Sunday, January 22, 2012

what the deal is (part 1)

OK people. Are you ready for it? It's obvious I've left like 99% of you in the dark and judging by the comments on my last blog, you're feeling the confusion. What happened, Erika? You overshare about you're going to go all cryptic on us about maybe you're thinking about adopting and now all of a sudden you're decorating a nursery? WHAT HAPPENED?? I know. Keeping things under wraps isn't usually my style, but I haven't really known how to go about this one while both a) maintaining privacy of parties that wish to remain private, and b) not oversharing, because I feel like the details and the context are really important. So I'm going to try to tell the story (or at least start), and I will still try to keep important details confidential, but I will not bother trying to not overshare, because...I don't want to forget. One day, maybe a soon day, I will have a screaming baby begging for my attention, and I won't have time to write down how he or she got here, and I don't want to forget because I don't think any of this is a coincidence.

First, a primer on independent adoption (also referred to as 'private adoption'). Just go read this, it will save me a lot of typing. If you are too lazy to do that, then I will summarize: you do not have to use an adoption agency to adopt a child (in 45 states, including Georgia). If you are pregnant and want to place your child with an adoptive family, and you happen to know that the Joneses down the street are looking to adopt, then the two of you can get together and make a plan for them to adopt your baby. Throw in a lawyer and some paperwork, and you're good to go. (Note: if you actually do find yourself in this situation, please let me know, as I am the "Joneses down the street" so to speak) This is the essence of independent adoption. Cutting out the 'middle man' of the agencies, and cutting out a whoooooooole lot of paperwork. There are pros and cons to both private and agency adoptions...feel free to check the above link for some of them.

So December 6 was a Tuesday morning and I was driving to work. I'm like 1 mile out of town, minding my own business, singing Christmas songs along with the radio, and BAM. Out of nowhere, this thought pops in my head: I want to adopt. I am done with infertility treatments, I want to adopt. I want a child, I want to be a family. I want a child more than I want a pregnancy. I want to adopt. I'm not kidding- it came from nowhere. And when I say it "hit me," I mean-- I am BAWLING. The emotions that rushed over me were unbelievable. This is exactly what I had been waiting for: for years now, I've been 'weighing the options.' IVF...adoption...IVF...adoption...pros and cons sheets, thinking it through, mostly wanting pregnancy more than anything. I have certainly been open to adoption. But I didn't really desire it. And I had prayed, on many occasions, that if adoption was what God had for us, I was going to have to want it. To want it more than pregnancy. I couldn't start an adoption journey halfheartedly. I needed to crave it.

So here I am, driving and crying and a hot mess because I felt like I suddenly knew what I wanted. I called Matt and he thinks I was probably in another wreck, what with the heaving and sobbing and all-- but no, I'm all "I want to adopt a baaaaabbbbyyyy..." and he's like "are you sure you're okay? Are you okay?" "Yes I'm fine I just want to adoooopppptttttt" and once he's convinced I'm not lying in a ditch somewhere, he's like "well then let's do it!" because he has been wanting this for years, unlike me.

So from that moment, we are people on a mission. We are going to adopt, so let's get this party started while the emotions are running hot! We research agencies. We start debating different things. I write a cryptic blog. We think. We plan. We don't really share it with many people-- not because we don't want to, but ya know...we're just busy. We're researching. And it didn't come up.

So Saturday morning, December 10, I wake up to a phone call from my mom. We were heading to Augusta later that afternoon for a wedding, so I wasn't terribly surprised to see her calling at 9am...probably wanted to tell us something last-minute to bring or do.

Well, not really.

As it turns out, the night before she and my dad had been at the rehearsal dinner. While there, they found themselves sitting at a table with an acquaintance they knew very casually: as in, had met a few times, but knew very little about-- and the not-knowing went both ways. They chit-chatted, and before long this gentleman (we'll call him Dr. X) was inquiring about whether they had any grandchildren or were looking forward to any on the horizon. My parents said that they did not; they would be excited when that day did come, but there were none in the immediate future. Dr. X asked again-- none? Neither Jake or Sarah? Not thinking about it?

You see, Dr. X didn't really know I existed. Like I said-- he was a casual acquaintance. He knew of my brother and sister because he'd seen them at events before. As far as he knew, those were the only kids in my parents' clan.

Well, since he was asking, my mom shared a little more. No, Jake and Sarah-- neither of them are thinking kids. But we do have an older daughter-- she and her husband have been married for over 4 years. And they would love to have children. They have been trying for a long time, but they have some problems, so they're sorting through their options. They are desperate to be parents-- and when it happens, we will be the happiest grandparents in the world. We can't wait for that day.

At this, Dr. X seems to relax. He smiles a bit. How long have they been trying? he asks. A year or two?

Well,'s been three, my mom tells him. They are waiting on a miracle. They are also considering whether they may like to adopt.

[IMPORTANT DETAIL: My mom didn't know about my revelation earlier that week. I was going to wait and tell her in person when we went home. So this was just a reference to our months-long back-and-forth about 'maybe adopt, maybe not' dilemma.]

Dr. X seemed to like this final sentence. Thinking about adopting, are they? I had a feeling they might. 

He goes on to tell my mom some very interesting information, and I'm going to have to leave out a lot of details, but it goes something like this:

Dr. X has a job that puts him in a position to help 'matchmake' private adoptions. This is not his "job," and he receives no compensation. It is something that the Lord has led him to do for the last 25 years, and it is something he has a great passion for: placing babies with couples who long to have families. He usually has a handful of couples that he is working with, and when a situation arises where a baby needs a family, he prays about the situation and God nudges him towards the couple that are right for the situation. 

I realize that if you do not believe in God or prayer, this probably sounds a little loco. If you're us, though, this sounds like the most amazing thing you've ever heard of.

He does this because he feels that the agency adoption system is so vast, expensive, and scary that it deters couples from wanting to even try. He has known many couples who want nothing more than to become parents, but are unable to because of infertility and then the (real or perceived) barriers in the adoption 'system.' And he comes upon birth parents that, for whatever reason, are also not interested in making an adoption plan through an agency. He puts 2 and 2 together...after a lot of prayer.

In 25 years, he has never had an adoption reversed.

He tells my mom a few more things, and also mentions that, as this is not his job, he truly cannot help very many couples: each situation is simply too involved and too time-consuming and emotionally draining. He frequently has couples approach him and seek his help, and he turns almost all of them down. He waits on the Lord to show him the couples that he is supposed to help, and that's all he can do.

 "So I was wondering," he told my parents, "if your daughter and her husband might be interested in working with me. I want to help them find their baby."

To be continued...


  1. Wow! Congrats on this next part of your journey!! I pray that you will be blessed with a special miracle and seems to me that you are well on your way to getting that ;)

  2. So glad we are getting to hear the story! This gives me so much hope for you guys!

  3. OMG- to be continued?!? For reals?! Cant wait for the next installment! (and for the record RIDICULOUSLY excited by all this news!)

  4. What an AMAZING story! I had goosebumps the whole time I was reading this! How WONDERFUL for you! So excited to hear the rest! :)

  5. Ahhhhh - this is so BEAUTIFUL! I am in tears right now after reading this! How wonderful! :) I am so excited for you and Matt and can't wait to read more!

  6. oh my gosh you totally made me choke up... what an amazing story.. the whole part about becoming overcome with WANTING adoption so badly was the most touching to me. Because I love how God does stuff like that. At just the right time. And how he orchestrates everything. He is so amazing, for sure.

  7. STOP it! You MUST finish this post tonight! I love it. Wow. Can't wait to read part two!

  8. now that is "something beautiful"! WOW, isn't God so good! I am looking forward to following along on this journey!

  9. I follow your blog for many reasons but one of them is to get better insight into what my friend is experiencing with infertility.

    I ride the emotional rollercoaster with her every month, every negative pregnancy test, every adoption class... you get it.

    This summer after months of preparation, cheque writing, workshops, home studies, etc. they finally got to go on the "approved" prospective adoptive parent list {Canadian process}

    We didn't know how long it would take for them to get the call, but I'm happy to say they didn't have to wait long... just last Friday they got a call from their social worker saying there's Valentine's baby with their name on him/her.

    What baby wouldn't love to have you as a MOM. xo

  10. Oh you and your to-be-continued blog post. Way to keep the readers coming back. :)
    Not that I wouldn't come back anyway. Duh. The beginning of this story (as in, everything up to today) is so God-filled and amazing. I can't wait to see how it ends (with a baby)!!

  11. AHHH, Erika, you've got me on the edge of my seat and teary eyed!

    I'm smiling for you guys, can't wait to hear more! -Lacie

  12. The suspense is worse than an episode of 24! Adam and I sat here last night on two different computers, reading it at the same time. I kept saying, "which part are you at!??!" and "did you read this!!?!?"

  13. I am so happy for you! I just blogged about adoption and infertility and why we chose adoption - for exactly that reason, we want to be parents more than we feel we MUST have our biological child. This post filled me with joy :) We are waiting to be matched with a birthmother through our agency. We haven't been waiting long, but I can't wait for the day we get that special call. My only thought for you would be MAYBE to check out an adoption agency, just to see first hand the differences between the agency and a private adoption. Both have pros and cons, but one of the things that I love about our agency is that they are very pro-birthmother and offer tons of counseling and resources to the birthmother. It helps the birthmother know what is an appropriate relationship with the adoptive parents, what kind of visitations are normal, they talk about boundaries and emotional issues...In this way, I am glad that we are going through an agency that deals with a lot of the before and after (years even!)emotional issues for both us and the birthmother. We also had a lot of education about open adoption, adopted children, etc. Both public and private adoptions can be totally successful, and it seems your Dr. has a great history of that. I just liked that the agency provided so much support after the match for us, our child and his birthmother. I look forward to reading your continued journey and I can't wait for us to comment soon about our life with our little adopted children :)

  14. Happy day!!! So excited :)

  15. Definitely can't wait to read the 2nd part of this!! I am soo excited for y'all! The baby you guys have will be the most blessed and loved baby!!! So exciting!!!


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