I used to think that if you wanted children, you could have them. Just a simple choice you made. I was vaguely aware that my parents had trouble conceiving and my grandmother had a miscarriage. I just hadn’t yet experienced the complex emotions surrounding new life; both for those who didn’t intend to create it and for those who want to, but can’t.
I’ve always wanted to be a mom and experience pregnancy. And, since I can remember, I’ve also had the desire to adopt a child. I think God just gave me a heart to love kids.
My husband Zach and I discussed it before we were married and both agreed that we wanted to adopt at least one child. We assumed we would have biological children first. However, after a few years of not being able to conceive, we decided to pursue adoption instead of infertility treatments.
I feel fortunate that God gave both of us a desire to adopt. But we still had to mourn the loss of the children we couldn’t have. Not just for us, but for our parents too, who had their own dreams about their grandchildren. Adopting a child would satisfy our desire to be parents, but it doesn’t cure infertility.
We chose a nearby Christian agency that specializes in local/domestic adoptions. In this type of adoption, an expectant mother makes an adoption plan for her unborn baby. She has the opportunity to choose the adoptive family and determine the frequency and type of future contact she wants to have with her child.
When we began the adoption process, my heart was self-centered. I was ready to fulfill my dream of becoming a mother and bring home a baby. Our adoption agency did an excellent job of educating and partnering with us and the birth families throughout the process. I began to develop a deep empathy for the people on the other side of adoption: the birth family. I learned that we actually had a lot in common. Both the birth and adoptive families feel vulnerable; everyone is taking a risk and putting faith in a good outcome.
We were selected by a birthmother and had a few months to get to know her before the baby was born. It was powerful to hear why she was choosing adoption, the difficult situation she was in and how at that time in her life, adoption was the best way for her to care for and protect her child. I have immense compassion for this strong young woman who put the needs of her baby before her own. But it was a sweet time too, as I got to know someone whom I really enjoy; she has a great sense of humor!
She invited me to be with her when she gave birth to a baby boy, our son Payton. When it was time to say goodbye to her in the hospital I cried, sobbing, as I mourned the loss that she and the other birth relatives would experience. Yet, we were also overjoyed that we were the ones chosen to be Payton’s parents; our dream of becoming a family had finally come true.
Almost two years later another incredible young woman entrusted her preemie infant baby to us, our son Jayden. We’ve had fun annual visits with her and her mom over the past 4 years, creating great memories together. We’re friends on Facebook and I also share updates and pictures. They also send gifts to the boys and call on Jayden’s birthday. We are so proud that in a few months she will graduate from college.
I love both of our son’s birthmothers, they are our family now and women I care about deeply. We stay in touch with Payton’s birthmom through letters. She recently wrote sweet words to us, “Hi! I miss you guys a whole lot too. Payton has grown so much and I can hardly believe he’ll be 5 this year! Wow. You and Zach have done a truly wonderful job with both of your boys. I am blessed to have found you both. I always feel so much joy when I receive your letters and pictures. They brighten my days.”
I am in awe of how God created our family and knit our hearts together. We’ve been blessed with two amazing boys. We are happy for the boys that they have each other as brothers, friends and can support each other as adoptees. All four of our parents have also completely embraced their grandsons whom they adore and yes, spoil.
Our sons don’t look like us, but they look exactly like the children we were meant to love. It’s interesting how often people tell me that we do look like each other. I guess the simplest explanation is that we do share a resemblance because we’re a family.
I’ve been told that to experience life growing inside you is a miracle that changes you. Well, adoption is also a miracle. It changed me; it grew my heart.
– Julie R, San Jose, CA