I’m not sure how many people can put their finger on the calendar and say that this, precisely, is the day we began working toward starting a family. But for us, we can. We turned in our application to Lifeline Children’s Services in pursuit of adopting a male, ages 0-2 from Ethiopia on December 1, 2013.
This year will mark 5 years of waiting.
A lot has happened in that 5 years (read our story here). We’ve adopted our daughter, Brighten, we’ve re-started the international adoption process now in pursuit of a male, ages 0-4 from Haiti, and now we are adding another baby, a boy, to our family biologically.
To be honest, a year ago, even two or three years ago, I would have told you that the last part (adding a child biologically) was the least likely of ways we’d build our family. It’s not that I didn’t want it, I just didn’t think it would happen. And I don’t mean that in some way that’s sad or repressed, I truly just believed that God had called us to build our family through adoption. And He certainly did, but now we can see we are called to build it not only adoption, and He works in ways we could never predict.
For us, adoption was our first plan for parenthood. Now that I’m pregnant, we have a lot of well-meaning people who say things like, “Of course you’re pregnant, that’s how God works!” I’m going to be honest though, I don’t know how God works! He’s God, and who am I to try to figure out His perfect ways. My sole responsibility is to follow Him daily, letting go of self and preference to chase fully after Him. And if you’ve read my post regarding infertility and waiting from several years ago, you know that I’m not a fan of believing that if I just do “X” (in this case, adopt), then the “Y” will happen (in this case, get pregnant).
Our family is being built with the perfect building blocks of God’s plan for us, and all of our children, regardless of who carries, who delivers them, and how and when they join our family.
Brighten will likely be our oldest child — and I’m so glad because she has the perfect demeanor and personality for it! She will keep her brothers (so weird to say) in line, and keep up with their antics in a way that will be nothing short of hilarious, I’m sure! What’s funny, though, is that she is not the oldest biologically! It just goes to show how God takes brokenness and perfectly restores and redeems!
This baby boy will either be our middle or our youngest, even though he’s biologically our first. Adoption is funny like that, right? Again, a beautiful picture of God taking hard things, unknowns to us, and weaving together exactly what He wants our family to look like.
If I didn’t believe this wholeheartedly, I would have crumbled one thousand times over the course of the last several years when the hard news came, and then came again, and yet again.
Infertility Amidst Adoption
At risk of sharing way too much information, I’ll just say that we struggled with infertility for half of our adoption journey. We knew that we may have difficulty getting pregnant, and that it could even be impossible. But let’s be honest, nobody really knows if they can get pregnant fast or slow or at all when they start to plan their family. And there’s no perfect science to it either. Every pregnancy, every adoption story, every child born truly is a miracle.
Getting to Grady
We actually began our domestic adoption process and decided to see if we could get pregnant at the same time. Jason says I was throwing everything at the wall to see what would stick — and in hindsight he’s right. I longed to be a mother so much that I felt there was no other choice than to give everything over to God and let Him work out the details. Obviously, He intended for us to adopt Brighten, and what an amazingly perfect plan that was! I wouldn’t trade our journey through infertility for anything in the world because it meant that Brighten got to be my daughter. Thank you Lord for leading us to Houston, TX two years ago!
Once Brighten got to an age where we felt like we could handle bringing another baby into our family, we started talking about pregnancy again.
Earlier this year, I switched to a new OB/GYN at a big, world-renowned hospital just down the road from us. I figured that I’d probably be referred to some sort of infertility specialist, and I was right. After leaving the appointment where I was referred, I had this weird sense of sadness and joy all mixed together.
I was sad because the referral added validity to what I already knew — my body wasn’t doing something it should. I was joyful because I was optimistic that I’d be getting some answers soon. I truly was in a place where I really just wanted to know what was happening inside my body. Being just shy of 30 years old, I felt like knowledge was power when it came to my body and my health, and more than anything I just wanted to be healthy for the family God has already given me.
Easiest Patient In History
I had my first appointment with the infertility specialist on April 30th. We talked through the labs my doctor had done at my referral appointment, went over their procedures, starting with their least invasive methods. I left feeling extremely torn. On the one hand I felt glad for their confidence in their ability to help me get pregnant. On the other hand, it all felt very scientific and I’ve always led with my heart when it came to family planning.
On my birthday (one week later) I actually had a conversation with Jason telling him I didn’t think I wanted to go back to the infertility specialist. We talked about starting another domestic adoption process, but actually landed on just praying through things over the summer and making a decision about all of it in the fall.
Around Mother’s Day (another week later) I caught some sort of “stomach virus” that made me feel super nauseous every time I ate. Sometimes I’d get sick, and sometimes I’d just wish that I’d get sick. It also made me ridiculously tired. Anyone else ever had a virus like that?
At the same time, I’d been taking some medicine that the infertility specialist had prescribed to help my body get ready for their first attempt at helping me get pregnant. Basically, within 24 days my body was supposed to be ready to go back to them. But after about 30 days, nothing that they said would happen had happened.
At 5:00 a.m. the day before we left for our Memorial Day Chicago trip, I took a pregnancy test ONLY so I could tell those crazy doctors at the clinic that there was REALLY something very wrong with me because their medicine didn’t work. I figured they’d ask if I’d taken a pregnancy test, and I wanted to be sure before I called and made a big stink about it all. I was more confident than ever that I was absolutely, positively NOT pregnant.
But two lines popped up very quickly on that little stick. I was half asleep, and my actual first thought is that it was an error. So I kept looking at it, and then I woke Jason up by saying, “Wake up! I think I’m pregnant!”
Poor guy! He sat straight up in bed and said, “What?! Why?!” So I told him about the test. Then we sat in bed for two hours talking about if it could be a false positive, each of us getting excited, but trying not to admit it.
I called my doctor once the clinic opened and went in for a blood test to confirm. The next day, I got a call that I was indeed pregnant, and my doctor wanted me to come in for an ultrasound the next week.
We went to Chicago that weekend as planned, and I barely ate anything (that darn virus hadn’t gone away, haha!) and we talked about how I was probably only 3 or 4 weeks along and how hard it would be to keep a secret until we heard the baby’s heartbeat.
My ultrasound was the following Wednesday. We went in, still a bit shocked, and literally laughed out loud when the doctor told me that the baby was measuring over 9 weeks (and we got to hear its heartbeat)!!
If you’re doing the math, that means I was pregnant at both my referral appointment (where they actually did a pregnancy test but it was negative since I was about 3 weeks pregnant) AND I was pregnant at my appointment with the infertility specialist.
Yep, I’m the dodo who went to an infertility doctor 4.5 weeks pregnant. I’m probably the easiest patient they’ve ever had!
In fact, at that first ultrasound (which was with the infertility specialist) they laughed because they actually don’t see patients once they reach 9 weeks. So we said “good to meet ya” and they sent me on back to the regular OB clinic.
God’s Perfect Way
Time and time again, God reveals Himself to me in ways that I’m so undeserving of. Each time we’ve added to our family, He’s brought me to a place of complete surrender and then allowed me to see His almighty hands work in ways that could only point to Him.
This story, our journey — it’s not over yet. He’s still preparing a place in our hearts and in our home for two little boys. One will be here soon — we’ll meet Grady Shores Morales on or around December 29th of this year! The other, our Judah Saylor, will be several more years of waiting and praying. One will enter our home as a newborn baby, and another a toddler. One will come into our home straight from a hospital, the other will walk through trials and traumas that I cannot protect him from. Our hearts are ready for both. My arms long to hold them both the same. Tears for one little boy over watching new life grow inside of my body, and tears for the other born into brokenness.
I love the children who are being knit together — both in my womb and in the womb of another. May God continue to prepare us, Jason, Brighten, Swanson, and me, we seek God’s perfect plan for our family.