Ben and Jennifer signed on with me at Christian Adoption Consultants in August of 2018. They were very honest and vulnerable about their story and what led them to where they are today. Jennifer opened up about their pregnancy that led to an emergency c-section and a beautiful baby boy. But they also shared with me the difficulty of processing the finality of their infertility due to a hysterectomy. They talked about God’s faithfulness in healing their hearts through the loss and how they were excited about starting the adoption journey! They were matched a few days before Christmas and brought home their beautiful daughter a few months later. Jen was just sharing with me how special it is to be on the other side of this journey and how helpful it was to read adoption stories when they were in the wait. It’s my prayer that her words would be an encouragement to you wherever you are in the process!
Our adoption journey began early in our marriage, when Ben and I talked about what it would be like to grow our family through adoption. At this time it was just an idea we wondered about. But life early in marriage was busy, I was starting residency in emergency medicine, and Ben was starting graduate school. It was only a few months into my first job that I became pregnant with our son, Isaiah. I had a healthy pregnancy without any issues. However, when I went into labor, things started to shift. Ultimately after a long labor, I would require an emergency c-section. It wasn’t until I was in recovery the medical team discovered I was bleeding excessively, eventually leading to severe shock and a critical condition. I was rushed back to surgery for an emergent hysterectomy, the last resort to stop the bleeding. Days later, I remained in critical condition. Thankfully with family gathered and praying over me, and a wonderful medical team, I recovered and awoke to embrace my husband and new precious baby boy.
The months, and even years, after were filled with the joy of raising Isaiah, but also with deep raw emotion, grief, and questions about the finality of my infertility. It was in this difficult season that we grew. The best decision I ever made was to make my first appointment with a counselor. Which, as many can probably understand, is not an easy step. Especially as a healthcare provider, where people look to you for help-now I needed the help. I think it was no accident that the counselor I connected with was a wonderful, wise woman of faith, who had experience helping others in grief and loss, but even more importantly, the complex questions that come up along the way. As I think back on this season, I often think of the phrase ‘necessary suffering’, which is described by well known faith leaders. This was a season I needed to walk, no trudge, through. It was so uncomfortable. I wanted to get it over with. But I had to learn to sit in the grief. And I found in that sitting, you grow. And in that sitting, you see Jesus there next to you, over and over again. Through this season, I would start to gain eyes to see things I could not have seen otherwise. It was sad, beautiful and somehow life giving all at the same time.
Ben and I decided we were going to move forward with our dream of adoption. One challenge for us was that Ben was still finishing school and we were far from family. We would also need to move at least once more for him to finish an internship before he graduated. Starting the adoption process had to wait a bit. And I am not good at waiting. This, again, was another necessary season for us. We took over three years to learn as much as we could about adoption. I did this through podcasts, books, blogs, interviews-everything I could find. This, I now see, was more about preparing my heart, and learning to listen. I learned that the most valuable resource were the stories. I listened to so many stories from birth mothers, and gained so much compassion and respect for these brave women. I listened to stories from adoptees, and understood how critical their voice is in this conversation. It set the stage for how we would approach our own adoption journey, from the beginning, but also for the rest of our lives.
After moving back close to our families and getting settled into our jobs and community, we were finally ready to begin the process. By the time this started, we felt ready-not just with the logistics, but with our hearts. The process itself was quick compared to the years before. We signed on with adoption consultant, Kelly Todd through Christian Adoption Consultants in the summer of 2018 and completed our home study shortly after that. We started receiving situations from Kelly at CAC in October. In December we presented to an expectant mother who was expecting a baby girl. Just days before Christmas our wonderful adoption consultant called with the exciting news-she had chosen our family!
We spent the next few months not only preparing for a new baby girl to come home, but also to get to know the expecting mama. We had the amazing opportunity to not only speak with her over the phone, but meet her face to face before baby girl was born. I then flew out about a week before the baby arrived, to spend additional time with her birth mama. This is time I will never forget, and will always look back on fondly. We spent days just finding things to do together-going to movies, getting our nails done, getting lunch and just chatting. So many important things came up throughout these days together and we formed the foundation of a strong bond between us.
Soon, Ben and Isaiah along with my mom arrived, all waiting for baby to come. When we got to the hospital she had already been in labor for some time. It was only shortly after we got to the hospital that this perfect little miracle, Aaliyah Jewel, was born. I had the honor of staying by her side every step of the way.
This little tiny baby is about to turn a year old next month! She is an absolute joy. Sweet, funny, active, musical, and absolutely beautiful. She has herself wrapped around big brother and daddy’s finger. But is still a mama’s girl in the end. She certainly has captivated the hearts of everyone in our family. And we continue to keep in close contact with her beautiful birth mama.
Our journey is just beginning. There will be more bumps in the road and challenging seasons ahead. But there will be so much joy. Adoption is both a story of loss and grief, but also redemption and faithfulness, and certainly an up close view of God’s intricate work. We hope this story touches you in some way, as you move through your journey.
***If you are interested in learning more about adoption and the services we provide at Christian Adoption Consultants, I would love to chat! Feel free to email me, Kelly Todd, at firstname.lastname@example.org and check out Christian Adoption Consultants for more information!***