I’ll Go First: Infertility to Adoption to Surprise!
Written by: Jen Harris
Even when I was young, I knew I wanted to be Mama. I was never the career type as I didn’t quite know what I’d want to do for traditional work. But there was no question as to whether or not I’d be a mom. One day I would, and that was that.
When my I married my sexy husband, we agreed that children were in our future once a full-time job was established for him. In 2008, we moved from San Diego to Santa Barbara for a Youth Pastor position at a moderately sized church near downtown. Once we had settled in, it was baby making time. After our first year of trying, we decided to seek our doctor’s help. After some testing with this particular OB, she sent me to a fertility doctor for further examination. At that point I wasn’t worried, but after year FOUR of trying, the process was just plain painful.
If you have ever struggled with infertility, it is very difficult to watch friends or family “accidentally” get pregnant, or have another baby, and another, without much more effort than looking at each other. To have people share their opinion on why you haven’t become pregnant yet, becomes unbearable. You name it, we’ve heard it. You name it, we’ve tried it. Hormones, aggressive testing, diets, holistic treatments, and then surgery. I will never forget that particular day when I went in for what was scheduled to be a 30-minute procedure, and came out 3 hours later. I woke up to my husband telling me that the surgeon found severe endometriosis- a disorder where tissue that should line the uterus, instead grows outside of the uterus, in or around other lady parts. That tissue was removed and we had great hope that I’d now become pregnant. Months of trying later, we were tired. That hope faded as we were still barren. We decided to seek a second opinion, but only then learned that I had a 1-2% chance of ever getting pregnant.
In that moment, the doctor said to us, “I really feel like God wants you to adopt”. I started crying. Uncontrollably crying. We were both incredibly sad and yet, also relieved as this option made it’s way to the surface. My husband, Jon, and I discussed this the whole way home as a huge burden was suddenly lifted. Hope was rising again and there was a new option.
Before Jon and I were married, we had discussed the idea of adoption. He was adopted by his stepdad and had a desire to similarly give back. After what had now taken almost five years in the making, it was as though our idea of a growing family shifted into what our Maker had for us rather than what I thought should happen. This surrender was easy, as it had been a long time coming. There was finally peace.
Through our church, we had known of an adoption lawyer in the congregation. For those years, as we tried and tested and prayed, he continued to make himself available for anything we needed. So we finally met with him and took him up on the offer of helping with our venture towards adoption. A few months later, we had finished all of the paperwork. We filed with him on April 29, 2013. On that same April day, a young, pregnant woman entered his office and requested to see files for seeking parents. Within two days, SHE CHOSE US! Our excitement, as you would imagine, was through the roof. Due to the flow of adoption-based changes, we were instructed to take it day by day as she could change her mind, or something unexpected could come up. We kept this information mostly to ourselves and those in our close circles. Baby was due on May 25th 2013, so we only had about four weeks to get our home and our hearts ready.
During those four, long-awaited weeks, we continued to trust. Trust in the Lord, and trust in the Birth Mom. Her due date came and went, but on May 31, she called to let us know she thought she was in labor. She was at a friend’s house, but needed a ride to the hospital and asked if we could drive her. Within what seemed like 18 seconds, we were there with her, getting her safely into the front seat of our car. As we made our way onto southbound 101 towards her hospital, her water broke and she could feel baby’s head. Jon pulled off of the freeway, running a red light (sorry to any law enforcement reading this) and quickly parked in the Vons parking lot. As my husband called for an ambulance and grabbed our trunk blankets, Birth Mom managed to get herself into the back seat, and onto said blankets. And as all curious people would do, I checked and there she was. Our baby’s head was right there. I reached in and after two or three pushes from Birth Mom, Backseat Miah was in my arms. Our daughter. It was a miracle! I delivered our daughter.
I was the first person she felt and touched. I was her first scent. Even to this day, almost five years later, I find myself in utter awe at how that happened and the overwhelming joy we experienced. This was a gift and we are ever-grateful for Birth Mom and for her choosing us. Jon and I had prayed and cried in grief for so many years. But now, this. Her. Our daughter. When our plans are surrendered, oh how He gives us far more than we had ever hoped. Bonus, He gives us awesome stories like delivering our own babies in the back of a car … in the Vons parking lot, Amen?
We ate up her whole first year as it was such a treasure. We were legally able to adopt her on her first birthday. A birthday and a year we will never soon forget. Just weeks before her adoption court date, something felt off. Something in me was new. New emotions. Different urges. I couldn’t pin point it but I didn’t feel right. I felt sick, exhausted and I only wanted pickles and root beer floats. Was this stress? Surprise! I was pregnant. With a narrow percent chance and over 5 years of kneeling before the Lord, crying out with urgency, and enduring an invasive surgery, countless blood tests, rationalizing “why us?” … another gift was in the making. Our Maylee girl. We had sisters. And now, they have each other. We were, and continue to be, in complete and humble awe of what the Good and Gracious King had in store for our family’s story. He didn’t close the doors to a family. We were family, no matter what. But the option we had considered during our dating years led to what seemed to be our only option toward parenting. Little did we know that He had so much more in store for us, and for Miah and May. This story is about them too. It’s for them. It’ll be a reminder to them of the great and abundant love of our Maker. Of their Maker.
To any of you struggling with infertility, with a seemingly hopeless diagnosis, your pain is not in vain. You are not alone in this journey. You are not at fault for this. Your burden is lifted. Your cries are heard. Oh dear heart of a Mother – you are not alone. You are not alone. You are never alone in this.