“My 10-year-old daughter and I moved 7,000 miles and half way around the world to adopt the baby we always dreamed of. We left our Daddy back in the USA to provide for us!
Our story begins in the summer of 2004, when I moved to Island of Oahu to study at the University of Hawaii and met the man of my dreams, a Fiji native attending BYU-Hawaii and working at the local Polynesian cultural center. We were married in July 2005 and we began building our dreams together.
Soon after our wedding, we made the decision to start a family. Nearly a year went by, during which time we waited and began to worry, but at my last visit before moving to infertility testing I discovered I was pregnant. Our daughter was born in August 2007.
Shortly after my daughter’s birth, I found several days where I was in extreme drop-you-to-your-knees pain. I was diagnosed with stage IV endometriosis, a disease affecting the uterus that causes severe pelvic pain and often, infertility. According to doctors after my first laparoscopy, the birth of my daughter was more than a ‘miracle’ and the chances of having another biological child was nearly impossible. I left the doctor’s office in a mere panic attack, unable to breathe as I sobbed realizing my dreams of a large family were gone. I had lost ALL hope.
I then endured four more surgeries, including a surgery that ended up with removing my right fallopian tube and ovary after the endometriosis spread throughout my abdomen. As I came out of anesthesia my doctor came in with a very somber look, ‘I am sorry Christine but the endometriosis is much worse than anticipated and we had to remove your right tube and ovary, and your left tube is completely damaged,’ another punch to the gut and my dreams kept getting further away. My chances of conceiving another child were impossible. He then proceeded to tell me if you want to try for more children, you must do in-vitro fertilization, a procedure that costs more than $10,000 for one attempt. I had to take a break from infertility treatments. I could not endure any more ups and downs. I had to stop ‘trying.’ I needed to come to the realization we were not going to have any more children. I thought that would be easy to do, but it was on my mind every single day.
A few years later we had an opportunity present itself to adopt a child. Skeptical and unsure if it was going to work, we began working towards the adoption. The day I met the beautiful little girl I fell so deeply in love with her. I fought hard to get the paperwork done. We had not even been thinking about adoption at the time, and the hurdles of paperwork to complete felt like mountains. It was looking like it would take 6 months or more to complete papers. Each day that went by a pit grew in my stomach — I believe it was my motherly instinct telling me something was wrong. Then after 4 weeks into the process, I received a phone call that birth mom had changed her mind and had decided to keep the baby I believed was meant to be mine. I cried. I felt so lonely. No one could even come close to understanding how I felt. I longed to have this baby, another baby to hold and love. I reached my lowest point. At that time, I decided I couldn’t think, talk or even discuss getting pregnant. It became hidden deep in my mind. I cried as I scrolled through social media seeing all my friends have their 2nd, 3rd and even 4th child. I cried as my sisters had multiple children and I cried when my own daughter began asking why she didn’t have a brother or sister. I cried all the time.
Months and years went by, and my heart just felt empty. I was missing someone in my life. In the summer of 2014, it was time to give IVF a try. The hope this cycle brought us was unimaginable. My daughter, now 7 years old, knew something was going on and we allowed her to be a part of our treatment. I needed her support and prayers as we moved through another difficult trial in our lives. Then it came, pregnancy blood test day. I got up at 6 a.m. in the morning and drove to the hospital so I could be the first one to get my blood drawn when they opened. Modern technology allowed me to look up my results long before my reproductive endocrinologist would be calling me. Sitting on my bed with my husband and daughter, I opened the results. HCG 0.01, it was negative. I came unglued. I ran to the bathroom where I curled up in a ball on the bathroom floor and sobbed. I cried so hard it made me sick and I began dry heaving. Why?! Why was this happening, why did it feel so right to do this cycle and yet it ended up not working? My little girl came and laid next to me on the bathroom floor, put her arm around me, and cried with me: ‘Mommy,’ she says, ‘it’s ok, we will get a baby someday, I just know it.’ I was done! I couldn’t break her sweet heart at that moment, but I could not do this anymore. No more injections, medications, doctors’ appointments. NO MORE trying to grow our family.
Life went on, sadly. I went to work day in and day out and for the most part I put on a smile. Not many knew of our struggles or wants to expand our family. We just suffered silently and all alone. My daughter began making videos, calling out to Ellen or anyone she knew that might be able to help her get a sibling.
In April 2017 we received a phone call from a family member in Fiji asking us if we would be interested in adopting their baby that was expected to be born in November. The phone fell out of my hands as this was completely unexpected and I had moved on from trying for children. I didn’t want heartache anymore, and I didn’t want any more failures. That night I couldn’t sleep. Was this the miracle we had been praying for? I knew if I was going to go for it, I had to give it my all. In late July we found out it was a little girl. I kept in touch with the birth mom over the months and slowly started to feel confident that maybe this would work. August 9, 2017, was my daughter’s 10th birthday. She came downstairs that morning and with big tears in her eyes said she was so sad it was her birthday. I couldn’t imagine what had already happened to make her so upset. I later found out all she wanted for her 10th birthday was a brother or sister, and that morning reality hit her it wasn’t going to happen. Nothing else could make her happy that day, not her new iPhone, backpack or even the surprise visit from her cousins. I knew at that moment I had to go for this baby. That night as we tucked our daughter into bed, we shared with her about the baby and the possible adoption. We told her to be cautious as we had no idea how it would work out but that we would do our very best to make it happen. I will never forget that moment and the look in my daughter’s eyes; it was the look of hope, something we had not seen in a very long time.
On October 31st we got a phone call that baby was scheduled for a C-section as she was a high breech and they felt it necessary to take her the very next day. Butterflies immediately began to turn in my stomach. Birth mom said to me, ‘What do you want to name your baby?’ I was speechless. I honestly had not even thought about that yet. I was thinking about all the other hurdles we needed to overcome before naming her. I knew what I had always wanted to name my little girl, but that was always a want I never expected to be a reality. My husband booked a plane ticket within 5 days and we frantically began gathering baby items for him to take with him. Baby was born healthy. My phone began beeping with text messages and lots of pictures of our precious baby moments after she was born. Kendall was finally here! One look at that little miracle and I knew she was it! She was our missing piece we had prayed for all these years.
Birth mom and I had a long conversation that day. She informed me she wasn’t going to change her mind and Kendall was all mine if I wanted her. I never loved someone so much I had never met.
My husband arrived and spent the next 2 months working on getting our paperwork started. Full custody orders were granted 10 days after she was born but we had big hurdles ahead to bring her home to the USA. In January I decided I wasn’t missing one more day of Kendall’s life. It was decided we would leave our husband/daddy home in the USA to work and provide and I would quit my job and move to take care of our baby in Fiji with our 10-year-old daughter.
January 16, 2018, I was literally sick to my stomach. I was about to meet my little Kendall who was now 10 weeks old. I was dropped at the place we would call home for the next few months. I’ve never felt so many emotions at once in my life. The minutes felt like hours, but then I saw them pulling up in the driveway. I watched from the balcony as he pulled her out of her car seat and walked her up the stairs. I could do nothing but cry as he handed her off to me, and I finally was able to hold my baby. My miracle baby was in my arms. Our daughter stood close by as she too cried and held on to her brand new little sister. A birthday present she had waited for, for many years.
Here we are, Kendall is almost 9 months now. Our adoption is moving forward. We will most likely be in Fiji another 12-18 months. Our Daddy has given the ultimate sacrifice of staying behind and working to provide for our family. Finances are tight, so he has only been able to make trips every few months to visit which is difficult, but it is nothing compared to the years of infertility.
Kendall was our missing piece, she completes our family.
We never know how or when we will get our miracle, but one thing we know is we can never quit hoping for that miracle. To all our friends hoping and wishing for a miracle baby – hold on, they are coming!”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Christine Druava. You can follow her family’s adventures on their Instagram page, @kash4kendall. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.
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