Dear Prospective Parents,
As I take a deep breath, and try to put words on paper about our story of adoption, I wonder if I can do it justice. Our story begins like many others. We had dreams and aspirations when we first got married. Jim and I got married in 2005, and because we are an older couple we started to work on getting pregnant right away. Six months traveled by at the speed of light. We told ourselves “we will not be fanatics about it, it is not like I am going to start taking my temperature every morning.” Right! After 6 months of trying and not succeeding I started taking my temperature every morning to try and pin down exactly when I was ovulating. Just before our first anniversary we tried invitro-fertilization. The doctors implanted 2 eggs and two weeks later we learned our fate…it was unsuccessful. We were ill prepared for how devastating that was going to be. I was depressed for months. I did not want to try to get pregnant for a long time, but deep down I wanted God to reward me for giving my life over to Him and by “rewarding” I meant getting pregnant. Because of the stress of the unsuccessful invitro, Jim and I had a rough time in our marriage. This is not uncommon among infertile couples. We ended up being so frustrated that we started taking out the frustration on each other. Your spouse becomes your personal punching bag for the lack of control you feel. Yes, we all know that God is in control, but I believe that many women of infertile couples ask God “why did you make me a woman who desires to be a mother if you are not going to grant me that joy?”
Jim and I continued to let month after month go by while silently hoping that we would become pregnant but we didn’t want to talk to each other about it. It was our elephant in the room. Every “time of the month” would come and I would experience great heartache. So many nights I spent crying into my pillow. After a year passed we started to dialogue about children. We spoke with our infertility specialists and agreed that we would do an IUI (inter-uterine insemination). This is a procedure that is, compared to IVF, a breeze. We went on to complete and fail four IUI procedures. Again, I would ask God “Why?”
In April of 2008 I ran into a woman whom I have known since I was a child. I do not specifically keep in touch with her; however, we see each other maybe once a year at someone’s gathering. She and I were talking and she said to me “you have really been on my heart lately, I was wondering if I could pray with you?” Now, if someone wants to pray with me I am down with that and frankly, can’t wait. She called the prayer a soaking prayer. I told her about everything that was happening in my marriage and also our failed attempts at trying to conceive a child. We then prayed and she felt the Holy Spirit tell her that Jim and I were to stop using science to have a child and that the Lord was almost chuckling at our feeble attempts. She said that I was to trust Him that it was to happen all in His timing. As if I haven’t heard that before? However, I left that soaking prayer refreshed in His Spirit. After that meeting we stopped all “trying” including all fertility specialists help.
God has such a sense of humor sometimes. He had me in His hand the whole time. When I let go and let God, EVERYTHING started to fall into place! The very next month my mom was informed of this awesome adoption agency right in her hometown of Wichita Falls. Jim and I had been talking about the possibility of adoption for a year. Although, when we first began talking about it, we had the feeling “adoption was not really us and we will most likely get pregnant…” But as the days turned into months and months turned into years, it became more and more evident that adoption was our answer to becoming parents. It was coming to fruition. I then went to the website of Inheritance Adoptions and downloaded the application. The application is 35 pages long and it took me 6 weeks to fill it out. In July of 2008 we made our first trip to Texas to meet with the agency.
We were in a meeting with two other couples. Someone once said to me, “Infertility is like a special club. Unless your infertile, you can’t grasp the feeling of desperation. The heartache can not be compared. The endless questions to your Father. Other people may empathize but that is as far as it goes.” So when we were in our meeting with these two other couples, their stories were the same. Their tears were tears we had shed, and more that we shed together.
We spent the day much like an orientation. We all briefly got to know one another, we were schooled on the agency, we met birth mothers, and adoptive couples who shared their experiences respectfully. We left with so much more information and it was really wonderful to be encouraged in the direction of adoption. We learned that Inheritance is a ministry and doing God’s work and we were humbled and glad to be a part of that. We were instructed that if we wanted to continue on then there were steps we needed to take.
When we arrived back in Florida, we just continued on with our lives. We created our profile book and sent it to the agency. We were informed that it could take anywhere from 6 months to a year to have a placement. For the first time in a long time Jim and I felt freedom. Freedom of resting in God’s arms, feeling that we were in sync with His divine plan for us. We did not “wait by the phone”, we did not purchase things for a nursery, we did not worry and fret about when the Lord was going to bring us our child through adoption. It was wonderful to just be still and know that He is God and if adoption was how He was choosing for us to be parents, we would patiently wait.
In November of 2008 Leslie called me in the middle of me cooking dinner. Honestly, I had not plugged the agency’s number into my phone so when she said “Hi, it’s Leslie” it took me about 10 seconds to figure out who she was. “OH YES, of course, Leslie!” Fortunately, she was actually happy I didn’t remember right away. She told me of a young girl who was interested in meeting us. We then went on to set up a phone interview. The phone interview made both my husband and I nervous and our birthmom was nervous as well. We enjoyed the phone interview and then went on to set a time to fly to Texas to meet with the young girl. In an already overbooked and busy December, we were able to squeeze in a weekend trip to Texas. It was one of the most important trips of our lives.
Facilitated by the agency, we went with Misty and met our birthmom and her extended family for what was their Christmas gathering. She was a doll! Her parents and family were overwhelmingly gracious to us. We were relieved and elated that she had chosen us to be the parents of her baby. Her precious baby was coming very soon…the very next month. Almost in disbelief, but quite giddy at the wonderful news that we were going to parents to a new baby in January, we traveled back to Florida in a complete blur. Jim and I could not stop buzzing about our new addition to our family.
We spent the next 3 weeks celebrating the birth of our King, New Year’s, and the fact that a new baby was on its way into our family. Our birthmom’s name was Julie. She gave me her cell phone number and we fast became texting buddies. We chatted everyday about anything and everything. It was evident that we were going to love her, not solely on the fact that she was going to be the birthmom to our baby, but love her for who she is as a person. She is a good girl, who has a heart for God; is respectful and mindful of other people’s feelings…we just adored her!
January 22, 2009 was the due date of our child to be born. Julie and I lovingly refer to the baby as “ours,” because she is. Our baby was born on her due date. Julie graciously allowed me to be in the delivery room, cut the baby’s cord, and be the first person to hold our baby. I was honored to watch Julie labor over the birth of our child. She was so strong and so sweet. No yelling at people like you see in the movies. She was nothing short of awesome. When we went to the nursery with our baby, we looked outside the windows and so many of Julie’s family were there looking in, smiling, laughing, crying and taking pictures—I felt like they were the paparazzi! We soon named our baby Reese and she was PRECIOUS from the moment she was born. We are SO IN LOVE with her. Tying it all together, was that Reese was born in January which means she was conceived in April, the exact month I had that soaking prayer with my friend.
Julie allowed us the wonderful experience of keeping the baby in our room at the hospital. Reese has been in our arms from the moment she was born, thanks to our birthmom Julie. Julie texted me the night Reese was born to find out room we were staying in. I answered her back stating our room number and that we would see her first thing in the morning. I also told her that I was so proud of her. She worked so hard and did such a fantastic job delivering our baby. She texted me back saying, “Thank you but I did it all for you.” I was so touched by her heartfelt words.
The next few days in the hospital were wonderful. I didn’t really know what I was doing with our newborn, so the nurses and the doctor were great at giving me tips and assuring me that everything I was doing and witnessing with this great, little but big miracle in my arms was normal. Julie and I frequently visited each other’s hospital rooms like girls at summer camp. I carted the baby down to see her in her room and she came to see me in mine. Julie was surrounded by her family. They played a key part in supporting Julie in her adoption decision. She was only 15 years old when she gave birth to Reese. She was mature enough to know that she was too young to care properly for a child at the time. She made the best decision for her, and in doing so she made the best decision for us, as well. We had prayed and prayed to be parents to a child. God answered our prayers by giving us our child who was born of another woman.
We had to stay in the hospital with baby Reese longer than Julie. The doctor wanted to keep an eye on Reese. Julie gave birth on Thursday and left on Saturday. We did not leave until Sunday when Reese was cleared with a clean bill of health. I must tell you that I experienced great grief when Julie left that day. She left with her family, all 18 of them, I swear…and I just could not stop crying. Julie had given me the greatest gift and then …she left. It was a weird experience. I had a daughter now. I could not conceive a child but now thanks to this young girl, I had one. Julie had no idea the wonder of what she had done for me. I could not conceive and carry my own child, and yet this incredibly brave young girl gave birth for me. It was an unbelievably humbling experience.
I spoke with Leslie that night who assured me that the depression I felt was normal. I will be forever connected to this young woman who gave birth to my child. I then waited by my phone. I waited until Julie would text me. I felt like she was my boyfriend. I couldn’t wait to hear from her everyday and would get quite giddy when I did hear from her. I spent two weeks in Texas at my mom’s house with our newborn baby. Julie came by to visit and even stayed over night once. We took turns holding the baby, taking a million pictures of the baby, even watched a few movies.
We continue to keep in touch even now 6 months later but it is not as often. She is free to call, text, or email anytime. I will gladly send her pictures via cell phone anytime she asks and even send cute pictures of our baby even when she doesn’t ask…how could I not share this precious cuteness?
For Mother’s Day we sent her flowers and we got a sweet card from her. I pray that God is watching over Julie and that she makes it into the military to become a nurse once she graduates high school. My prayers for her mirror my prayers for our daughter. That God would be the center in her life, that she may dream big, marry a Godly man, and have as many children as God desires for her.
I hope this letter gives all waiting Moms and Dads encouragement in the adoption process. God has chosen us to be special parents. God decides the heartbeat of a child. He has picked another birthmom to house that heartbeat, until the child is born. He then chooses you to be their forever parents. A perfect privilege. Now ask yourselves, “How AWESOME is that?”
Love in Christ,
Elizabeth and Jim