“If you know me, you know I am a planner. Almost an OCD type planner. This is why I think our adoption journey was so difficult. One of the biggest struggles was knowing I had absolutely zero control over the process. Fact is we really aren’t in control of our lives but we all pretend to be because it’s a lot less scary that way. Even As Christians we often live this; we plan, we scheme, control and of course pray and trust in God. Going through adoption you do lots and lots of praying and trusting.
Infertility hit me like a ton of bricks. I never dreamed it would happen to me. I can’t even control what most women take completely for granted. I don’t have control of growing my family, which I assumed God would give me because I wanted a large family more than anything. At times during our journey having no control had left me feeling hurt, disappointed, crazy, angry. I felt confused, entitled, jealous and bitter.
Some days were much harder than others. I felt very alone and that no one could understand not even Rich. I felt abandoned and my prayers would never be answered, instead everyone around me was getting pregnant and then there was me. In silence of our situation and not wanting to talk about it. God tells us its ok to be honest with what we feel and what I’m believing. We decided to pursue adoption.
While talking to some of my adoption mama friends, I am amazed at some of the comments that were made. I thought it was just a few random comments made to me about adoption. Truth is, it sounds like every adoptive parent gets the same or similar comments. I try to brush it off with the thought of,’they just don’t know much about adoption,’ or ‘they didn’t mean anything by it.’
Just a couple months after we had started the adoption process Rich and I told only a few family members and close friends. Although I was extremely excited about our decision to adopt, I was still working through a lot of pain from our infertility. I remember comments like, ‘As soon as you adopt you will get pregnant it happens all the time’ or ‘Don’t you want your own?’ That comment always makes me feel outraged and want to bust out in tears. I’ll never forget being at a baby shower (which was already very hard for me to do) and talking to someone about how God had a different plan for us and we were working on adopting. I will never forget her looking at me and saying ,’You’re so lucky, you won’t have to get fat’ and walked away laughing.
She had recently given birth and stood there holding her adorable, tiny, perfect baby as the words came out of her mouth. I remember the pain, anger and shock that ran through my body as she said those words to me. I remember the tears on the drive home. I remember the way my heart hurt that night as I cried into my pillow, ‘I’m not lucky, I am cursed.‘ I remember how that comment shook me to my core & brought me back to a place of vulnerability before the Lord. Through that experience, God continued to challenge my faith, meet my needs & bring healing to my heart. In time we came to adopt our first daughter, Lakelyn. But it wasn’t the end of our story.
We actually lost three babies… all through the adoption process. That’s the thing with adoption, it’s a constant roller coaster of emotions. You are either incredibly happy and excited for the next step or you’re super low and don’t want to continue in the process. I wanted to share this with you…not only because it’s a part of our story, but for the mere fact that those babies will forever be prayed for. One baby in particular will forever be a part of my heart.
The first baby we were matched with was matched through a lawyer. Our family was on vacation when we received the phone call and we cried and cried. I can’t imagine what the people around us on the beach were thinking of us that day. I won’t go into too much detail about this sweet baby but I will share that the birth mom chose a different family right before the baby was born. It was painful. BUT we know this IS where this baby belongs. As much as I wanted another baby, I had to lean not my understanding but his (God’s). Looking back from where we sit now, it makes perfect sense.
The story surrounding our match with the second baby was very difficult. The birth mom was younger and asked Rich and I for a large amount of money. After our attorney explained to us that what she had done was illegal and shared what we could do for her she sent me a horrific email and told us she was keeping the baby after all. This was so hard for us because she had explained throughout her entire pregnancy why she had no desire to keep the baby. A few months later, the Department of Child Services called and asked if we had been in contact with her…because she had abandoned the baby. They were looking for her hoping we had spoken to her (we hadn’t). It was so difficult knowing that it cold have all been avoided, that sweet baby had been through so much.
The third baby is what sent me over the absolute edge. This birth mom and dad had already signed papers stating that we would be the parents of this baby. We had the hospital room papers filled out for our stay. The birth mom had given us all of her ultrasound pictures and in my heart, I knew this was my son. Our hearts were ready for him. But in the state of Tennessee the papers don’t really matter until the baby is born (although, they’re a huge step in the right direction).
With adoption I knew what could happen. I knew that at any moment the birth mom could change her mind even though all of the steps in the right direction had taken place. I even went as far as asking my sister to do a reveal party.
As an adoptive mom, you don’t get to do all the ‘mom things’ that happen during pregnancy. I don’t get to find out the gender of my baby at the doctor’s office, have the gender reveal parties, or tell my family the big news. I just wanted for one night to be ‘that mom.’ I knew the risk going into it. I also knew that after all the heartbreak, if something did happen, we were finished. I wanted to make the best and most out of every single opportunity I had with this baby. So with just family and very close friends, I had THE BEST gender reveal party!
It’s a boy.
The next phone call had me on my knees. We found out that she had delivered and decided to keep the baby. I literally couldn’t breathe. My heart felt like it had stopped. It was a pain I can hardly describe, even now. As the days passed, we began taking the car seat out of the car and unpacking his things (which wasn’t a lot–being an adoptive mom, you know not to purchase everything for the child until they are truly HOME). And everyone you know just looks at you with sad eyes. Even still, right now I’m crying. I’m not mad at that birth mom, I’m heartbroken. There is a huge, huge difference. There was never any anger in my heart towards her…just the pain of feeling like someone had taken my son straight from my arms.
We then tried for Trice. Another son. At 5:00 p.m. we received an email that the birth mom couldn’t decide and was taking all 19 applicants home and that we should expect to hear something tomorrow. I felt my heart breaking again. Except this time, I wasn’t just praying for myself and my husband and that birth mom. There were 19 other families on this email. We had been through this heartbreak (not that it made it any easier). But I vividly remember sitting there reading the email in tears for every one of us waiting; how real the pain felt and thinking about this sweet eight-day-old baby boy was who was about to be so loved by one of us families anxiously waiting for a ‘yes.’
That ‘yes’ came that night, not the next day. At 9 p.m. both of our phones went off at the exact same time as we were cleaning up the house from a surprise party, house full. The text read ‘this is ___ you have been chosen for the baby boy. How fast can you get to Jacksonville.’ I ran to the bedroom and completely lost it.
Last night, when I rocked my adopted daughter Lakelyn Ann to sleep with Trice and my youngest Harper in the other rooms the words ‘lucky me’ echoed through my mind and heart. My eyes filled with tears as I held my adorable, incredibly perfect daughter and thanked God for His plan for our family. It’s amazing how He took the most painful news of my life, & brought from it the most beautiful blessing of my life. Lucky me.”
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