From the time I was a little girl the number one goal in my life was to have a family. As a kid that translated into playing dolls with my sisters for hours each day. As I got older, I began babysitting a few nights a week and ultimately decided to go into teaching. Kids were always a part of my life and I couldn’t wait to have my own and be a mom.
My husband and I got married in 2009 and, after about a year and a half of marriage, decided we were ready to try for children. I had a feeling it might not be very easy for me to get pregnant since my periods had always been irregular. After a few months of trying on our own with no luck, I went to see my OBGYN who diagnosed me with PCOS and put me on Clomid to help with ovulation. Tests showed that the Clomid was causing me to ovulate; however, I also experienced ruptures of my ovarian cysts which sent me to the ER and caused agonizing pain. At this point, my doctor referred me to a nurse practitioner who helps women get pregnant. She was amazing! Her “office” was more like a house with fresh cookies baking in the oven when we went for our first meeting. Immediately, my husband and I both felt a sense of peace because we felt that we could leave everything in her hands and she would make it happen. We decided to try an IUI, but before doing so, she had to run some blood tests to make sure all my levels were normal. Unfortunately, my liver enzymes tested extremely high so she did not feel safe doing an IUI before I saw a hepatologist. This was very upsetting to both my husband and I as we had felt so confident and optimistic after meeting with her.
I made an appointment with a hepatologist and, just after seeing my initial blood results, he advised us to wait on trying to conceive until they could determine if it was safe for me to be pregnant. This was another huge blow as we were so ready to begin our family at this point and felt so let down after this news. In my heart, I knew it was our time to start a family. The liver examinations and tests could go on for a long time, and may even determine I could not be pregnant. At this time I was ready to move forward with adoption. I had broached the topic with my husband early in our process since, for me, I just knew I wanted to be a mom and didn’t care whether it was through a biological birth or adoption. He was not quite ready at that time and thought we should continue with the doctors and nurses. His mind changed, however, after seeing the hepatologist. He realized that, like me, he wanted to be a parent first and foremost.
We began looking into adoption and both agreed that we wanted to do a domestic infant adoption. We looked into a few different agencies and talked with people we knew who had adopted before choosing an agency that felt right for both of us. Once signing with them we began the paperwork and home study process. We found our way through the paperwork fairly quickly and were active and ready to be matched by April of 2012. On May 3rd, just a couple weeks after going active, we got a text that a baby boy had been born that day and the birth mother wanted to look at adoption profiles the following day. We agreed that this was a situation we were open to. The birth mother looked at profiles the next day and chose ours!
About a week later we met with her at the adoption agency and things went great! Through our nerves, we learned so much about her and her story. We shook hands on the way in and hugged on the way out. She signed the papers after we left. This was great news; however, due to some paternity issues, the baby had to remain in interim care for about 6 weeks. During that time we got to visit him about every other day. It was the six most stressful weeks of our entire lives, not knowing whether this baby that we had fallen in love with would become our son. Luckily, things worked in our favor and we brought our son, Nolan, home on June 12th.
We have a very open adoption with his birth mother and see her about every other month since she lives in the same city as us. We started out with meeting at local restaurants, but as Nolan got older and more mobile, she began coming to our house for visits. Nolan now has a biological half-sister that he gets to see and play with when we visit as well. He’s also spoken to his birth-grandma on the phone. I couldn’t ask for a better relationship with Nolan’s birth mom and am so happy that he will have a connection to this part of his life.
Ryan and I knew we weren’t finished with our family though. Even though my hepatologist cleared me to get pregnant (although it would be considered high-risk from the start), Ryan and I both felt that we would like to proceed with another adoption. We had such a positive experience the first time around and also felt that it would be nice for both of our children to have a shared experience of adoption. Around this time, I was introduced to IAS through a friend of a friend and began attending the monthly meetings. It was so helpful for me to hear from others who had similar experiences and to have people to go to with questions during the process of our second adoption, especially since it was so different from our first.
In the fall of 2014 we went active with the same agency and were blessed with a baby girl, Caroline, in June of 2015. Her adoption was very different from Nolan’s as we were matched with her birth mom in April. We got the chance to visit with her a couple times before Caroline was born and were so happy to be able to be in the delivery room when she was born. Ryan even got to cut the cord! During that time in the hospital, we spent all day, every day in her birth mom’s room getting to know her. We were even able to stay at the hospital in our own room the second night. Caroline spent each night in the room with her birth mother and I am so grateful they got to have that one on one time with each other. Leaving the hospital with my baby girl was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I can’t imagine what her birth mother was going through at that time. Both of our children’s birth mothers are some of the strongest women I know and have impacted our lives more than anyone else. There is no way to express our gratitude to them that is enough.
We have a different relationship with Caroline’s birth mom than with Nolan’s. While we haven’t met up in person since the hospital, we continue to communicate through email. I send her photos and videos about every other month and look forward to hearing her comments on the similarities Caroline shares with her birth mom and birth siblings.
We are so happy to be a family of four now! While we aren’t pursuing another adoption in the near future, we have discussed adopting an older child when our kids are a bit older so the door is always open. Adoption has changed our lives for the better and I can’t imagine it any other way!