Shane and I met in October of 2000. Fell in love and have been together ever since! We got married on July 23, 2004. We knew we wanted to start a family shortly after getting married but quickly knew something wasn't right. I made an appointment with my OB-GYN who over the next several months ran tests and tried a few things but ultimately ended in surgery in December 2005. It was at my 2-week followup appointment after surgery that my doctor sat with me to explain that it was medically impossible for me to be able to conceive on my own.
It was devastating, to say the least. I wanted nothing more than to be a mother.
It was during the next year that adoption began to come up as a way to grow our family. We began researching and meeting with agencies. But at the end of the day I felt like God was telling me "not yet". I was upset and questioned so much.
Wait. Wait. Wait. That's all it felt like I had been doing for years. Months went by. They turned into years.
The story picks back up in the early summer of 2008. I was working with an office of mainly females and began not feeling well over the course of a week. I even stayed home sick from work one day because I felt so sick. Some of them began telling me I had to be pregnant but I didn't want to believe it. Another week or so goes by as I continue to experience symptoms and I told Shane what my co-workers had said. He shut it down very quickly. He is my protector and knew what our doctor had shared with us. The next morning, with Shane still home, I had my first experience with true morning sickness. He just looked at me and said "Call your doctor." I did, but couldn't get in until the next day. I never took a home test because I was convincing my self that I wasn't pregnant. My older sister, Casey, went with me to the doctor the next day as I told Shane to go to work because I didn't want to disappoint him. I went back by myself after being called by the nurse who I had seen countless times before. You could tell she was uneasy and didn't want to tell me I wasn't pregnant. She took out the pregnancy test and proceeded to make small talk while she waited for the results...but almost immediately she turns and says, "EMILY...you ARE pregnant! It came right up!" I couldn't believe it!! I immediately started crying as did she. She then went and brought my sister in and I got to share the amazing news with her. She then brought in my doctor who gave me the biggest hug with tears in his eyes. I'll never forget the moment when he said I don't have a medical explanation for this! I called Shane and got to share with him that he was going to be a Daddy! I had a ultrasound to confirm everything was good. Our lil baby was 6.5 weeks along and I got to see his heartbeat. My doctor kept saying "I wish Shane was here!" He printed off quite a few pics for me to take home to share with Shane! He was sure to never miss an appointment after that! Our miracle baby, Gavin, was born April 7, 2009. God had answered our prayers in His timing. I was finally a mom! Having a newborn keeps you busy. Enjoying all of the firsts over the next year kept my mind off of future desires of more children. Part of me was hopeful that God would perform a miracle again. I felt as though I blinked and Gavin was nearing his 3rd birthday. He asked for a brother often.
I began bringing up adoption to Shane again. This time was different. God began opening doors.
We met THE social worker we wanted to work with. We had a super supportive church family that helped us to fundraise to offset the cost of adoption. We were moving forward excited to grow our family. Our agency required us to make a family profile book with information and photos of our family. We had finally completed that and all the necessary paperwork and were active with our agency in October 2013.
We received word in March 2014 that there was a possible situation for us. The way the agency works is they ask if you are open to a situation and then if you are, your profile book is shown to the birth family. The birth family will then choose a family. We were open to the situation and our book was going to be shown in a couple of days to the birth family. Talk about nerve-racking!
We got word from our social worker the day after our book was shown that our family was CHOSEN!
There was a baby boy whose due date was April 6th. One day shy of Gavin's birthday! A match meeting was scheduled for a couple of weeks later. It was a whirlwind of events. I'll never forget meeting Melanie and some of her family for the very first time. She was seriously the cutest pregnant person I had ever seen! As we sat there with our social workers who facilitated the conversation it came to the hospital plan. Melanie shared that she wanted me in the room for delivery....WHAT?? I didn't even know that was a possibility! She mentioned the hospital she would deliver at. Well, that's where I had delivered Gavin. To make conversation, I asked, "Who's your doctor?" She answered, "Dr._______!!!!!" She had the same OB-GYN as ME! The room got loud as all of the agency workers were as surprised as we were. They had never heard of this happening! It got even more amazing when Melanie invited us to her weekly appointments until she delivered. I couldn't wait to see the look on my (our) doctor's face when he walked in the room the next week! He was absolutely shocked! Our agency only services birth & adoptive families in MO. So out of all of the birth moms in MO and all of the OB-GYN's in MO ours just happened to have the same doctor! God was writing our story all along and it's more beautiful than anything I could have ever dreamt on my own. We continued over the next few weeks to go to her appointments and tried to do lunch or anything to begin to get to know each other more. We texted almost daily and began investing in getting to know each other.
We both desired an open adoption but what that looked like I don't think either of us knew. We both had hopes but could they be a reality?
I received a text from Melanie on April 4th that she was in labor. She asked us to meet her at the hospital. We were given our own room and were in and out spending time with Melanie throughout her labor. I had the honor and privilege to be in the room when Melanie brought our beautiful son, Jaden, into the world on the morning of April 5th! It was overwhelming and surreal to say the least. A short time later, I got to bring Shane and Gavin down to meet Jaden for the first time. Gavin's 5th birthday was 2 days later on the 7th and his final present was to bring his new brother home from the hospital. When we arrived to visit with Melanie and her family we walked into their room to find gift bags sitting there. They had gone out and bought birthday presents for Gavin! I posted that afternoon on Facebook that our family had grown by another family that day and the uniting piece was Jaden. I can tell you today, that without a doubt that is still true! We have cried together, laughed together, shared holidays and birthdays together, have had sleepovers together - have made memories together! The love we share for one another is something I can't describe.
The bond that Jaden shares with Melanie is something that I treasure with all of my heart. It's unspoken. It's real. It's natural. He is so much like her! While neither one of us could have told you what our relationship would look like 4 1/2 years later, I can tell you it has been the biggest blessing in my life! When planning for our family pictures this year, it only felt appropriate to include Melanie in them. I want this memory for us. For her. For Jaden. #WeAreFamily
Have you been impacted by adoption like this family?
If so, we want to hear from you.