‘The birth mother chose you. Get on the road ASAP.’: Mom shares journey to adoption after infertility battle

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Infertility Battle

“My husband and I always wanted a big family. The day we were married in September 2016, I assumed having children would be easy for us, just like for everyone else.

We started getting negative pregnancy tests. Over and over, year upon year, and our hearts were breaking. All of our friends were having children. We felt left out.

There’s not really a place in the world for a couple dealing with infertility. We didn’t fit in with our friends anymore because their whole lives were devoted to diapers and playdates.

We didn’t really fit in with our family because they were busy with their own families and relationships. We were the only married couple at our church who didn’t have children. It was a very low time for us.

After a couple years, we started making trips to various doctors and specialists. We wanted children so badly that we drove four hours, over and over, to see a specialist. When that didn’t work, we flew to Texas to see another specialist.

Years ticked by, and we had no answers. We were the 1 in 100 with unexplained infertility. Gradually, we stepped back from doctors and tests and blood draws, and our hearts became less raw. We took our longing to God in prayer, and He answered us more abundantly than we ever imagined.

husband and wife sitting on a couch with two cats
Courtesy of Ginnie Sutton

Our Decision To Adopt

In May 2021, we both suddenly felt the urge to consider adoption. It wasn’t that adoption was our backup plan. We had discussed it previously, but our hearts weren’t ready for the call until now. Adoption is a calling, not a plan B. During the first few weeks of May, we felt our hearts growing and a strong pull to adoption.

The pull was so strong, we couldn’t ignore it. It was a very peaceful and hopeful decision, because we finally had a purpose in our infertility. Our five years of infertility were lessons in patience, perseverance, and prayer – three key things we needed for an adoption process.

We researched public (state) adoptions versus private adoption and ultimately made the decision to pursue private adoption. Our home state is very proactive in finding forever homes for children in foster care, so we almost had no choice but to do private adoption.

The biggest part of adoption is the cost. When we contacted an agency and discovered private adoptions are between $40,000 and $50,000, our hearts sank. How would we ever raise that kind of money? We took our concerns to prayer and we decided to pursue an interest-free loan and raise money with an adoption fundraiser.

We submitted an application to our agency of choice, and they accepted our application just a few hours later. On May 22, 2021, we sent the agency fee and were signed on. Our journey had started!

yard sale for fundraising for adoption
Courtesy of Ginnie Sutton

Over the next few months, things became very real. Obtaining all the documentation was a full-time job. We needed clearances, affidavits, certificates, physicals, home studies, questionnaires, profiles, training, and photos and videos. We felt very overwhelmed quite frequently.

Our agency prepared us by informing us most families wait a year or two before a match is made with a birth mother. We had a hard time keeping our hopes high because there was always the thought in the back of our minds, ‘What if no one chooses us?’

Finally, after six and a half months of hard work, we were home study approved and our adoption profile was complete! We sat back to wait, knowing the reality was we had at least another year before we’d be matched.

Getting Matched

On February 3rd, a mere nine weeks later, we received a phone call from our agency around 9 a.m. I was home, but my husband was at work, stuck in a meeting without access to his phone. Our adoption counselor told us we had been chosen by a birth mother who was scheduled to leave the hospital later that day. We were a four-hour drive away.

Our adoption counselor told us to throw clothes in a suitcase and get on the road ASAP. I finally got ahold of my husband, and we set out for the hospital in record time. We had no idea what we would need so we didn’t bring anything except clothes and toiletries. On the road, we spoke to the attorneys our agency had hired, and they also stressed the urgency to get to the hospital quickly.

One problem was we needed to bring a certified check with us for various fees, so stopping at the bank would slow us down. When we got to the bank, the line was wrapped several times, and we stood back and discussed what to do. Finally, my husband went to the front of the line and announced our desperation to get back on the road quickly, and everyone was generous and let us cut the line.

We arrived at the hospital three hours later. Thankfully, we found the right campus and parking garage quickly, and rushed into the hospital. Our attorneys met us in the lobby, and we completed some preliminary paperwork and received more information.

Our little baby was a boy, born a few days previously, weighing a mere 4 lbs, 5 oz. He was in the NICU, but very healthy for his size. Our attorneys escorted us up to the NICU; we walked into the unit, pulled back the curtain, and there was our son.

His birth mother was holding him with tears running down her cheeks. In that moment, we knew the sacrifices and heartbreak birth mothers live through. We hugged and cried together, and knew this was the right decision all around.

Shortly thereafter, we were able to hold our son for the first time. He fit into our arms as if we’d been holding him forever. We named him Robert, Robbie for short. His birth mother left the hospital soon after we arrived, and we were granted guardianship of this sweet baby.

We knew he had many more days of NICU, so we snuggled him a few more hours and left to find a nearby hotel.

adopted son wrapped in blankets with a nose breathing tube
Courtesy of Ginnie Sutton

Life At The Hospital

We were giddy with happiness. We were also on pins and needles because his birth mother had 96 hours to change her mind. Of course, we wanted what was best for Robbie and we tried to focus on loving him and leave the rest up to God. Robbie was weaned off oxygen the next day and we were also able to get him to drink a little formula from a bottle.

We spent most of the following days with Robbie, going to our hotel just to sleep. Robbie continued to thrive and soon was taking the majority of his feedings from the bottle instead of the feeding tube.

Slowly, the 96 hours passed, and we met with the attorneys to sign temporary custody paperwork. Five days after we arrived, Robbie’s doctor called us first thing in the morning with the news Robbie was ready to leave the hospital and he wanted to discharge him the next day! We anticipated two weeks but instead, it was less than a week.

father holding his adopted son in the NICU
Courtesy of Ginnie Sutton
Courtesy of Ginnie Sutton

We had no baby items since we planned to run home the following week and get the car seat and baby clothes. We asked the doctor if we could postpone discharge for one day, and we ran to Target to buy everything we needed. We took the hospital’s infant CPR class and Robbie passed his car seat test with flying colors.

We received temporary custody, were discharged from the hospital, and drove an hour to stay with my aunt and uncle.

We couldn’t leave Robbie’s birth state until we received clearances from both his state and our home state. Finally, a week after discharge, we were cleared to bring Robbie home! We had left our house two weeks earlier with hardly anything in our suitcases, but we were coming home as a family of three.

A mere two months later, we legally adopted Robbie. The day his adoption was finalized, we planted a tree which can grow with him. He continues to grow and thrive. He’s a wonderful baby, and we feel like we’ve been his parents forever.

adopted mother holding her son in front of her and smiling
Courtesy of Ginnie Sutton
Courtesy of Ginnie Sutton

Advocating For Adoption Accessibility

Before adopting Robbie, we both doubted we could love someone else’s baby as our own. We were wrong. We love him fully and completely.

He has changed our lives in the best ways possible. The bond we’ve developed with each other is strong and lasting. Adoption is infinitely more beautiful than we anticipated.

Many people are scared of adoption because of the costs. We were blessed with an opportunity to acquire a loan, but many hopeful adoptive families do not have this luxury. We greatly desire to adopt again. We would love to adopt every baby in need, and we intend to scrimp and save every penny to pay off our existing loan and save up for our next adoption.

Courtesy of Ginnie Sutton
adopted son sitting on a picnic blanket outside
Courtesy of Ginnie Sutton

We wish there was a way to lower the costs of domestic private adoption. It excludes many loving families from having the opportunity to grow their family through adoption. Our mission is to spread the word that adoption costs need to be lowered, which we hope will come in the form of more grants and federal aid available to adoptive families, as well as state legislation to reduce the costs associated with legal fees, home studies, and other legal aspects of adoption.

If you’re considering adoption, don’t be scared of the costs. There are many avenues to raise the funds: GoFundMe, fundraising, family help, and interest-free adoption loans offered by various banks and organizations. Some fundraising ideas include: a yard sale, a car wash event, selling t-shirts or other goods, a food fundraiser, and an auction. If the child is meant to come to your family, nothing can stop it from happening, and the funding will work itself out.

Our adopted son is now eight months old and meeting all his milestones. He’s a happy baby, full of joy and love. He’s grown our hearts larger than we ever thought possible.

We know it’s no accident we felt the strong pull to adoption almost overnight. We did the math and he was conceived about the same time. There are no coincidences.

We’re often asked, ‘How did you know you were ready to adopt?’ Our answer is always that we felt so strongly about it and so peaceful that it would have been harder NOT to pursue it. As soon as there’s peace and a willingness to do whatever it takes, you’re ready to pursue adoption.

Listen to the prompting because there are so many children who need good homes and loving adoptive families. Our goal, if we can financially work it out, is to adopt another child every other year as long as we feel called. The desire is so strong to adopt again, we can’t ignore it.”

Courtesy of Ginnie Sutton

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Ginnie, Ryan and Robbie Sutton of Alabama. You can follow Ginnie on Instagram. Join the Love What Matters family and subscribe to our newsletter.

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