‘I was ‘late,’ but strange things happened. I told Danny I was going to take a pregnancy test. ‘That CANNOT be 2 lines. What is going on?!’ Neither of us could believe our eyes.’

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“‘If you can ever get pregnant, it will be very hard…’ This was the statement delivered by three different OB’s as my husband (Danny) and I sought medical advice. I was 23 at the time, and surprisingly, as depressing as that statement was, we were ok because we knew we would still have children. We had a strong desire to love, parent, and share our lives.

Let me preface by saying, this is not the story I wrote for our family. There is nothing I can, or could do, to control this process. Maybe you’re there too? It’s easy to read or watch someone else’s miraculous story of organic family growth through biological birth, adoption or fostering and say: ‘Yes! That’s exactly what I want!’ Meanwhile, we don’t realize we are feeding an attitude of discontentment and bitterness, forgetting why we started in the first place. We believe this is the story God planned for us, even before the world began.

May 2012: We were moving… again. This time only from Cary, NC to Durham, NC. I was ‘late,’ but strange things like this happened often. I told Danny the night before that I was going to take a pregnancy test when I woke up (just for precaution) and I did.

‘That cannot be 2 lines… I must still be asleep. What is going on?! Did I buy a messed-up test?’

I took some time to process this information – I convinced myself it had to be false. Danny was waking up and I knelt beside his side of the bed, holding the positive test. Neither of us could believe our eyes. We were speechless.

Courtesy of Samantha Anderson

February 2013: On February 1st, 2013, our son Zeke was born. It was the most intense and consuming physical experience of my life. Nothing like I planned or hoped it would be, but the final consummation of holding our son was complete bliss – he was ours.

Courtesy of Samantha Anderson
Courtesy of Samantha Anderson

October 2014: For a year I obsessively tried to get pregnant again, and there never was, and has never again been even a whisper of potential pregnancy. I got lost in myself. I forgot this process was not in my control. My goal was to prove the doctors wrong again, and in the process, I willfully blinded myself and abandoned our intent. The Lord was waiting for me to be reconciled to him, and when that happened, Danny and I both knew it was time to begin the adoption process.

At this point, we got all the questions (and advice) – ‘You know there are other procedures you can try, right?’ ‘Have you both had everything looked at to make sure things are working correctly?’ For Danny and I, honestly, we just knew that wasn’t our future. We chose to forgo the money we would spend on medical procedures that may, or may not, have been successful, and adopt a child who needed the love we had to offer. We were called to adopt. How? By whom? Well, Danny and I are Christians, and we believe that we too were once lost in darkness, without a future or a name. God, in his infinite love, extended himself to us and chose to adopt us as His own.

Michelle Nachnani Photography

November 2014: I threw myself into researching all of the options… foster care, foster-to-adopt, domestic adoption, international adoption…in order to move forward we needed to make a choice.

December 2014: ‘Sam, there is a family we know, and their daughter is pregnant. She and her boyfriend are looking for a family to adopt their child…but she’s due next month.’

As these words of our close friend went through my mind, so did some thoughts that resembled when I saw that positive test a few years before. ‘Is this really happening? It can’t just fall into place this easily… Adoption is HARD. I know people who’ve been trying to adopt for years…’

And in this case, that inner monologue was right. It wasn’t easy. We would go on to meet with this young couple, break a record in completing a home study in under 2 weeks (before her estimated due date), attend a prenatal visit, and anything else we possibly could for a successful placement. She graciously allowed me to be there for her labor, and as soon as I saw her holding her precious child, I realized he was not ours – no matter how desperately I wanted him to be. We literally left the hospital with empty hands.

There were layers and layers for what was going on with everyone involved both mentally and emotionally. I tried to understand, but I still wanted to throw myself down on the floor and scream like a child. This young mother was in complete conflict and didn’t want to commit to parenting her baby alone, but no one would commit with her. After 4 months of waiting for a final answer on their parenting choice, my husband initiated our moving forward with an adoption agency.

April/May 2015: A season of ‘hurry up and wait.’ Paperwork, public profiles, creating an adoption website and a printed booklet to share with birthmothers… these tasks were a priority.

August/September 2015: ‘BIRTH OPPORTUNITY,’ titled emails flooded our inbox weekly from our agency, as we had been a ‘waiting family’ for a couple of months. Then one afternoon, while I was doing the dishes, I received the call we had been waiting for. I barely hung up the phone before I was calling my husband, ‘Danny! She picked us! A birth mom picked us! She wants to meet us!’ The positive-pregnancy-test-feeling rushed over me again. With our social worker, we ventured out to a little Golden Corral to meet the girl who would be the birthmother of our second child, along with her entire immediate family – all of whom would become an extension to our family. She was beautiful, reserved, scared and hesitant, but approachable, and above all, wanted a family who would love her child completely and give him a future. She picked us.

Courtesy of Samantha Anderson

October 2015: It’s 3 a.m. and I am yelling from the bathroom: ‘Danny! Wake up! I just listened to a message and she’s in labor! We missed ALL of the calls!’ We were panicked and we had a 3 hour drive ahead.

‘Come as soon as you can. She’s doing ok but she’s waiting for you,’ her mother reassured me. She wanted us there for the birth, and we wanted to be there more than anything.

5:15 a.m.: ‘How close are you? I don’t know if she can wait much longer,’ her mother (always cool and calm) asked.

We were still 45 minutes away from the hospital, the adrenaline of the initial call had faded, and we were fighting to stay awake. Racing inside the hospital with the florescent lights blinding me, I saw faces that seemed familiar – relatives, who directed me inside her delivery room. I walked into the room. She was literally clenching her legs together. The moment she saw me she surrendered her body, sighing with great relief. Within 30 minutes, our baby boy was born.

I glanced as the nurses took him under the heat lamp to check him, but she was still in pain. I didn’t want to leave her side. I didn’t want to be presumptuous – I had been in this situation before – and I loved her. She was shaking, still finishing her birth…I wanted to help care for her.

‘It’s ok. You can go see him,’ she said with full sincerity. I was terrified and elated, but I believed her. I went to see his stunning face, as breathtaking as the first time I saw Zeke. She wanted me to hold him, and I did. Full of disbelief and gratitude I thought, ‘I can’t believe I’m holding my son, my second son.’

Courtesy of Samantha Anderson
Courtesy of Samantha Anderson

Fully aware that he had not grown inside of me, that I had not labored for him, though I wanted to – I still experienced the most tangible mental development of pregnancy possible. There was not one second where we questioned him as our child.

Courtesy of Samantha Anderson

The rest of our time at the hospital was heavy. We spent about 2 hours with our birth mom and her family immediately after Kai was born, which was incredible. Later, we were given a hospital room and she was just down the hall, yet we only saw her again when it was time to be discharged. We experienced deep joy but also deep sorrow. How could this be so painful? Yes, we had another child, but at the expense of someone else’s deepest pain.

Remember when I said adoption is hard? So excruciatingly hard. But it is also the place where we have experienced tangible grace and the real love of Christ like never before.

So many people asked us along the way, ‘Do you really want to try to do this again?’ or ‘Another young birthmother, are you worried?’ Similar questions, all rooted in fear. Yet, would any of us do anything if all we cared about was avoiding potential suffering?

Courtesy of Samantha Anderson
Courtesy of Samantha Anderson
Courtesy of Samantha Anderson

Kai gets to see his birth mom and her family a couple of times a year. It is hard, fascinating and beautiful all at the same time. Why? Because we love them, and we desire for Kai to have a relationship with them. Will it be messy or complicated? Probably, just like everyone’s family is, but we’re not going to worry about what could potentially happen in the future, today. Our family has grown in ways we never imagined.

Courtesy of Samantha Anderson
Courtesy of Samantha Anderson
Courtesy of Samantha Anderson
Courtesy of Samantha Anderson
Courtesy of Samantha Anderson

We’re adopting again, this time from the country of Colombia. You can follow our story here for updates.”

Michelle Nachnani Photography

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Samantha Anderson of Raleigh, North Carolina. You can follow their adoption journey on InstagramDo you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

Read more beautiful stories of open adoption:

‘It was just her and I. We laid in her bed, holding this sweet boy, talking about the future. As 48 hours passed, it came time for us to leave the hospital. We all walked out together, one family.’

‘It hit me in that moment, this baby is not yet mine. He is hers. I gravitated to her. ‘Do you want to meet your son Miller?’ I took him in my arms and stared down.’

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