The last two years have been a wonderful, hard and crazy whirlwind for our family. We made many tough life changing decisions that required us to lean on faith and prayer more than we ever had before. We began having fertility problems, made the decision to grow our family through adoption, I had an emergency surgery and was diagnosed with aggressive stage 5 endometriosis (currently there is only a classification system of stage 1 - stage 4), we adopted Jayden, began an open adoption with his birth family, and I made the life altering decision to have a hysterectomy. So you would think that one more decision at the end of this series of major life events would be manageable given our previous practice, but it was anything but that. With a month and a half left of 2013 just as the dust had settled on our whirl wind year and the finish line of 2013 was in sight we found out that Jayden’s birth mom was expecting again. Now there are two natural reactions that most people we have privately told this news to have had. One is to roll their eyes or talk judgingly about our birth mom and her ability or lack there of to prevent getting pregnant, and the other is to happily and easily assume or say that we of course are or should adopt this baby as-well. Neither reaction is per-say inappropriate but both fail to really understand all that falls in-between both of those extremes.
The fact is that adoption is the only option I have to build my family. It is not a second option in my mind or a lesser option in my heart, but reality is it is now the only option. There is not going to be a “miracle natural child” coming to this family unless I become the next Virgin Mary and I am pretty sure that is not going to happen. And guess what I am fine with that, 100%. Although the hardest thing is to realize that not everyone understands that building my family is ALWAYS going to be difficult, is ALWAYS going to be crazy expensive, is ALWAYS going to be messy, is ALWAYS going to be imperfect, is ALWAYS going to involve other people, is ALWAYS going to come with legal and financial risk, and is ALWAYS going to sound like a crazy and scary thing to do. I say this to both those that think adoption is too crazy and risky and to those that think adoption is easy and a tax write off.
Thankfully I knew full well what I was signing up for entering the adoption world. I was prepared for the fact that we were situationally and racially going to become a minority family overnight, and that most people even those that are closest to us and love us the most were all of the sudden not going to understand our new relationships, our experiences, our feelings about adoption and the people involved, or have a complete understanding about exactly what we had gone through and what it had taken to make adoption happen for our family. My understanding that not many understand is the real reason why I am writing this actually. I write none of this out of hurt feelings or disappointment and anger of things that have been said to us or for need of sympathy. I’m writing this because I am in a unique situation, possibly in even a unique situation among the adoption community and I just want to make clear how my family feels about this, and what conclusions we have come to for ourselves. That way when you see or hear things in the future that I may post you will simple know. So with that out of the way I will head back to the bomb shell news we got in November.
My initial reaction hearing this news at home by myself was that there was no way we could do it. There was no way we could financial align the planets and stars again so quickly to be able to do another adoption. I mean we had just written our last check to our lawyer like a month earlier. If Jayden’s adoption had seemed impossible in the beginning, this adoption for certain felt impossible. I was however more than thankful and honored to have gotten a call about the situation. It does not get much better than having an opportunity to adopt your child's sibling. For the sole fact that you just never consider your children are going to have biological siblings in your family with adoption. Also they would have the same birth mom which makes things nice. Not better, but just nice. It was literally an opportunity to give Jayden what I could never give Jayna, a biological sibling.
So it was a shock. I called Ryan at work told him to sit down and laid it on him. Many may think “well what is the big deal? It is not like you have to do it.”, but for us this was a surprise pregnancy and more than that it was a huge opportunity for our family that we needed to figure out. The gut wrenching part is when you realize you are having a surprise pregnancy that you may not be able to logistically do even if you wanted to. So for the months that followed that day Ryan and I literally did nothing but talk about what we were going to do and if we could do it. It’s not everyday that you are forced into deciding if you would like or should have more children and even if you decide you don't or shouldn’t the baby is still coming and possibly going to be apart of your life in one way or another.
We had to answer the questions; “Is this what we should do?”, “Can we financially do it?”, “Can we physically do it?”, “Can we find a way to do it without the agency?”, “Should we do the adoption in Utah?’, “Should we do the adoption in Mississippi?”, “What does our lawyer think?”, and every other gut checking question you could imagine. It felt like this baby was mine unless I said no. It felt like maybe my children had a way to finally come to my family and they were coming. It felt like maybe there was a couple out there that was more ready than us right now and that this is what they had been praying for just like we had a year earlier. It felt like I was going to be giving up a baby for adoption if we said no. It felt like it was meant to be and an amazing end to so many unfortunate things that kept our family from growing quickly. It felt like too big of a family. It felt like too little of a family. It felt like kids too far apart and too close together. You get the idea. It felt CONFUSING!
We prayed like crazy, counseled with those we trusted, and did what we had done with all the other big decisions we had made that year, we moved forward with faith until we couldn't anymore. After figuring out different options we had and could do both finically and legally and realizing we logically were not going to get to an answer by trying to decipher car-seat configurations and bed arrangements we knew we had to focus on one question and one question only and that was simply “Was this baby suppose to come to our family?” Adoption is weird that way. The second we heard about and saw Jayden we knew he was meant to be with us, even his birth mom will say that. So it gets tricky. You look at biological families and it is easy to say they are suppose to be with each other. Of course they are they are biologically tied to one another. So in this case Jayden’s birth mom already has a child that is hers, that she raises, that she had before Jayden, and I have Jayden. Jayden was meant to be mine. I believe that and feel that everyday, but does that mean every child his birth mom has is meant to be mine as well? It is hard, it is hard to think that we could prayerfully come to the conclusion that his biological sibling is not suppose to be with him or with us, but that is what we came to after a ton of heart ache and painful soul searching.
We felt that all our experiences before had taught us how Heavenly Father communicates with us specifically as a couple and so we were confident in our answer. To be more clear too, I am not sure that there was a right or a wrong answer for us to chose, but we had come to a conclusion with Heavenly Father through prayer that we felt like was accepted and right. We felt honored and blessed that we were in trusted with such a decision and that He was going to stand by us no matter what. This sole decision was the hardest I have ever had to make. It trumped deciding to adopt when I thought there was the possibility of physically being able to still have children. It out devastated me way more than coming to terms with the fact that I needed to have a hysterectomy while also having a 2 month old at home. It was a struggle every minute every hour to get an answer and make a decision.
Our decision has been made for awhile now and since making it we have had some pretty solid confirmations that we are not making a huge mistake. For one my health has once again run into some bumps in the road and I will be having surgery again sometime in the near future. I know exactly what it means to have a baby and have surgery and I really just can not imagine surviving an exact repeat of last year with an additional child and more troubling health than before. I am grateful my health became a definite factor after our decision was already made and we were at peace with it, rather than having it be the biggest reason to not adopt again. I consider it a real blessing it happened that way and can see how that has happened before in my life with decisions.
I’m thankful for adoption, in-fact I love it. It has been one of the greatest things to happen in my life. I love Jayden’s birth mom. She is the reason why I have a beautiful son, and I cherish the fact that as an infertile woman I got to agonize over the tough decision of if my family was suppose to have two children or three children. I cannot wait to see Jayden’s birth mom, birth dad, and biological brother when they come to Utah to place this baby with a loving family at Guardian Angel. I hope we get to spend lots of time with one another and strengthen even more the open adoption that we have. I hope I get to see this sweet little baby girl who I spent many nights and days praying about and pondering over. I hope I get to hold her in my arms just once and have the confirmation that she was the baby that was never meant to be mine and that that’s okay and beautiful in its own way. And I hope I get to tell her new adoptive family that she was meant to be theirs and that they have the most amazing birth mom. If none of that happens it will be okay too, because I have faith that the atonement of Jesus Christ can heal all, and us all. I know that the same Jesus Christ that knows how it feels to be me and struggle with my decisions knows how it feels to be Jayden’s birth mom and struggle with her decisions, and knows how it is to be you and struggle with your decisions. All families are miracles and none are made without the mercy of the One who considers us all His children.
I love talking about adoption ( note I did not say field criticism on my decisions, view points or choices. ) and am always willing to share our story and what I know. Yes, our birth mom will be placing a baby. I know many have friends and family that are currently looking to adopt themselves. This is a great opportunity, but will be facilitated by Guardian Angel adoption in SLC Utah in the next coming months. I will and would do all I can to have this baby placed with a loving family that would hopefully be open to having a relationship with us too. I am not sure how much influence or involvement I will have in this adoption process, and am very respectful of the fact that this is a decision our birth mom needs to and will be making, but I am more than happy to talk to anyone who thinks this may be the right situation for them in one way or another. Thanks for letting me share a little piece of our adoption story.