Two biological children and then adopt our third child:
that was our plan — but Someone, somewhere had another idea…
Nathan and I were married in 2004 and decided three years later, it was time to start our family. I guess we never realized that you don’t always get pregnant the month you start trying. So we waited… Nathan finished his military enlistment… and waited… we moved to beautiful, Sarasota, Florida… and waited… my mother-in-law was diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer and given three months to live… and waited. After a year and a half of trying, in September 2008, we decided it was time to talk to a specialist about what might be happening. We each made appointments with our doctors and two weeks later, we received a phone call that would change our lives.
Rewind a few months to February 2008. I received a surprising phone call from my mom to let me know my cousin just found out he’s a dad to a two-week-old baby boy. He was a college student at the time and his ex-girlfriend did not tell a soul she was pregnant. She drove herself to the hospital, gave birth to a healthy baby boy, and told the hospital social worker that she wanted to place him in an adoptive home. Upon calling her shocked family to pick her up from the hospital, they convinced her to keep the baby. What’s the baby’s name? He did not have one yet. What are they going to do? Figure it out. Are they still considering adoption? We told a family member that if they were considering adoption, we’d be happy to talk to them about it. We bought the baby boy a baby gift, admired pictures, and went about our lives.
That tearful phone call in September was from my cousin. He said, “I’m not ready to be a Dad, are you ready to be a Mom?” I collapsed on the stairs of our home in bittersweet tears, Nathan came over to figure out what was going on, and we said yes.
In November 2008, we became parents to Jason Christopher.
We went into this not knowing much about adoption, let alone a relative placement or open adoption. We made some mistakes and learned quickly. Relationships in my extended family became strained – adopted grandma, biological grandma, aunts, uncles, birthparents, adoptive parents. We didn’t quite know how to navigate openness with birthmom and her family – they were strangers to us who gave us a gift that we could never give ourselves – a child.
It didn’t take long for us to realize everything we did from that point on has to be in Jason’s best interest. Jason deserves to have the most people in his life who love him. He was given more love than anyone can hope for: six Grandmas and every gift he could imagine that Christmas! The relationship with birthmom that was legally defined to be pictures four times a year, turned into facebook friends, frequent texts/pictures, visits with her and her extended family, and many e-mails. Our family did not just grow by one that year.
As I mentioned earlier, my mother-in-law, Lorely was diagnosed with a late stage, deadly cancer a month before we learned about our little guy. She had no grandchildren and was given three months to live. Lorely lived to meet her grandson for the first time in December of that year, four months after her diagnosis. We celebrated his first Christmas at Grandma Lorely’s house. She saw him turn one; we spent the summer together; we celebrated Jason’s 2nd Christmas and 2nd Birthday together. Lorely lived for her grandson – she knew God had a plan. She laughed, rolled on the floor, sang with, read to, and instilled love in her grandson. Two years and eleven months after her original diagnosis, Lorely visited our home for the last time. We traveled back to Oregon together, enjoyed 4th of July fireworks, threw her a Princess Birthday Party on July 7th, and said goodbye three days later. When Jason came to the hospital to talk to Grandma for the last time, he said, “Grandma’s sad. Jason makes Grandma happy,” to which she replied, “Yes, Jason makes Grandma happy.” Jason wasn’t just a miracle to our little family, he was his Grandma’s miracle.
A couple of years after Jason joined our family, Nathan and I made the decision to try to get pregnant by any means possible. Months of medications, IUIs, and two cycles of IVF/ICSI, we learned our lesson again: we have no control of our plan, we are meant to be adoptive parents. We are pretty darn good at it after all.
It’s different this time; we have to be patient and wait. After looking at all adoption options, we chose a domestic adoption agency that only works with open adoptions. Our homestudy is almost complete and we can’t wait to be chosen, can’t wait to look into the eyes of a new little one who was meant to be our son/daughter, and can’t wait to expand our family again – not just by one, but by many.
(** Do you have an inspiring adoption story of your own to share? If so, please contact me!!)