A New Plan (The Part with a Happy Ending)
After my third miscarriage, I was already feeling “over” the trying to conceive game and also was unsure if I could handle more loss. And while some ways I had invested less time into my fourth pregnancy, the quick defeat was almost more than I could stand. So at this point, I was feeling very done with this process. I felt as if I was on a downward spiral and I could feel it impacting other areas of my life. I didn’t want to keep trying only to get the same result.
At multiple points along this journey, I have told my husband, “there will be a point when I’m done, when I can’t take this anymore, I don’t know when that will be (miscarriage 6 or 16?), but I’ll know when I’m there.” Well, I had reached my point. I actually felt like I had reached that point after miscarriage #3, but honestly, it’s hard to not at least “try” each month, never knowing if this might be my chance and also knowing that each month I don’t try is only a month I get progress in age.
But let’s back track for a bit, back to my trip to France after my 3rd miscarriage. This trip to me was way more than just time and space for healing and recovery. It was on this trip that one, I had an emotional (and somewhat physical) breakdown. I lost it. Like uncontrollably crying on the ground in the middle of a cobblestone street lost it. This as in the middle of a road trip from the south of France up to Paris and after that breakdown, I insisted on discussing adoption. Let’s just say, the conversation did not go so well. I think my husband saw it as me looking for an escape and also, just being overly emotional (and admittedly, I was!). But looking back, I realize that it was in that moment that I KNEW that was my next step. I just wasn’t in a place to have a logical conversation about the topic, but still, knew. Other than that tense day, the trip continued on and honestly, we were able to have a good time. We celebrated our anniversary at a fancy restaurant in Paris (a re-do since our actual anniversary landed on the night before my D&C of my 3rd miscarriage). And we basically stayed away from the topic of building our family and what that might look like and tried to just enjoy our trip as much as possible.
But when we got back home, I just couldn’t shake this thought of adoption. Some of my best cries happen in the car and the thought would come to me during these drives, nudging me and almost reassuring me. But the strongest nudges always came during or right after my meditation time. I would get silent and then, it was as if God was speaking directly to me. I didn’t always hear actual words, but again, it became apparent, I was going to adopt!
While this was exciting (especially the thought of focusing on something other than ME and my body, and having the possibility that it might once again fail), it also brought up some really hard questions. Was i giving up entirely on biological kids? And the question I came back to a LOT, was, would I be ok if looking back on my life, I never experienced a full term pregnancy, birth and breast feeding (since these were presumably the most obvious things I would be giving up). This took a lot of pondering and consideration but I can say I very honestly got to a spot where I decided, 90 year-old Allison would much rather look back and know that she had a family, with kids she loved and she would be ok if she had missed the pregnancy part. I had in fact experienced pregnancy and to be honest, it was something that was not fun (esp with the morning sickness) and I decided I would be ok. The thought process here took a few months and involved a lot of tears and prayers.
The other key piece here was sitting down with my husband and being on the same page with him. We had some very matter-of-fact conversations, outlining every possible next step (everything from surrogacy to not having kids at all) and from there, made decisions on which options we were and were not open to. I will say, there was not 100% agreement across all options. These were very difficult discussions and brought up topics like sperm and egg donation and whether these were options.
We reached to other couples who had adopted and sat down and had conversations about this. We also found couples who had gone other routes, like surrogacy and also had conversations. These conversations were helpful in seeing what these decisions could look like longer term.
For me, the decision to move forward with adoption was a game changer and it felt like a weight had been lifted. People warned about the long process and massive amounts of paperwork. Yes, there is a lot of paperwork and steps to go through, but after having spent the past 3 years working on me and my fertility and seemingly continuing to fail again and again, I loved this shift in focus. I flew through the paperwork and loved to shift the focus away from me and my body and onto a to do list, to something I could easily conquer, it was starting to feel like I was on the right path. I will also say, the whole time, I had a feeling that my baby was very near. I am not a patient person but the sense of urgency was very strong. Within a few months of starting the process, we had completed our home study process.
We had a larger adoption agency we planned to work with, but in the meantime, we had been approved and our local agency gave us the option to be put on their list (for a fee) so we went for it. At this point it is mid-December.
I had feelings of being impatient and wondering, how many months would we have to wait? When we did get a match, how far along would the mother be? And of course, I had concerns about a match not working out or falling through at the last minute.
But at the same time, I continued to feel strongly that our baby was close. I even remember shortly after being approved telling my husband that if we knew the date we would have our baby now, we would realize just how close it is (esp since the wait time is less than 9 months and can even be as short as a few days!). The stories I heard about getting a call and match within a few days were always the ones I told my husband I thought would be us. Imagine, we get a call and within a few days we have a baby!
I am not going to go into great detail about our specific adoption other than to say it was so magical that sometimes, I still have trouble believing some of the details! Here are a few of my favorite details that I will share-
- I had decided to not travel for Christmas, for multiple reasons, but partly in case we got a call (which I’m sure no one at our agency would have said was logical or worthwhile, the chances of a call, esp last minute were SO low)
- I had said multiple times I thought we might get a Christmas baby
- I had told my mom who had come to visit over Christmas that she should stay a few more days, and that we could get a call any day (again, not logical or rational, we had zero calls up until now and knew it could be several months of waiting)
- BUT, the day I told my mom she should stay a few more days, well, that was the day our son was born, and while not on Christmas days, it was within few days of it!
- the call we received was after our son had already been born, the timing from phone call to baby in my arms and signing paperwork was under a few hours, our attorney and agency and never seen a quicker adoption
- remember my 3rd pregnancy? The one where I had terrible morning sickness and prayed for my baby every day? Frustratingly, I had a calendar on my phone that would not delete that showed my weeks for that pregnancy. When my son was born, I would have been 38 1/2 weeks pregnant…. he was born when his birth mom was 38 1/2 weeks pregnant. This part gets me every time, to think all of those weeks of being pregnant and praying for my baby, that whole time, my baby was already here!
I tell this story knowing, this is NOT everyones experience with adoption. The road to adoption can be just as riddled with heartbreak and let down as that of a fertility journey. I don’t tell you this story to get your hopes up that adoption is the magical answer. But I share this story to give you hope that you never know just how close you are to your happy ending. And even though that may look os different than you ever imagined, I can tell you from my experience, that when it does happen, it will be the best moment of your life. The moment I held my son for the first time, in that very instant, the years of heartache and tears, they all seemed to make sense. They don’t disappear, I continue to shed tears and get emotional when recounting my fertility struggles, but those struggles do seem more “worth it” and in a strange way, they make sense. But I am telling you, that moment of holding my son, that was the very best moment of my life.
In my heart, I know God ultimately had a plan for our family. There was/ is never a doubt in my mind that this was meant to be our son from the day we started trying for a family. And while it makes sense now, it is never a path I could have predicted or expected.
What Helped Me
Talking to Others
If you are feeling called to a specific path, find other families who have taken a similar path. Before going to far down the path of adoption, I spoke with several families about their experience with adoption. Don’t be afraid to ask around to find friends of friends that you can meet with (I also found that people I needed to hear from showed up in my life when I needed them most!).
Prayer + Hope
In the weeks leading up to the adoption of our son, there was a lot prayer and a lot of hope!
Miscarriage #5 (AGAIN?!)
As amazing as it was to have our son, we also knew our journey was not over. My husband and I have always envisioned having multiple kids and knew that we wanted more than one…. Very shortly after our son was born, I got yet another positive pregnancy test. I have to admit, I was thrilled! My mind once again went to the place of, oh wow, this is how it is going to happen!
Everyone always says, as soon as you adopt, you’ll have kids! It’s so easy after you adopt (and they always have at least one example of this happening). I have to admit, these stories did give me hope and when we made the decision in the back of my mind, I hoped that this would be our story, that once we had a baby in our arms, everything else would fall into place and happen easily.