‘It’s a call I’ll never forget. Her biological mom wanted her back. Never to be held by us again.’: Mom reflects on her tumultuous journey into motherhood

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“As long as I can remember, I’ve always had a heart for adoption. I didn’t know how many children or where they would be born, but I knew in the depths of my heart, it was what I was meant to do. I come from a family of 9 children, 5 of whom are adopted. So for me, adoption is such a natural subject for me. When I met my husband at 16 years old, I matter-of-factly told him I was going to adopt children. He thankfully was on board and so we continued our fun years of dating. We got married after 4 years together and then decided it was time to start a family of our own. We naturally began the process and naively thought we would have a baby within the year. Weeks turned into months and months turned into years and we knew something was wrong. We spent countless hours at doctors’ offices and specialist appointments, and ultimately we ended up at a fertility clinic. 3 long, emotionally-draining, and unsuccessful months of fertility treatments left us disheartened, beaten, and empty. I felt so depleted.

Now, as I said, I always wanted to adopt, but I also always wanted to carry a child in my womb as well. It was very difficult for us to receive the news we had a less than 1% (actually they technically said a .001% chance) of conceiving a child.

We took some time to grieve the news, and with prayer and leaning on each other and our family and friends, we picked ourselves up and began another dream of ours. The journey was equally exciting, and we would soon find out, equally exhausting. I will only touch briefly on our first adoption because it is a very sensitive and sacred part of my life, but I feel like even though it was a somewhat short period of time, it in itself secures a big piece of the puzzle in my life story. It has molded me into the woman I am today.

We adopted our first daughter after 3 years of yearning for a child. She was everything we could have ever dreamt of and more! She was perfect. Literally an angel. She was placed in my arms in the hospital just hours after birth and I knew at that very moment I was her mother. All was well in the world. I had become who I always wanted to be. A mother. We took her home and showed our new daughter off to the world as all proud parents do. I had prepped my body for months prior so that I could breastfeed her to encourage bonding. She took to it right away and I was on cloud 9. It felt too good to be true.

6 days after newborn bliss, we got the most difficult call of our lives. It’s a call I’ll never ever forget. The voice. The solemnness. Her biological mother wanted her back. I don’t remember any other words that were said after that. The floor had fallen from beneath me. It felt like I had been punched in the stomach. I wanted to cry and vomit at the same time. But nothing happened. I froze. And that was the worst day of my life.

We had to comply with BC adoption laws or face legal action. So we drove four long, excruciating hours to do the unthinkable. Hand our sweet baby over. Never to be held by us again. So we did, and to this day, I don’t know how I did it.

The months after were a blur. I didn’t leave the house unless absolutely necessary and my husband took some time off work to grieve and to care for me. We were broken into a thousand pieces with no hope of ever climbing out of this hole of such anguish.

I believe, however, after every storm comes a rainbow. And our brilliant, bright, and SO-desperately-needed rainbow was our son Sawyer. We pulled ourselves together after months of grieving and we decided that we needed to begin the process of trying to grow our family again. It was a very vulnerable time in my life. I was just coming out of the most traumatic life experience and was going back into the world of adoption that had just broken me. We started the adoption journey and after a few months, we got the call that a birthmother had chosen us! We were ecstatic! The baby was due to be born later that year. We got on a flight the next week and met this wonderful woman who was carrying our sweet child. We fell in love instantly, and still to this day we absolutely LOVE her and often have conversations.

Our sawyer was born 4.5 months before he came home to us. I won’t get into the details of why because there were a lot of people involved and it’s not only my story to tell. But we knew of sawyer and were ‘matched’ with him 4 months before he was even born. After meeting his birth mother, we started buying baby clothes, set up the nursery, and stocked up on diapers with the hope we would have our sweet boy home soon in our arms. Then the day came. He made his entrance into this world and we were over-the-moon-happy! But the next 4.5 months were extremely difficult. we watched as our sweet baby grew up without us by his side. It was absolutely heartbreaking every single day to know I couldn’t be there to hold and kiss him every minute of every day. We lived for the daily emails of photo and video updates, it was the only thing keeping helping us survive. I hoped this soon would all be over and we would be together as a family.

We had a court date that we so anxiously waited for. I remember pacing around my house that whole morning with my heart beating faster than it ever has in my life. waiting anxiously for THE call. Waiting for words that would change our lives forever. I had no idea if it would be good news or bad. It was either going to shatter our hearts or lift this massive weight off my shoulders that I had been carrying for so, so long. all I knew was that a decision was about to be made and it was completely out of our control. All we could do was pray. The phone rang and I remember that all I heard was the words ‘He’s yours.’ Even as I type this, I get goosebumps all over again just hearing those two simple words. I don’t remember what else was said after that because I had heard all I needed. Less than 18 hours later we were on a flight to Florida to meet our sweet son. (A fun fact; We got the call that Sawyer was ours exactly one year from the day that we lost our first daughter. Talk about redemption of a date. Our story is full of these ‘coincidences’ (aka God’s handiwork) over and over again.)

So, after flying into Florida, we waited patiently as his caretakers were on their way over to the adoption agency to bring our son to us. My foot couldn’t stop bouncing. I was hot, anxious, and could not be settled. Then the words, ‘They just pulled into the parking lot,’ were said and I immediately burst into tears. I felt in my spirit that he was near and all the emotions flooded and overwhelmed me. They walked in and I layed my tear-filled eyes on him, and it was all so instant. The love. The joy. The healing. I tell people this often but it’s true, he healed me in more ways than I could ever explain. Sawyer filled a gaping hole in my body. It seemed like I hadn’t started really living until I became his mother. He gave me purpose. He put me back together again after being so broken.

The year that followed was much more ‘normal’ when it came to motherhood. We never stopped ‘trying’ to conceive and we believed that maybe, just maybe, we’d experience a miracle. We decided that we were ready for baby #2 so we jumped back into the adoption world again. We were quickly matched with a birth mother due in less than a month. Well, God had another glorious plan in mind. We found out that after 6 years of waiting, I was blessed to be pregnant! It was the most incredible surprise! We blew all the doctors away and held tight to every day that our sweet miracle continued to grow in my belly. Georgia was born on the 4th of July, and labor and delivery was everything I had hoped it would be and more! It was a beautiful, sacred day that I’ll forever remember. It was an experience that I never thought I would be so blessed to have!

Photo credit: Kootneyphotos

A little after a year later,  we again felt like our family wasn’t quite complete so yet we jumped back into the adoption world! This time, we knew exactly where our heart was leading us: Japan. When I say that Noa is my ‘dream baby’ I mean that in the most literal sense. 7 years ago I had a dream that was so ingrained into my heart that it changed the course of my life. I dreamt that I was sitting quietly on my couch, cradling a sweet, little Asian baby. It was a bird’s eye view and I was watching myself in the third person staring down at her, rocking her back and forth. It was surreal to see myself being a mother because, at this point in my life, I had no children. I woke up and knew, without a doubt, that this was a sign of what was to come.

Courtesy of Skye Schutte

I felt as if she was already my daughter, I just hadn’t held her… yet. I told my husband, and he immediately felt the same peace and confidence as I did. It resonated so deeply in both our hearts that we knew this was God’s plan for us.

So we waited and waited for the perfect timing, for the doors to open, and for us to move forward into bringing this 6-year-old dream to fruition. Our process to bring her home had God’s hand over every single step. Every step of the way just fell into place so naturally and easily. It felt like it was laid out for us and we knew this was exactly where we were supposed to go. The agency told us it would be about a year until we could maybe bring our baby home. Well, 2 months in we got the call from our agency.’So, just how soon are you ready for a baby?’  Turns out a year was more like 3 months. My husband and I, and our 2 small children, traveled to Japan in February and held our sweet Noa one month after she was born. We named her Noa which means ‘my love’ in Japanese. I call her my dream baby. She is my easiest baby so far and is always content. She is such a blessing in our lives and fits right in with this crazy, wonderful family. She was placed in our arms at exactly 1 month and 1 day old, and just like that, as I held her and rocked her back and forth, sitting on my couch in my living room, 6 years of yearning for my dream to be fulfilled, it was. It was like deja-vu. Except I wasn’t watching myself out of body, I was living reality. Holding my sweet baby girl. My dream come true.

Now just to make things a little more interesting than they already are, we arrived home with our new daughter in tow to find out just weeks after becoming a family of 5, we were expecting another little one due to beginning of December! We tell people, ‘We went to Japan for one baby and came home with two!’

Our sweet Hallie was born December 8th, which makes her and Noa 10.5 months apart. Irish twins are the title for this kind of sisterhood. Both born in the same calendar year. I would be lying if I were to say that during pregnancy I wasn’t at all terrified and anxious at the new season of life that was before me. A 5-year-old, 2-year-old, 10.5-month-old AND a newborn. It took me months to even begin to come to peace with the situation. But boy, let me tell you, I wish I could go back in time and tell my pregnant self that it was all going to be just fine. That it is chaotic. And crazy busy. But it’s also so wonderful. And beautiful. And fun. And SO worth it all. People ask me often how I do it, and it always takes me by surprise because I have to stop and think if I actually have a recipe for success with raising a handful of small children. But I don’t. I wish I did. I’m sure it would be helpful to the other mothers in the same season of motherhood. But what I tell people is, ‘You just do it,’ and that’s simply what you do. You just put one foot ahead of the other and take it day by day. It becomes your new normal and new routine. Us mothers are stronger and more capable than we could ever believe in ourselves. It just takes an extraordinary situation to push us just a little past our comfort zone to realize that we indeed are SO very capable and worthy to be these little people’s mothers.

Now if you’ve read it this far, thank you for tagging along. You’ve noticed my journey to motherhood does not look like most, but I assure you, it has all the components of motherhood. Heartbreak. Exhaustion. Fear. Worry. Stress. Pain.

BUT it also has Redemption. Joy. Fulfillment. Love. Contentment. Hope. And that’s what I think connects us with each one of these stories. We can relate to those emotions. Maybe in different circumstances, I’m sure, but in our deepest mother hearts, that connection is there. No one is exempt from the trials that being a mother brings. It makes us stronger and love harder.

Sharing my story with you is not to prompt pity or to scare you from motherhood or adoption. It’s to encourage and to let you know that in those darkest moments, we have the ability and strength to climb out of that valley and wait for our rainbow to be revealed. Please know that through all the pain and darkness that I’ve walked through in these past 10 years, it has been far outweighed by the joy and light that my 4 beautiful babies have given me. This is a path I would choose to walk again and again because I know that at the end of this journey, it leads me straight to them. To being their mother.

And that is the greatest gift I will ever receive.”

Courtesy of Skye Schutte
Courtesy of Skye Schutte

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Skye Schutte of Vancouver, B.C. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

Read more powerful stories about adoption:

‘Someday, I hope we meet again.’ She didn’t forget me. They regretted the adoption. ‘We can take care of you.’: Mom re-adopts baby she gave up at birth 18 years later, learns to ’embrace the journey’

‘When will we get our baby brother?’ We needed $4,000 and had no idea how to come up with that money.’: Couple embark on adoption ‘roller coaster,’ community unites to raise money’

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