“When I was two and a half years old, my mother asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I very clearly and decisively told her, ‘A mommy.’ I was certain. The rest of my life as I grew up, that sentiment never changed either. As long as I can remember, my deepest desire was to be a wife and a mama.
Throughout high school, classmates had big plans and careers they intended for themselves…meanwhile my school projects of my future included a husband, 3 kids (at least), and family vacations to the beach. Many may not have understood (sometimes I didn’t even understand). I know some people and peers even saw it as a lack of ‘drive.’ But nothing swayed me in my desire for a family.
When I finally met the right man (one who was excited that I wanted to be a stay-at-home mama!), this dream of having a family finally seemed like it could be a reality for me. I mean not only was he handsome and brilliant, but he also wanted a big family too! After dating 4 years, and being engaged 1 year, we were married in November of 2014, and were ready to start a family pretty immediately. The thought of giving my husband a child thrilled me. I knew he was going to be such an amazing dad to our children, and I would be the mother that would dote lovingly on all my children. There was no doubt in my mind that this was going to happen for us.
Then 1 month, 4 months, 7 months, and then a year went by….and no pregnancy. Month after month we went through the roller coaster of emotions that comes from trying and failing to get pregnant. I was inconsolable. Everyone told me to wait until we heard officially from a doctor if there were any issues, but deep down I knew something was wrong. I just knew.
I remember countless hours lying curled up in a ball on the bathroom floor, crying and clutching yet another negative pregnancy test, willing it with everything in me to turn positive. I remember stifling my cries in the bathroom at work after learning yet another co-worker was pregnant. I remember people asking my husband and I, ‘When are you going to start a family?’ Meanwhile my husband is gripping my hand tightly because he knows a bit of my heart breaks every time we were asked.
We finally met with my OBGYN who of course put us through the ringer of tests. Cold, sterile rooms with several strangers in lab coats operating equipment. Uncomfortable procedures (physically and emotionally) with no promising results. These tests were hard, embarrassing, and trying. The only thing that got me through those pokes, prods, and blood withdrawals was knowing that we would finally get some answers! We would know what the issue was so we could fix it and get pregnant, right? Right?
That was when we were dealt a low blow. We were diagnosed with unexplained infertility. I didn’t even know unexplained infertility was a thing. I thought surely with our medical advances, anything could be solved! Turns out, I was very wrong. Our medical team told us we could continue onto the next steps of fertility treatments, however they could not accurately give us any kind of percentage for success, as they did not know where our issues were. They said we would be proceeding with NO way of knowing if any of these treatments would work.
We went ahead and went through with 5 fertility treatments. They ended up being 5 failed treatments. If I thought the initial infertility was bad, it was nothing to the failing of these treatments. I had so much hope…so much expectations. I felt completely broken.
It was then that my husband approached me and asked for us to just stop. Stop with the trying, the pills, the diets, the doctors, the treatments, the shots…all of it. He was exhausted. I was exhausted. He told me maybe God had other plans for us, and that maybe our ideas of how to become parents were different than His plans for us. That was when we considered becoming foster parents. We decided to take the classes, the hours of training and book work, and eventually became licensed foster parents.
We honestly had no idea what to expect, but we felt ready for whatever came our way. Mere weeks later, we got a call, and within the hour, we took in 2 young boys.
I would be lying if I said it was instantly wonderful. Those first few months were….difficult. These children were not bouncing, cooing little babies They were young children, just two and four years at the time, struggling with loss and trauma. It was rough for awhile, but as time went on, we found a routine that led to stability and structure. We provided safety and love, and they blossomed. Honestly, we blossomed too. We became parents to these sweet boys, and we grew to love them with our everything. It was difficult, as in foster care, reunification with the biological parents is always the first option for children. The risk of losing them was always there, but we couldn’t love them in half measures. They needed our whole hearts, and we ended up giving them freely.
Those 2 boys hold my heart, yet there was just this strong desire deep down in me that still wanted a baby to raise from infancy. It was a crazy feeling, but it never went away. It was then we looked into domestic infant adoption. We matched with an adoption agency, and followed all the steps in order to proceed. We did the home study, filed the paperwork, had home inspections. We felt like we were on the right track. It was a lot. But all the stress, meetings, and paperwork would be worth it, right? All that was left was waiting to be matched with a birth mother….but not before all the rejections.
We were rejected numerous times, and were waiting for months for someone to choose us. But someone eventually did.
In October of 2018, we were chosen by an expectant mother. We were elated! Finally, it seemed like it was our turn. We had a baby girl that was due in February! It was as if all the pieces of our puzzle was falling together. Family and friends threw us baby showers, a nursery was prepared, and she was given a name: Julia. As February drew closer, life seemed surreal. Our family would be whole.
1 week before baby girls due date, we received a 1 sentence email from our agency: ‘We are sorry to report that the mother has decided against adoption for her child.’
I was broken. I was angry. I felt lost. I was happy that a family was staying together, but I was heartbroken for my own. I was at a loss at how to grieve for a child I had loved for months, but had never even met. I cried often to God during this time asking him simply, ‘Why?’ I couldn’t walk into the baby nursery for months after that. I didn’t want to see the ultrasound of the little girl we were expecting hanging on the wall. I didn’t want to see the pink star pillow I hand picked and special ordered for her. I didn’t want to see the bows that lined the hooks on the wall. I just wanted Julia, but I never spoke of her. It just hurt too much.
In May, my husband decided we needed to get out of our funk. He booked a trip to the beach, just us two. We relaxed, reconnected, and enjoyed each other’s company. Then one night, on May 14th 2019, after months of silence, we finally talked about ‘our’ baby. We mourned together over what was lost, and spoke again of the future. My husband took my hands and told me earnestly, ‘Rachel, I think we just need to wait. I just feel like God is going to just put a child into our lives when we aren’t expecting it.’ So we made a pact that night. We would wait on God.
Two days later, we flew home from the beach. Not 2 hours after we land that very day, we learn of a woman who had a baby boy. She was in the hospital, and wanted to place her child up for adoption. We were asked if we wanted to meet her. So, we went to the hospital and met this incredibly strong and beautiful young woman. We sat for hours talking, learning about her, her story, and what she wanted for her son’s life. That was when the sweetest baby boy was wheeled into the room, and I was able to hold him. They called him AJ. As soon as I saw him, my heart knew…I would do anything for him.
It was then we learned AJ was born on May 14th. The very night we made a pact to each other, and God, to wait on His timing. It was also then that she gave us the biggest blessing of our lives. She wanted us to raise AJ, adopt him, and be his parents for the rest of his life.
Now our story includes 3 precious sons. Our boys are growing, thriving, and strong. They are kind, brave, and happy. They are loved more than they could ever know. And all 3 share our last name. We have been able to FINALLY make official what was known in our hearts all along. We are a family!
Every time I relive our story, I still am in awe. Years ago, this would have never seemed possible. In the past, I remember sinking to the very bottom of grief and despair. I know the loss pain that comes from infertility, failed fertility treatments, and adoption loss. But everything I went through led me to my beautiful family today, and I would go through it all over again and again to get my 3 boys.
I know it is easy for me to say that now, especially now having come out the other end. I remember hearing those kinds of words too, and not believing them. But if my story can represent anything, it is that life may never go the way we plan. It may never look like the ‘sketch’ we have in our head. But life and God have a way of orchestrating something even more beautiful.
What you go through today is only preparing you for what is meant to happen in your life. One day, it will all make sense, and you will look back at your story in awe, just like I do now. You will see how every moment and decision was orchestrated. Until then, do not lose heart. Do not lose hope! You are a stronger than you know. You are more resilient than you know. Your story will truly help others one day.
That is one thing that has come out of this that I never expected. The amount of women and men that have reached out to us, and shared their stories, understood our grief, encouraged us, or even asked us questions. People who know us are now considering adoption, or foster care, and that may be one of the best outcomes I could have ever asked for.
Love knows no bounds, and family is not constrained to matching DNA. To be honest with you, the biggest difficulty in my life was that I was unable to have children biologically. And yet, the biggest blessing of my life was not being able to have children biologically. Because it led me here.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Rachel Hakim. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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