Infertility + Adoption Journey

In their hearts humans plan their course but the Lord establishes their steps.
— Proverbs 16:9

We had a five year plan that we were trying to engineer – we were engineering our lives the way we were trained to engineer as our career.  That was our first mistake.  We had no idea what we would encounter along the way and had a false presumption that when you got ready to have a baby, you just made that decision and got pregnant.  We never imagined that not only I would be unable to conceive, but so would Asia. After a couple of years of trying and testing, we were faced with the harsh reality that we would be unable to have biological children, and no amount of surgeries or procedures could help us with any certainty.  Even though it wasn’t what we wanted to hear at the time, we realized God placed us together for yet another reason besides the obvious – we were meant for more and meant to do more.  You see, with us both having infertility we never had to feel guilt associated with not being able to provide a biological child for the other one.  Immediately Asia knew he was willing to pursue adoption and wanted to move forward, while I hesitated.  For me as a woman it was extremely painful and difficult to come to terms with the fact that I would never know what it’s like to carry a child – to have the dreaded morning sickness, to feel a baby kick and move in the womb, to be uncomfortable, or even to feel the pain of childbirth.  I was completely empty and the pain I felt while so many around me were having children made me lost. And while I knew I wanted to adopt at some point, I had to deal with this grief – the loss of my ability to bear a child – before I could move forward.

In October 2010, Asia and I made the decision to pursue adoption.  This decision - the greatest decision of our lives - has led us to now being the parents of a happy, healthy, energetic, and hilarious boy.  E has blessed our lives in ways we could not even imagine. 

This is our journey to becoming his parents and our testimony of God’s faithfulness when we obey His commands. 

When we started to feel the timing was right to begin a family, we began getting more involved and settled into a home church, one that was very centered on missions (something near and dear to my heart).  Every year a mission trip to Honduras was made and I mentioned to Asia that I was interested in going.  He, however, did not feel that same tug in his heart but being the supportive husband he is told me if I wanted to go that he would go with me.  Well, we began to try for a baby and I hesitated each time this trip came up, even though I really felt God leading me there for some reason.  Year after year rolled around and I let my fears of going to a third world country override my call from God.  Keep in mind this whole time we are trying to get pregnant and are trying to find answers as to why we are not there yet. 

This is where our news of infertility and my call for Honduras crossed as an intersection - I was literally at a crossroad in my life and had no idea at the time just how perfect God’s timing of it all was.

It was in September of the same year that we began to pursue adoption that I couldn’t deny the tug in my heart any longer to go on the mission trip to Honduras.  And I believe with all my heart that it was THE trip I was meant to go on – it brought a healing to my heart that I desperately needed and also was the obedience that God was seeking from me.  Again, Asia did not feel led to go on this trip but did feel led to go with his wife to support me and, in a sense to protect me.  I know at this point my dad was most proud to have someone now looking after his little girl the way he always had.  The devil worked hard to try to make me doubt going – the cost, the unknowns, and some admitted fear.  I pressed forward.  I vividly remember the afternoon Asia and I got word of our “impossible family” from specialists in Birmingham. We both cried and tried to logically talk through this the way two good engineers would and had so many times before.  Like I said earlier, it was a no brainer to Asia – we can adopt.  As open to it as I was, I was shattered to pieces.  It was at this point that we had already talked about our commitment to go to Honduras the following February.  After exhausting myself crying and talking, I got in the shower which is where I typically have my deepest conversations with God.  I remember collapsing to my knees and questioning God as to why it had to be this way – we had done everything “right!”  I was trembling and felt so empty.  As the hot water ran over me and after a few minutes, God clearly and audibly spoke these words to me – “you will find your answer there.”  Over and over those words repeated themselves.  As I questioned what that meant I got nothing else – just those six words.  I had no idea what God meant – did he mean we would adopt a child from Honduras? What could this mean? I was baffled and couldn’t speak a word of it, not even to Asia.  This was between me and God.

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and mighty things you do not know.
— Jeremiah 33:3

So along came October and I felt more peaceful and ready to move forward after a month of agonizing.  I decided it was time to get out of my self pity and do something about it.  In December, we met with the first of three adoption attorneys.  And for a Christmas gift to our parents we told them all of our news to adopt.  Well it just so happens (yeah right – we all know God had this planned from before the time Asia and I even met!) that Asia’s mom worked with the Probate Office and had so many connections after doing adoption placements all these years.  She immediately made calls and we were talking with two more attorneys before we knew it. 

After initial meetings with attorneys, life got back to a somewhat normal state and February 2011 arrived and we left for a 10 day mission trip to Honduras.  Yes – the timing was perfect as God’s timing always is.  I completely mended my broken heart there, and that friends is how I found my answer there as God said I would.  But oh it had so much greater meaning later!

After getting back from our trip, Asia and I were renewed and had a new sense of purpose, and were ready to move forward with our legalities – we had to complete tons of paperwork, have background checks ran, have a home study completed, and a profile book for expectant moms to choose us from.  All of this took a couple of months.  May rolled around and everything was ready.  Ok now what?? WAIT…that’s all we could do...wait and pray that God would send not only an expectant mom to us, but one that HE chose specifically for us.  We were prepared to wait at least a year, maybe two, or even longer.  We had no idea what was ahead or what to expect.

We received a couple of calls from one attorney only a week after completing our profile book, but we knew God had another family for that sweet baby.  We sought God for guidance and He guided us away.  And as heartbreaking as it was to turn away a baby we knew God had the perfect child for us and would let us know when it was right – no matter how long it took. 

THE Call

Six weeks went by and the 4th of July rolled around.  We went to visit family and friends for the holiday.  We had a great time – just not thinking about all that had transpired and being “us” for the first time in a while.  We left the beach relaxed and refreshed on July 5, 2011 and returned home.  We made a run to Publix to pick up a few items when we got home since we had nothing in the house to eat.  As always, I was walking way ahead of Asia and he was draped over the buggy handle slowly putting along behind me and secretly saying he wished I would hurry up – the typical couple in a grocery store!  This time I noticed I got way ahead of him, turned around to give him “the look” and noticed he was on the phone.  He had this deer in the headlights look about him and had stopped dead in his tracks.  I just figured it was work, yet again, interfering with a perfectly good holiday weekend.  But this look was different – and if you know Asia you know he has a very serious look about him all the time – well, this time he was grinning possibly bigger than I’ve ever seen him grin.  Ok, so it’s not work on the phone!  My heart dropped – could this be IT?  Is this one of our attorneys calling?  Have we been chosen?  Asia was writing something down after all so it must be important – and he’s smiling!  I raced back to the buggy and read his notes he was taking with our attorney, Jim, on the other end.  The notes read “Chloe, 18, due Sept. 30, found out April 15…..” and more descriptors that I don’t want to publicize to respect her privacy.  Jim wanted us to think about it and so we did – like 5 seconds – THIS WAS IT!!! God gave us an immediate peace. And yet more signs of God's perfection– the baby would have been conceived the very month we began the adoption process and April 15 happens to be Asia’s birthday.

Meet Your Birthmom

Jim, our attorney, and possibly one of the most Godly men I’ve ever met, set up a time for us to meet with Chloe the following week.  We wanted her to meet us and to be sure she liked us as much in person as she did on paper.  The drive there was possibly the longest drive of our lives.  And we were both trembling with nervousness.  I knew Chloe had to be nervous too and we prayed for her before we went into meet with Jim.  And what a relief – Jim prayed with us too! He told us he would be in the other room and if there were any long pauses of awkward silence he would be right in.  Well he didn’t have to step in – there wasn’t a period of silence between us and when I saw Chloe and how beautiful, mature, and poised she was, we immediately had a connection.  We talked about a lot of things, Jim prayed with us all, we exchanged hugs and phone numbers, and we left as the chosen parents of the baby she had in her womb.  We cried tears of joy all the way back on that 3 hour drive.  It seemed like a dream!  

This young, brave, and most selfless woman wanted ME to raise her child – her son - the most precious gift anyone has ever given me.

One week later Chloe asked me to go with her to her doctor’s appointment.  The nurse asked if we were sisters.  We both laughed a little and Chloe, without hesitation, told her who I was.  I fought back tears.  Chloe had a carefree spirit, yet was the most mature and independent young woman I had ever met.  I was honored to have thought to have been her sister.  Chloe asked the doctor if she would please do an ultrasound since I was with her – my heart jumped – I was about to see our baby boy for the first time.  Chloe smiled as I fought back tears and smiled with her as Ethan Nash held up a hand as if to wave to us both from her womb.  It was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen.

The next week Chloe and I talked more and more and she asked me to go with her to the child birth class.  This was late July – and she was due September 30.  We went to this awkward class where I think they freaked us both out with all to expect and I joked with God saying how glad I was He chose me for adoption! I loved that day because we got to bond even more – she as E’s birth mom and me as his soon to be mommy.  Wow – who really gets this experience without being pregnant?  It was then that I started to realize just how intricately God planned all of this and how eternally blessed and grateful I would be for this moment.  But oh I had so much more to come!

It’s Time

The following Monday was August 8, 2011.  I woke up to go to work as usual and realized I had accidentally left my phone on silent all night.  Why of all nights did I do that?  My heart raced as I frantically listened to the voicemails and read the texts from Chloe’s boyfriend at the time (I don’t want to confuse him with E’s birth father).  He was trying to reach me to let me know that Chloe was in labor – prematurely – she was only 32 weeks.  I fell to my knees and prayed – why would God do this to me? I was terrified that something was wrong with our E and that God would take him before we ever held him.  Asia and I rushed to pack some bags and called our parents and we drove (I won’t say how fast!) to Pensacola’s Sacred Heart Hospital.  I was so worried about our baby boy and about Chloe.  She meant so much to me as well - she was my new family.  On the drive there I remembered what happened just a couple of nights prior to that.  I cannot say with certainty if I was dreaming or if I actually experienced this, and it is one of those things that you hesitate voicing out loud for fearing that no one will believe you.  In the middle of the night, standing beside my bed, was a white figure – solid white and almost glowing in brilliance.  It had no face but by the outline I could see it had on a long robe or gown.  It reached out to me and in a man’s voice said “don’t be afraid.” It then faded away into the corner of the room.  Now I don’t believe in ghosts but I do believe in God.  And on that hurried drive to Pensacola, I told Asia what had happened.  We both knew what it was – it was God speaking to me and preparing us for this moment whether through a dream or actual event.  It didn’t matter – it was God and we had a peace rush over us and knew it was all going to be ok.

And so it was – we arrived in Chloe’s room and the doctor’s said that both E and Chloe were healthy.  He would be around 5lbs which was a great weight for his gestational period.  We waited and paced all day….

Chloe wanted me to stay in the room with her, and so she not only gave me the greatest gift of motherhood, but also to let me experience the labor I once mourned I would never have.  I held her hand and at 4:16pm on August 8, 2011, we delivered, together – as mom and mommy – our son.  E came into the world screaming, and is still that same ball of fire.  It was the most beautiful sound in the world.  I cut his cord, the nurses cleaned him up, Chloe held him for a minute and with tears in both our eyes she said,

“Let his mom hold him. He is all hers.” 

E had to stay in NICU for 3 weeks to learn to take a bottle, but was free of all other tubes.  He was a happy, healthy baby boy from the beginning – and he was our son to hold forever.  And Chloe is our family forever and we have an open relationship.  E will always know how very much she loves him and that he grew in her tummy because mine was broken. 

This is our Adoption Journey – one filled with tears, hope, and faith.  I did find my answer in Honduras.  Once I fully obeyed His commands, He opened up the door for the most perfect adoption and clearly revealed Himself to me in ways I never thought possible.  Do I think He would’ve blessed us with a child had I not obeyed His call to Honduras? The likely answer is yes, we would’ve had a child at some point.  But do I think it would’ve been as perfect or He would have fully revealed himself to me in both voice and image?  The answer is not a chance!  I have experienced something glorious and beyond my deepest prayers so that I can be used to tell of His wonderful grace and power.  This is all about Him – not me.

This is the our story that led to E's precious life with us and to us growing from a couple to a family - the rest of his life will be his to share if and when he wants to. 

Infertility even at its best leads to a roller coaster of emotions - anger, isolation, loss, grief, and confusion.  We want you to know that you are not alone.  In fact, one in every eight couples suffer from infertility (usually in silence).  However, always remember that each story is different and God also writes a different story for each of us -  and that is OK.  The important thing is that we all stay in tune with Him, even when He feels far away.  We never considered adoption to be our Plan B.  It's always been Plan A to God and to us.  He had that path for us clearly laid out years before we got to it.  And He had IVF as the path for Courtney and her husband.  And sometimes He says WAIT, which is a very hard thing to do.  If you are struggling through infertility, or have questions regarding adoption, I would love to connect with you and pray with you.  You can contact me directly or send your prayer requests.  Thank you for reading about our infertility and adoption journey.  I pray that this story God wrote for us encourages you and reminds you that you are not alone.

Love and Hugs,