I have always loved children. As a kid, I dreamed of having a big family of my own. My best friend and I had future plans to start our own preschool. And my husband and I spent the early years of our marriage living abroad to teach at a bilingual school and love on orphaned children in institutional care.
Finally, the time came and we were eager to start a family of our own. Now, this is where my story gets poignant. Although at this time I cannot bring myself to describe the details of the initial years in our pursuit of adding children to our family, I can share the emotions: desperation, pain, joy, grief, peace, agony, fear, hope – and everything in between. There were mountain top highs as we discovered pregnancies and rock bottom lows as we suffered great loss. More than three years later my husband and I found ourselves desolate, afraid, alone, broken and childless.
Our dear family and friends loved us so well during this dark time and we will forever be grateful to them. The meals, phone calls, cards, drop-ins all came from such a good place and touched our hearts. But as the world moved forward, seemingly without us, we drew back further into the safety of isolation. We were devastated and left confused about the future of our family.
Adoption had been on my heart since I was a child and my husband, too, felt the same call. As we sat back and watched friends expanding their families biologically and through adoption, we regained strength to press on and fight for our family. We reached out to an acquaintance who had recently adopted and they shared their beautiful story of how their precious son joined their family. They had a good experience with their adoption agency and after researching the many options, we decided to use their recommendation and pursue an open adoption. We reached out to the agency and they quickly responded and invited for a meeting. Slowly, anticipation and excitement again returned as we took steps toward expanding our family. We threw ourselves into the adoption prep work and attended the lengthy in-person training classes, passed the home assessments, participated in interviews, spent hours filling out paperwork and created both a profile page and an in-depth book about our lives.
We were finally “ready” and officially put ourselves out there. This was both exciting and utterly frightening at the same time. We wanted to guard our hearts and shield ourselves from the chance of more pain, but knew we had to let go and open ourselves to the possibility of love and the potential of loss again.
When we shared with others our intentions to adopt a child, they often said, “maybe now you’ll get pregnant!” In response, we would force a smile, remind ourselves that this person meant well with their comment despite how much it hurt, and think “that is not going to happen!” Plus, we had shifted gears, redirected our focus and we were very excited about our new adoption journey.
Not even two months after becoming an official “waiting” adoptive family, one Sunday night my husband encouraged me to take a pregnancy test. I was never able to conceive without intervention and there was no reason to believe I was pregnant. But, I took one. Well, three actually because that’s how many it took for me to actually believe the result: POSITIVE.
Less than 36 hours after the discovery of my pregnancy, I walked out of Bible study and pulled out my cell phone to find three missed calls from the same unknown phone number. The voicemail was from a social worker from our adoption agency. She informed us that a birthmother, due with a baby the following week, wanted to meet with us.
Our world was reeling. We were in shock and disbelief and also incredibly excited. We were cautiously optimistic. Our journey to welcome a child into our marriage had culminated with the potential opportunity to add two children to our family in a short period of time. After all of our struggles, a span of three days had completely changed our circumstances. Our hope was renewed. Our spirit was strengthened. Our ashes had turned to beauty.
Nine months later, our dreams came true. I went into labor on the 4th of July and soon after we welcomed a son into our family.
The birthmother we met with ultimately chose to raise her baby and we have the utmost respect and gratitude for the young woman’s loving desire to make the best choice for her child. Although currently on hold, adoption is still in our hearts and in our plans for the future.
Our social worker informed us that our story is actually quite rare. It’s not often that they see a couple pursue adoption then end up pregnant in the process. It’s not lost on me how incredibly blessed I am to be a mother and my heart is full of gratitude for the many paths to reach this destination.
I share this chapter in my story because I pray it brings hope. On our journey to become parents I was desperate to hear stories of others who had walked a similar path and had come out on the other side. I scoured the internet seeking a glimmer of encouragement, to know I was not alone in our struggles. The stories of others brought comfort yet also sadness as I hated the reality that many couples knew our same pain. And now, I feel its important for me to share a piece of my story in hopes it brings support to someone else. I know not everyone reaches the destination they desire in the manner they want, but in the end, it is a chapter in your story. It helps change you, shape you, find purpose and discover meaning. The book isn’t complete yet so we turn the page and move forward. We all have different paths to motherhood, each of them as unique and special as the children who make us moms.