Written by Sosina, Guest Blogger
There is a reason epidurals exist. Bringing a baby into this world is painful! Not only is there contractions and exhaustion, there is also the ring of fire and the dreaded tearing! Even with an epidural you still must endure a catheter and immense pressure. Bringing a baby into this world is painful! Too bad there’s no “mental epidural” for bringing a baby into the world through infertility or adoption. Now that would be nice! But just like giving birth, even through infertility struggles and adoption pains, once that baby is placed in your arms, you will experience the halo effect. Meaning: all the pain is eclipsed by the relief and joy. At least, that’s how my adoption experience went.
Our story starts with a desire to have children through adoption, but also biologically. Like many other couples, we decided to start with biological children. Well, that didn’t happen. We discovered that I had pelvic floor and fertility issues; and my husband also had fertility issues. We did 6 months of Clomid and Ovidrel therapy and 4 medicated IUIs. Nothing worked. In fact, as our pregnancy tests kept coming up negative, our doctor’s tests were showing that our infertility issues were being resolved. I started ovulating on my own, my cycle became regular, and my husband started producing healthy samples. But even without a specific diagnosis, we weren’t getting pregnant. I remember sitting in prayer, believing God had put adoption on my heart for a reason, and saying to myself “No matter how much money or time we spend on adoption, at the end there is a baby. That’s a promise fertility treatments and timed intercourse can’t make.” (I have to admit, I cringe at that statement now. But I’m just being real y’all!) Thus, we went full speed ahead with adoption.
I met with all the adoptive moms I knew and called all the agencies they referred me to. We went with the agency that had the least amount of fees, the shortest wait time, and the assurance that disrupted adoptions (when the birth mom chooses to parent) were few. (Now, if you’re a part of the adoption community, that last sentence is going to make you cringe. We were not asking the right questions and we paid for it!) We ended up having 3 adoptions fail at that agency in about 6 months. Each one was a unique circumstance and devastating in it’s own way. But the last one opened my eyes that this wasn’t an agency we wanted to be associated with. Not only did they never offer me any care as I was struggling through the adoption losses, but I realized they showed little care to the expectant moms. The last mom who had asked us to adopt her baby had been asking the social workers for help getting on food stamps and getting an ID. They didn’t help her; instead they told her she could probably do that herself. They didn’t teach her about open adoption; instead they asked her if she would be okay not ever seeing her baby again. This mom ended up placing her child with another agency, to a different family. Frustrated with this experience, later that month we attended a support group and heard that the only 2 social workers were leaving and they currently had no plans to bring another social worker on. We left that meeting knowing it was time to move on but didn’t know to where or how to keep our adoption hope alive.
To make a very complicated story a little less complicated, an agency contacted us because they were looking for interracial couples. We were then matched with a baby boy due in May. This was the first match where I really got to enjoy the pregnancy. I got to hear the heart beat and see ultrasounds. I got to name the baby and call him by his name. I texted back and forth with the expectant mom as if she was a friend. But once the baby was born, his mom decided to parent him. She said her whole pregnancy she felt as if she was the surrogate, until she had him, and then she knew she was his mom. I am grateful to have gotten to support this woman through her pregnancy, but my heart was broken. I returned home and decided I was done with adoption. I was totally content being an amazing auntie to my kid’s friends. So far, motherhood was painful and I determined it was not for me. I wondered if maybe God was protecting children from what a terrible mother I would be. I was hurting. I couldn’t concentrate at work. My memory had become crappy. I was having a hard time sleeping. I lacked all motivation for the future. I googled my symptoms and the consistent result was grief. I was grieving. Meanwhile, our adoption agency put us on the “do not call unless the baby is born and TPR is signed” list. (TPR is termination of parental rights, meaning the birth mom can no longer change her mind. This is usually done 48 hours after birth.)
Six weeks after that 4th disruption, my son was born. I would love to share all of his story of how his first mom found out she was pregnant and what her pregnancy was like and all of her story. But I would rather tell my son first, so it’ll be about 18+ years before I’m writing those things down for the internet to see, if ever. But I’ll tell you my side of the story. I got a call on June 5th about a “white baby boy born yesterday who will need to spend 7-8 weeks in the NICU. Do you want to present to his mom?” I wanted to say no, NO! Because I had told them I was done presenting to expectant moms, I just wanted to get a call saying there was a baby with TPR already signed. But I already loved that little baby and was picturing myself sitting in the NICU for 2 months so I opened my mouth and said “yes”. Well, so did EIGHTEEN other families. I thought it was a long shot that we would get chosen out of 18 other families. But we said yes and I wrote his mom a letter telling her that “where there is life, there is love”; a quote I had seen on a bracelet at Target. Finally after 5 long days, I got a text from our social worker saying that the expectant mom was finally narrowing it down and wanted to ask us a question. So she called us. It was 8 pm on a Sunday evening and the question was “are you ready to meet your son?” I burst into tears of grief and relief. His birth mom burst into tears of grief and relief. We drove 4 hours to the NICU, calling my boss on the way to tell him I wouldn’t be at work the next day or at all for the next 4 months. I got to the NICU and cried and celebrated for an hour with his birth mom. When she left, the nurse put my 3 lb son on my chest. The moment I felt his paper thin skin on my skin, I kid you not, I forgot all about the infertility, the 4 failed adoptions, the unethical agency, and the pain. I forgot it all. The halo effect!
My son is the best thing that ever happened to me. I understand that he came into my family because his first family couldn’t care for him. And I know that’s never God’s original plan. I know that infertility is never God’s original plan, that he desires health for us. But I also believe that redemption trumps brokenness. That when God’s original plans are broken, his redemptive nature makes a way for birth moms, adoptees, and those struggling with infertility to have healing and shalom. His birth mom gave him life. Where there is life, there is love; and we have no shortage of that in our redeemed triad!