‘You have been chosen by a birth mom. She is due in 9 days.’ I was listening with my mouth wide open, staring at my husband. He was wondering what in the world is happening.’

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“I was one of those kids who always dreamed of growing up, getting married, and having children. It was one of the first things I brought up to my husband before we got married. I distinctly remember having a conversation telling him, ‘look I want to have a lot of kids so if you’re ok with that, then you can marry me.’ We also talked about adoption before marriage because we were both exposed to it as children by our families taking in foster children.

So we had conversations before we ever got married that we knew we would foster and or adopt in our future at some point. We wanted to wait a few years before trying to get pregnant so we could fully enjoy our marriage. About 3 years in, we decided it was time to have babies.

Emily Kay Burke Photography

I never thought in the back of my head there would be any issues or delays into our plan. We tried for 6 months with no success and I started getting worried. Of course infertility doctors won’t take any plan of action until you have at least been trying for one year unsuccessfully. One year rolls around and still no baby.

I can’t even begin to describe to you what that year was like. It’s like every month I was mourning the loss of something I never had. Every month it didn’t happen I was completely devastated and honestly it was the hardest few years in our marriage. How could this not be what God’s plan was for me? Especially since I knew I was always meant to be a mother.

At the one year mark we decided to try some fertility treatments. Throughout the course of another 6 months, fertility medications, and a few invasive treatments the doctors said, ‘We have no idea why you aren’t conceiving.’ They told us we had ‘unexplained infertility.’ I think that was the hardest part for me – I just wanted an answer; I wanted a reason.

We took a few months to just quiet our life and pray as to what God had for us next. We were brought back to the desire we had originally to adopt, and we decided to go for it. We chose a local agency in our city. We liked that it was local because our desire was always open adoption. When we began pursuing adoption, I started praying for God to give us a birth mom who would also have the desire for open adoption.

The process of adoption itself is filled with a lot of paperwork in the beginning, and then a lot of waiting. It was 14 months from the time we signed with an agency until we received our baby. In January towards the end of the month we got a call from our agency worker. I remember that call like it was yesterday. ‘Lauren, I’m calling to tell you that you have been chosen by a birth mom. She is due in 9 days and she’s having a baby girl!’ I was listening with my mouth wide open, staring at my husband as he was wondering what in the world is happening.

After getting off the phone, I told my husband the good news, and we began to celebrate. We literally ran to the store that night, bought a few baby girl onesies, wrapped them up, and took them to our families to surprise them with the news.

We got the chance to have dinner with our birth mom before delivery. I’m pretty positive I threw up the entire day before this meeting and the day of the meeting. That’s my go-to emotion when I’m overwhelmed; I throw up. How was I supposed to act to the women who is literally giving me the greatest gift in life? I knew it would be hard to fight my tears out of gratitude. You know what’s crazy? The whole time over dinner I almost forgot why we were there. We were having such a great time and I felt as if this were my friend. I remember telling my husband that exact thing, that I felt like I just had dinner with one of my best friends. She was so kind, her personality was so inviting, and she was hilarious. I’m pretty sure I laughed the whole dinner. Before we left I told her my desire for open adoption and luckily it was her desire too. I knew in my heart this was meant to be.

Our birth mom chose for the baby to be brought to us right after birth. We waited in a room for about 3 hours, and of course I’m throwing up because I realized this is the moment I’m about to become a mother. At 11:12 that morning I see the nurse as she opens up the door, her face so bright with a smile, and she says, ‘Here’s a delivery!’ I leap out of my chair, open my arms and just cry.

Emily Kay Burke Photography
Emily Kay Burke Photography

I remember those first moments when I got to hold her on my chest. All those hard years led to this moment. Here I was standing in my own delivery room, holding my baby on my chest. As I looked down at my sweet baby girl’s face I thought, ‘You were worth it. You were worth it all.’

Emily Kay Burke Photography
Emily Kay Burke Photography
Emily Kay Burke Photography

We left the future of our relationship up to our birth mom. We wanted to be respectful of her heart as well. I can say though I was doubtful that anything further would come. I didn’t think she would actually want to see us again. In my head I had just assumed that birth mothers would have so much trauma from the experience that she would not want to see us again. Even though we had a great dinner and a great time in the hospital, I just thought emotionally she would not be able to do it. Typically you don’t see open adoptions, and a majority of birth mothers want to walk away and never see the child again.

But about a year into baby girl’s life, I got a notification for a friend request on Facebook from our birth mom.

I was so excited I instantly messaged her and we began catching up. It was at that point we began to establish a relationship through Facebook. I sent her tons of photos, told her how sweet Roslyn was, and she thanked me for being her mother. We decided what the future looked like for us. And now, at this point in time, we meet every few months. She will attend birthdays and some holidays, and we are communicating through Facebook.

Courtesy of Lauren Niehoff

Roslyn is very aware of who her birth mother is, and even at her young age we tell her the birth story every night. There is a picture of her birth mother with her that we keep on her dresser. In my mind, open adoption is not a contest or rivalry. We are family. We are one big extended family all coming together to love on one sweet girl.

Courtesy of Lauren Niehoff

My desire is to bring her up in this world with her knowing her identity. I want her to have a worldview of acceptance of her own journey, who she is, and how she came to be. All of us feel that the best way to do this is through open adoption. Since this isn’t a very common thing, I have been very thankful that her birth mother has been open to it.

Courtesy of Lauren Niehoff

Through the hardest season of my life, I had some of the most dreaded memories I can remember. However, I have come to learn this, the very trials that produced those hardships have turned into the best part of me. Sometimes circumstances in your life aren’t what you planned, but end up changing your life for the better. The journey is not always easy, but it’s worth it.

Courtesy of Lauren Niehoff

I knew I was always meant to be a mother, but I never knew how different of a path I would take to get there. Had I not been open to it, I would not have my sweet Roslyn.”

Courtesy of Lauren Niehoff
Courtesy of Lauren Niehoff
Courtesy of Lauren Niehoff

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Lauren Niehoff, 32, of Indiana. You can follow her adoption journey on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d love to hear your story. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

Read another touching adoption story here:

‘I have a 2-month-old little girl. I feel like you’re supposed to be her mom.’ Speechless. I could feel my eyes stinging and hot tears streaming down my face. ‘Are you sure?’

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