‘Are you ready to meet him?’ He was born addicted to methadone. I didn’t know what to expect. The moment I saw him, I knew he was my son.’: Couple battling infertility for 7 years share adoption journey

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Trigger Warning: The story contains mention of child loss and miscarriage that may be triggering for some.

“Mike and I had been married for 3 years when we decided to start a family in 2010. I was 32 and he was 31. We really didn’t think it was too big of a deal to be starting our family in our early thirties. After all, we were still fairly young. One thing you must know about me is I am a huge planner. If I was 32 when we had our first baby, we would be done when I turned 35, 36. At least, that’s what I had planned.

Courtesy of Heather

In 2011, there still was no baby. In the fall of 2011, Mike and I were at his friend’s wedding. I was sitting with all the other wives and one of the wives asked me if we were going to have kids. I said, ‘Yes, we’ve been trying since the Summer of 2010.’ She then told me maybe we should go see a specialist. We decided to wait until after Christmas to reach out to an infertility specialist.

A few days after Christmas of 2011, I called Midwest Fertility Specialists. I remember being on the phone with the receptionist scheduling the appointment and I was crying. I couldn’t believe that it had gotten to this point. Our appointment was scheduled for April of 2012, although we were on a cancellation list. I was devastated. 4 months may not seem like that long of a time, but when you have been trying to have a baby for 1 and a half years, 4 months was an eternity. There ended up being a cancellation in February of 2012. We actually thought I was pregnant. Our doctor told me to take a pregnancy test. Of course, I wasn’t pregnant. The doctor ordered testing for Mike and me. Mike had issues. I did not have issues.

After four failed cycles of clomid and four failed intrauterine insemination (our doctor had a rule of four), in 2013, we moved on to the most intrusive and expensive form of infertility treatment, in vitro fertilization (IVF). We were sad and scared. I started taking hormones. At my very first monitoring appointment, it was discovered I had low AMH. I didn’t have the egg quality of a 34-year-old. I had the egg quality of a woman that was 40. We ended up doing three IVF cycles. We purchased a package and were guaranteed a refund if I didn’t get pregnant. In order to receive the refund, we had to go through all three cycles of IVF. We received the refund because I didn’t get pregnant.

Courtesy of Heather

We then decided to do IVF with donor eggs. We selected a donor we felt resembled me in appearance as a child and adult. On our third and final cycle of IVF with the donor eggs, I was finally pregnant. The day we found out I was pregnant was probably the longest and most torturous day of my life. It was November 23, 2015. Mike always took off the days I had to go for blood draws after IVF transfers. We needed to be there for each other. Normally, a nurse would call later in the day and give the news of the blood draw. This time it was different. We didn’t get the call until after 5:00 p.m. that day. And the nurse didn’t call us, it was our doctor. He said I was pregnant and my HCG level was very high. Finally, we were pregnant!!

In December of 2015, we had our first ultrasound appointment. I was pregnant with twins. Baby A had no heartbeat. Baby B had no heartbeat. I was a patient at Midwest Fertility for 4 years. You learn a lot about the staff and vice versa. The ultrasound technician cried. The doctor and technician left us in the room by ourselves. There were no words to describe our sadness. I felt like this was the cruelest of cruel. It was our sixth and final cycle of IVF and I got pregnant but ended up miscarrying our babies.

On Christmas Day, my miscarriage started. On December 27, I was bleeding very heavily and was so scared. I called my doctor and was instructed to go to the ER. That was my worst ER experience ever. The intake nurse started asking me questions and I told her I was having a miscarriage. She then started to tell me I probably wasn’t and she had bleeding when she was pregnant. Everything about that ER visit was dramatic to me.

Courtesy of Heather

In January of 2016, we decided we were done with infertility treatment. Mike didn’t want me on hormones and we were both drained, emotionally and financially. We still strongly desired to have a baby so we decided to explore adoption. We researched agencies and ended up signing on with Independent Adoption Center (IAC). We were drawn to this agency because they had been in business for 30 plus years, the founder of open adoption, and had a sliding scale. We lost a significant amount of money doing infertility treatment.

By June of 2016, our home study was completed and our profile was live on the IAC’s website. We ended up ordering adoption pass along cards, which had all of our contact information on them. We left them in restaurants, on community bulletin boards, and by the pregnancy tests in stores. I ended up making a new friend because of our adoption pass along cards. She took one off a community board and sent me a Facebook friend request. She and her husband actually adopted their daughter through the same agency. It’s so wonderful having a friend that can relate to all of my infertility and adoption sadness and frustrations.

In October of 2016, we connected with a potential birth mother. She would go into the bank my sister-in-law worked at. My sister-in-law’s coworker gave our card to the potential birth mother. She was homeless and had a strained relationship with her family. She ended up texting me and eventually, I started talking on the phone to her. We actually had plans to drive to Illinois on a Saturday to meet in person. I called her the day before to confirm our plans and she started telling me her family said it was going to be hard for her to give up her baby. She then proceeded to tell me perhaps we could take her baby for summer visits. She had fetal alcohol syndrome. I don’t think she understood what adoption meant. We ended up canceling our trip because it was very clear she was going to keep her baby.

Courtesy of Heather

In November of 2016, we did our very first Facebook Live Video. We were trying to network and find our own birth mother. We shared our infertility story. The video actually had 10,000 views. We thought for sure we would find a birth mother. No such luck. The lack of potential birth mothers being interested in us was very hard on us. We felt like we were rejected and judged. The fate of us becoming parents was in someone else’s hands.

On January 31, 2017, we were hit with another roadblock in our journey to parenthood. I received an email stating our adoption agency was closing and filing bankruptcy. Here we are again with more emotional heartache and losing money because we had to pay $12,000 to get the adoption process started. I immediately texted Mike this news and we both left work early that day. We honestly started to feel like God/The Universe did not want us to have a baby.

That night, once again, we were feeling defeated, but simultaneously we both said we’re not done fighting this battle. We then decided we were going to reach out to Kirsh and Kirsh, a very reputable law firm that specializes in adoption in the State of Indiana. They have been in business for over 30 years and have even helped write adoption law in the State of Indiana. Initially, back in 2016, when we researched adoption agencies, I reached out to Kirsh and Kirsh, but we decided not to hire them because, financially, it was impossible for us. After what happened with the IAC, we decided we wanted a baby, to be protected, and would figure out a way to hire them.

Before we received the news about the IAC closing, we booked a trip to Dominican Republican with our friends to celebrate our 10-year wedding anniversary. During our entire journey to having a baby, we lived in pause. At first, we were saving money for infertility treatment. Then we were saving money for an adoption. We ended up canceling the anniversary trip because we were going to have a trivia night fundraiser to help pay the adoption expenses. We could not in good conscience go on this fabulous, tropical vacation and have family and friends donate money to help us pay for the adoption. In the end, though, we ended up canceling the trivia night because not enough people signed up for it. It worked perfectly though because the day we were supposed to have the trivia night, we were in Indianapolis with our son, Jayce.

4 days after we paid the retainer fee to Kirsh and Kirsh, I received a call a potential birth mother was interested in us. That Saturday we drove down to Indianapolis to meet her. The Monday after we officially matched with her. Even after we were matched with her, we bought very few baby items and didn’t get a nursery ready. In the State of Indiana, a birth mother has 24-48 hours to sign the consent to adopt. Mike and I definitely had our guard up. We had been through so much.

I remember going to her ultrasound appointment with our birth mother. She already had two girls she didn’t have custody of. She wanted to find out the sex of the baby. I didn’t because in all honesty, we have been waiting for so long, what’s a few more months, but she wanted to know. She was having a boy. She was crying. I knew on some level we weren’t getting her baby.

A week after Mother’s Day in 2017, we took her shopping for maternity clothes. After that, she stopped communicating with us. Once again we were heartbroken. Our attorney told me, ‘I know you’ve been waiting forever for a baby, but she’s due in August. It’s not that long, perhaps you can wait it out.’ We decided we weren’t waiting and we were unmatched with her the Friday before Father’s Day.

On July 7, 2017, I received the call that would end 7 years of heartache and questions. Our attorney called me. I just assumed he was calling about the birth mother we were unmatched with. He wasn’t. He then went on to tell me about a birth mother that had a baby on July 5 and she was interested in talking with us. He gave me her phone number. He said, ‘Call me right after you talk to her.’ Naturally, I immediately got a hold of Mike. We called her and talked to her for about 20 minutes. I remember at the very end of the conversation she said, ‘I’ll talk to you later.’ Of course, I started reading into it like I always do. I called our attorney and he was on another call. He was on the call with our birth mother. He called me shortly after and told me we have to head to Indianapolis to meet our son.

Courtesy of Heather

I then called Mike and we both left work. The drive down to Indianapolis took forever. There was a heavy rainstorm that slowed us down. On our way to Indianapolis, our attorney called and informed us Jayce’s birth mother signed the consent to adoption, which means she was relinquishing her child for adoption and giving up her parental rights. We were beyond shocked. I guess in the back of my mind I thought she would wait until after she met us in person to truly make sure we were the right parents for her baby.

Courtesy of Heather

The first thing we did when we went to the hospital was stop at the gift shop to buy the birth mother flowers. We then met with the hospital’s social worker and she told us the birth parents wanted to take us to the NICU to meet our son. The social worker took us to a room Angela and Alex were in. Angela was released that day but was able to stay at the hospital until she met us. The social worker then introduced us to Angela and Alex and left shortly after that. We made small talk with them. I told her she was beautiful and she told me I was beautiful too. I said something along the lines of, ‘Sorry if we are coming across as being awkward, but we are extremely nervous.’ She said the same thing to us. We talked for about a half-hour, although it seemed like an eternity. Angela then said, ‘Are you ready to meet him?’

Courtesy of Heather

I was so nervous walking to the NICU. I didn’t know what to expect. All four of us walked to a corner of the NICU and I laid eyes on the most perfect baby boy in the world. The moment I saw him, I lost all control and started crying happy tears. I knew he was my son. He had all of these wires and a feeding tube attached to him. He looked so fragile. He only weighed 5 pounds. The moment I held him though, he didn’t seem to be all that fragile. Angela and Alex left for a short time and then came back to say goodbye to him. I was holding him and Angela asked me if she could hold him. I said, ‘Of course.’ I watched her hold him one last time. We were both crying. I watched her hold him one last time, so lovingly, so motherly. She took her finger and was circling the soft spot on his head. I was thinking to myself, ‘This woman is crazy for placing her baby with us. We know nothing about being parents.’ She kissed him one last time and left.

Courtesy of Heather

Jayce was in the NICU for 11 days. He was born addicted to methadone. The doctors conducted this test on him to determine if he would need to go on morphine to get over the methadone addiction. I was so nervous about this test. If he failed it, it meant he would be put on morphine and he would be in the NICU until his due date, which was August 10. He ended up passing the test.

I am so thankful we had that much time in the NICU with just our family. Jayce had only four visitors. This gave us the opportunity to get to know each other and spend time together with our precious son, whom we have waited for 7 long years for.

Courtesy of Heather

The days after coming home flew by so fast. We had only a changing table and a few articles of clothing for a baby. My mom and aunt drove from Illinois to buy baby necessities and get the house ready for Jayce. Jayce received so many gifts in the mail. Because I was very open about our adoption journey on social media, Jayce received gifts from people I have never even met in person. I was touched beyond belief.

Courtesy of Heather

We share pictures of Jayce with Angela and Alex through a website. Jayce’s birth mother only messaged me one time. Sadly, there is no relationship between her or Alex. Our attorney did tell us some birth mothers want to be able to see their child is okay and then cut off communication. I continue to share pictures on this website so when and if Angela and Alex ever decide to look at them, they are there for them.

Courtesy of Heather

During the 7-year journey to Jayce, each pregnancy announcement became more and more heartbreaking. Sure, I was happy for my friends and family, but at the same time was so devastated. Mike and I have been trying for so long. It honestly felt like we were not meant to be parents. Mike and I started to distance ourselves from family and friends because we were hurting.

And here we are now, 3-and-a-half years later, hoping to grow our family again through adoption. For those of you struggling with starting a family, please don’t lose hope. You’re probably thinking it’s easy for me to say that because my story had a happy ending. In all honesty, I was losing faith and hope. I have been where you are right now. Your story is not over!”

Courtesy of Heather

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Heather from Indiana. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here, and be be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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