You see that face? We've already had an adoption success story! We adopted Brad when we moved to St. Louis and he is our infant in training! While we can't be mom and dad to a child just yet, we're definitely mom and dad to Brad. We just love him!
Shortly after we heard from the doctor, we decided to check out some adoption agencies. We figured it's best to be proactive and know what our options are so when we're ready to start the process we can be informed. Our first meeting was the Catholic Charities (Good Shepherd) in U. City. We were S.C.A.R.E.D. We had no idea what to expect and we arrived at the agency with what I'm sure was a "deer in the headlights" look. However, once we met the adoption agent, we felt at ease. Mary Ann has been working with Catholic Charities and doing adoptions since 1970. She knows her stuff. She spent well over two hours with us, answering our questions and trying to show us what the adoption process would entail. Here's what we learned:
1. We would need to be married at least 1 year before we could turn in our application. 2. We would have a home study conducted. The home study last approximately 2-3 months and consists of 5 meetings with a social worker. Two meetings are together, two meetings are separate and one meeting takes place in our home. We have to have references from our families, our peers and our pastor stating that we would be good (or great) adoptive parents. There would be background checks, financial reports and health tests to complete. It's a very in-depth look into who we are as a couple. During the home study the social worker will teach us about adoption, about what kind of family we will have and the challenges we will face. You get a lot of information during the home study process. Once the social worker has all the necessary information, she puts it into a very detailed 15 page, single spaced document. This document is the first thing a birth mother sees about us. 3. After we complete the home study phase, we would be eligible for the active adoption list. We would need to decide what type of child we would want. Would we want an older child in foster care or do we want a white, black, hispanic or asian infant? Do we want a special needs child? Are we open to a birth mother who has been exposed to drugs, alcohol or abuse? It's all very overwhelming because the more restrictive we are about what we want, the longer it can take to get a baby. 4. We prepare our "Dear Birth Mom" letter. This letter introduces us as a couple and explains why we want to adopt and our parenting techniques etc. 5. We prepare our adoption scrapbook. The scrapbook includes pictures and stories about who we are as a couple. It gives the birth mom a glimpse into our lives. We would include pictures and stories of our hobbies, family, vacations and pets. 6. We wait for a birth mom to pick us. The agency matches up our criteria with the birth mom's criteria and presents all our information to her. She can chose to have a face-to-face meeting with us and then decide if she would like to pursue an adoption plan with us. At this point, the birth mom is in complete control. At first, this really bothered me but the more I think about it, the more I respect the process. This is the one great and loving decision she is making for her baby and it should be her decision and hers alone. I hope I can keep this in perspective if the process becomes a long road for us. 7. It's expensive.
Catholic Charities has a relatively small program. The Archdiocese only allows them to service the St. Louis area which can somewhat limit the pool of available infants. However, Wesley and I felt really impressed by their program. It seems like we would receive all the support we would need. Sometimes a smaller program can give you more of a "hands on" approach. Their fees are based on a sliding-fee scale. While this sounds wonderful it's still very expensive. Wesley and I are looking at anywhere from $15-20k to adopt a child through their program. The great thing is that only a very small portion is due up front and the rest is due once the adoption is finalized. We have a lot of praying to do. I'm not sure where the funds are going to come to finance this adoption but I know that I'm not going to let that stand in the way of having a family.
Overall, we left feeling informed and overwhelmed. Now that we have had several months to digest the information we received during the meeting we feel more comfortable with our decision. I think the hardest part of the process will be the wait. We can't wait to turn in our application!
I got a call from my doctor's office late one afternoon. It's never good when you're the last call of the day. We were told that there was a serious problem with Wesley's test and that they were going to refer us to a urologist. I think I went numb after hearing the news. I just knew, I knew that this was the beginning of the end to our pregnancy journey. Of course, my doctor's office said to think positive. The lab could have messed something up or maybe the urologist will find a quick fix to our problem. How could I explain to my doctor that I already knew what the outcome would be? I had no medical reason, just a feeling that this was it. I cried...a lot. Wesley cried too. No matter how much you think you're ready for news like this, it's never easy.
We decided to keep things quiet with our families for a little bit. No reason to get everyone involved until we knew more information. Wesley and I set up an appointment with the specialist and a couple weeks later we were doing some follow-up tests. The urologist was hopeful. He didn't see anything alarming right off the bat. He told us we would have to wait for the test results to come back before we could proceed. Of course, the test comes back with the same results as the first. So, we do one more (just for good measure). With Wesley's issue, there was one of two things that could happen. He would either (a) have a correctible problem, one they could fix with surgery or (b) a non-corrective issue. The tests that Wesley took could determine what kind of problem he had and of course, we have the non-corrective issue. Our doctor, bless his heart, told us there wasn't anything he could do for us. He couldn't refer us to another specialist because there's not much anyone can do about the type of problem we were facing. Funnily enough, Wesley's condition is extremely rare. A very small percentage of men facing infertility issues have his problem. Par for the course.
We asked ourselves, now what? What do we do? We decided that we want a family...family is so important to us. We adopt.
Even though the doctor is able to point at Wesley's problem for our infertility issues, I think there is more behind it. I think we were destined to face this together. God had begun to prepare my heart for this long before Wesley entered my life. And yet, here we are facing it together. Our family is going to be beautiful and full of love because Wesley and I view this challenge as a time to love each other, encourage each other, support each other and stand in faith. There isn't a day that goes by where I don't thank God for my husband. He constantly reminds me of all the good we have in our lives. We are blessed beyond belief.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 reads, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
Before I continue this post, I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you to all our family and friends for your outpouring of love and support. For quite some time, I've felt protective and private regarding our situation. Sharing has brought me a sense of peace and we feel hopeful for the future. In a way, it feels like a huge burden has been lifted off our shoulders. Wesley and I have truly been overwhelmed by all the well wishes and prayers! It means the world to us.
As I mentioned before, Wesley and I were so excited to start a family. I had a visit with my doctor shortly after getting married to talk about some fertility issues I was having. He prescribed some medication for me (clomid) and told me to give it 6 months. If we weren't pregnant in 6 months, then we would re-evaluate.
Naturally, the first month on the fertility medication I was sure we would get pregnant. For those ladies out there who haven't even given getting pregnant a second thought, I envy you. The process is stressful and what no one tells you is that it's so emotional. What should be a very exciting time, becomes reduced to keeping tabs on when it's the "right time". You google so much that you become confused. It's keeping charts and taking ovulation tests. It's annoying the life out of your husband. And it's a lot of waiting. Waiting around wondering if it's working or not.
Of course, our first month comes and goes. Looking at the negative pregnancy test, you try to tell yourself it's okay. You try to pump yourself up and yet there's an empty feeling that you can't quite explain. After all, it's not like you were ever pregnant, so why do you feel hollow inside? So, I tried to tell myself that it's okay and that next month will be The Month. After all, the doctor said it can take awhile for my body to adjust to the medication. As far as my doctor could tell, I was right on track and my body was responding as it should to the medication.
Fast forward six months. We're still not pregnant and we're back at the doctor's office wondering what's going on. Remember that "feeling" I told you about? Well, it was creeping back in. So far I had been able to push it out of my mind and yet here it was, staring me in the face. My doctor, being the optimist that he is, thought that we had not been one of the lucky ones. He thought there wasn't anything wrong and that we were worrying for no reason. Even so, he ordered some tests for Wesley and set up a plan of extensive testing for me. As far as my doctor was concerned, he had no reason to believe he would find anything abnormal. Wesley went in a few days later and took his test. Then, we waited. We waited for the test results. That's when we got the call that would set everything in motion...
For those of us who go to church and share a relationship with God, we often hear from others how God will "talk to them". Unfortunately for me, I can't say that I've ever really thought God was speaking directly to me. I've felt the holy spirit, I've prayed and prayers have been answered. However, I've never felt like a message was being sent directly down from Heaven, just for me.
All that changed when my husband and I got married. We had hoped to start a family soon after getting married in the hopes of having three children, with one small hitch. Throughout my life, I've had a feeling. It's a feeling that touched the depths of my soul. I have always felt that I would never be able to have children. When I would tell people this, they would laugh it off and tell me to think positive. I too would try to make myself believe in what they were saying.
As luck would have it, we were diagnosed with a fairly serious infertility issue early on during our marriage (more on that later). Now, in hindsight, I can say with certainty that God has been talking directly to me. The years of living with this "feeling" was actually God preparing my heart for a different path...the road less traveled. So, it is here that we are trying to walk by faith even though it's scary. We're learning what it truly means to let go and let God take over. We're trying to trust that the good Lord does indeed have a child out there for us and that he or she will come into our lives when we have prepared for the challenges and the immense joy that having children brings.
The road ahead is scary with lots of unknown obstacles. Our hope, as a couple, is that we can remain strong in our faith, in our marriage and learn to trust in the Lord with all our hearts.