How it All Began...
A New Stop on the Path to Growing Our Family
We knew we wanted to start a family and have children be a part of our lives. When we had some challenges conceiving on our own, we looked into fertility treatments and after a couple rounds of IUI, we were blessed with an amazing baby boy, Issac. He brought us and continues to bring us so much joy. When he was a few months shy of turning two, we began contemplating growing our family further. We decided to try fertility treatments again since we were successful the first time. After three rounds of IUI, we decided we could no longer continue and knew adoption was our first choice. We began looking into local and national agencies and ultimately decided to pursue working with Angel due to their integration with Lutheran Children & Family Services and the high placement rate. When we signed on, we were so excited and truly hopeful. We believed we would be connected quickly and seamlessly with a birthmother.
The Ups and Downs of This Journey
As the months passed, we soon came to know and understand just how unique each and every adoption journey can be. Over the course of our contract, we worked with six different birthmothers. For three of them, we had begun to retain services on their behalf when all of the sudden we just wouldn't hear from them again. We knew this was likely to happen, but we truly didn’t expect it to happen so many times. As we drew closer and closer to our end date, we began accepting that maybe this was not the path we were meant to take and our son was meant to be an only child. We were feeling emotionally done and so scared of having our dreams crushed again. We had a call with staff to review our contract and let them know how frustrated we were feeling. Within a week or two, we received a call we never ever expected to get.
Love Heals All
When we answered the call from Angel, we were hit with a choice to make right away. A birthmother had chosen us, but she had already given birth to a baby girl at just 24 weeks gestation. She only weighed 1 lb. 4 oz., and it was confirmed the baby had been exposed to substances. Her medical prognosis was not good, with doctors saying she had a 20% chance to live. We were so weary of experiencing yet another loss if this child didn’t make it. We were advised to wait and see if her prognosis improved before jumping on a plane to go see her, but not 24 hours later, we were on our way. We always wanted to be able to tell her we came right away. We didn’t know what her condition or prognosis would be, but we were there, ready to love her through whatever happened.
Once we traveled to the birthmother’s state, we were able to meet her and see for ourselves just how much love she had for her child. She was very sweet and let us know her wishes and her commitment to placing her child for adoption. We were then able to meet our baby girl for the first time. This was a beautiful moment but so hard at the same time. She weighed one pound, and she was intubated and unable to breathe on her own. Her skin wasn’t fully formed, and we could see her veins through it. Her eyes were fused shut, and she wasn’t allowed to be around any stimulation.
And yet we instantly believed she was our daughter, and nothing was going to change that. Once we laid eyes on her, we knew there was no way we could leave her side and just go back home and wait until she was discharged. She was our daughter, our beautiful sweet child, and we named her Lucy.
Over the next four months, we traded going back and forth between children. Jackie stayed with Lucy for two weeks, and then we would switch, and she would go home and spend time with Issac. Looking back on it, it seems crazy to think we did that, but the love for your child will move mountains, and we knew love was a big part of her healing and growing. She was set to be discharged just a week shy of her original due date, so we both were there to take her home, and all three of us made the three-day car trip back home to reunite as a family of four.
We arrived back home on Halloween, and seeing Issac meet his baby sister for the first time was nothing short of precious. They have grown so fond of each other, and she looks for him when he isn't around and laughs at all his silly faces. The love they have for each other is so beautiful to witness.
Reflecting Back on Our Adoption Journey
Looking back it is easy to see why we felt so crushed at times and had begun to lose hope in ever having another child. But looking at Lucy today, we feel very differently. Every single thing we went through to get to this point was 100% worth it, and we would do it again in a heartbeat if we knew we would have a successful placement. It’s hard to say if we will pursue adoption again as only time will tell, but we feel very happy and content with our beautiful family of four.
Having gone through a great deal to get to where we are, we know if you are reading this, chances are you might be in the same place we were, longing for a child. Our advice would be to trust yourselves and don’t jump into an opportunity if it doesn’t feel right for you. Also, adding the extra support of a therapist from day one can be truly incredible. Whether you finalize an adoption in 30 days or 30 months, this process is so full of anxiety and emotion that you need to have a place to process that. It’s okay to not be okay every day. You don’t have to be strong for your network. Tell people how hard it is, and be open about the painfulness of the process. Your people love you and want to support you.
Looking to the future, we are so excited to continue to watch Lucy grow and watch her relationship with her brother, Issac, blossom. She is a fighter and a true blessing to our family.