to her one day and said, “Do you want to parent, or do you want to be pregnant?”
They talked with friends who had adopted and with others who were fostering children. What impressed them about the Open Arms Adoption Network was the agency’s commitment to supporting open adoption as the best scenario for children.
“We wanted to have that connection with the birth mother,” Dion says. “We wanted the child to know where he came from. It’s another group of people who will love him.”
“We had a lot of conversations around race, around ethnicity, around drug exposure,” Sara says. We were open to all races and ethnicities. The case worker got us thinking about the demographics of our high school, our social circle: Not just about what we feel, but how our child would feel in his day-to-day environment.”
They’d been waiting for 10 months when they got the call: a 3-day-old boy — biracial, a 4.5-pound preemie — and a birth mother who wanted to talk with them. The women met, along with their social workers, at a diner in Delaware. After some smiles and small talk, the birth mom asked, “How do your families feel about you parenting a child who is not white?”
“They are completely supportive,” Sara said. Then the two described the diversity their family already had: Dion’s sister-in-law is Puerto Rican and her niece and nephew are biracial; her sister’s kids are white and African American. And Sara, whose parents divorced when she was young, was comfortable with the blurred lines and blended-family branchings of step-parents and step-grandparents.
Since they brought Bodhi home, they have met with members of his birth family every three to four months; the families exchanged Christmas gifts. Recently, they asked Bodhi’s birth mother whether she liked pickles, because that’s the only solid food their son seems to relish. “Pickles are the only thing I could stomach when I was pregnant!” she told them.
Having a child has sharpened their lens on the world. “It’s made me more hyper-vigilant,” Dion says, acutely tuned to what’s happening around her, especially when she’s out with Bodhi. Sara says his presence has made them more mindful of how they speak to each other. “We want to be calm. We have this little being who picks up on all of that.”
At one year, Bodhi is climbing and crawling, a far cry from the infant they met in the NICU at St. Francis Hospital. “He was like holding a baby doll, like the size of a sock, so tiny,” Dion recalls. Bodhi was too small for the newborn clothes they’d bought; luckily, nurses supplied two preemie outfits, one of them a onesie whose slogan seemed an apt caption for their entire parenting journey, including the part that is still to come. It read, “Best Road Trip Ever.”