Written by Rachel Roth, Guest Blogger
As a birthday present, I once sent my husband on a trip without telling him the destination. I set up his GPS, put envelopes with instructions in the glove compartment and sent him on his way to see a professional soccer game with a friend. He would tell me later that he had NO idea where he was headed until he got closer to the destination. He kept trying to guess what was going to happen throughout the day and who he would meet.
It is not all that different from our journey to growing our family. We thought we knew where we were headed only to end up somewhere completely different.
Since it has been 2 years since my last WTF post, here is a quick recap: my husband and I went through 4 years of infertility that included 8 IUIs and IVFs, 2 miscarriages, and no babies. We stopped fertility treatments and partnered with an adoption agency to pursue a domestic infant adoption. 12 hours after committing, we found out we were pregnant naturally with our son, Ben. As of my last post, we were waiting to be chosen by a birth family.
You might assume that this post is going to talk about how we finally got chosen by a birth mom and the adoption process, but you would be wrong. We were never chosen and never adopted. So what happened? In the fall and winter of 2018, a few months after my last post, my husband and I began to feel as if the adoption agency we had partnered with was not the right fit for us anymore. We were not thrilled with how things were being managed and decided to part ways with them in January 2019.
Around that time, we met with a coordinator for CYS (Children and Youth Services) in a neighboring county. A couple from our church had adopted two daughters from foster care in that county. We had not originally considered fostering to adopt because when my husband and I initially discussed adoption in 2015, we were childless after 4 years of infertility. We worried that after years of enduring heartache after heartache, it might be too difficult for us to handle the uncertainty of foster care. Honestly? We were scared. After we had Ben, we moved into a bigger house that happened to be within ONE MILE of where we had to live to foster with the neighboring county. We researched, prayed, discussed and ultimately decided to move forward with fostering to adopt.
In May 2019, just 3 weeks after getting licensed to be foster parents, we got a phone call that changed our lives.
“There’s a baby girl getting discharged from the NICU. Do you want her?”
My heart raced and I told the woman who called that I would have to speak to my husband. When I called him, I had one hesitation about saying yes: two weeks earlier, I found out I was pregnant again.
On the surface, this may not seem like it should cause hesitation. Isn’t that an exciting and happy thing? To be pregnant AND get a call about a baby in need? Yes, absolutely! However, it is important to know the complexity of our situation.
Before the phone call in May 2019, I had two more miscarriages in August 2018 and April 2019. So when I got the phone call about Baby Girl needing a home while I was 6 weeks pregnant, I was terrified. This was pregnancy #6. I had JUST miscarried pregnancy #5 a month prior. Only 1 of my 5 previous pregnancies had resulted in a live birth. I had no idea if pregnancy #6 was viable. Could I really say yes to a foster child while pregnant and worried about miscarrying? Would I be able to give the foster child the attention and love she deserved? Doubts and questions swarmed in the 10 seconds it took me to hang up and call my husband to get his take.
His answer was immediate and succinct: “We wanted children. There is no WAY we’re saying no.”
6 hours after the phone call, our 2.5 year old son got to hold his 2.5 month old foster sister and my heart melted. As I watched his smile bloom at this precious child in his arms that he had only known for a few hours, I knew Baby Girl was where she belonged.
6 weeks later, I was in the Gynecologist’s office waiting to get news of my pregnancy. I had not miscarried yet, but the odds were not in our favor. The nurse got the ultrasound set up and searched for the baby. After a minute of searching, I heard the most beautiful sound in the world: the heartbeat of our unborn child. I immediately burst into happy tears.
The next few months were crazy and passed with a blur. It was filled with twice a week visitation for Baby Girl with her birth parents, doctor appointments for baby #3, four hearings, and keeping up with my rambunctious toddler.
In January 2020, Jacob Thomas was born, 10 months after his foster sister. We picked the middle name Thomas, not just because it is a family surname on my side, but also because it means “twin.” Two siblings that are less than a year apart are often referred to as “Irish twins.” We wanted Jacob to have a tie to his foster sister, no matter what happens.
It has been nearly 6 months since Jacob was born and over a year since Baby Girl came to our family. We have not adopted her yet, as her birth parent’s rights have not been terminated. However, her case has moved to the adoption unit at CYS, which means the county is moving forward with terminating parental rights. Baby Girl’s story is a tremendous one all on its own, so be on the lookout for another post detailing the whole process!
We know we are truly blessed by our three children. The pain and sorrow of infertility never truly goes away, but the rough edges are softened by gratefulness. Each child is a miracle in their own way. Both our sons are double rainbow babies (born after two miscarriages) and basically medical miracles for being conceived naturally when given less than a 1% chance of that happening. Baby girl was born at 27 weeks weighing a mere 2 pounds. Today, all three are happy, completely healthy, and they remind me daily that my plans are not His plans and that is perfect because His plans are BETTER.