“In December 2014, my husband and I decided during a vacation that it was time we start trying for a family. My husband and I had already been married for over a year and most of our close friends already had their own children. It felt like the perfect time. Or so we thought.
About 7 months of trying later, we had yet to get pregnant. I went to speak to with my OB/GYN and after all the tests were done, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Once the year mark hit, we were referred to a reproductive endocrinologist (RE). During this time, my husband Jordan spoke to his doctor and was referred to a urologist for semen analysis. The results on Jordan’s end were all positive.
For me, the results were a bit more elusive. The RE said I was showing signs of PCOS, but had no cysts on my ovaries. It was strictly ‘symptoms.’ So, the official diagnosis from the RE was Non-Cystic PCOS. We were lying in bed that night, discussing the news and I rolled over to Jordan and said, ‘Male infertility is a much simpler process to deal with. I wish it were you.’ When he heard this, it put him back for a second, but he completely agrees. Jordan immediately said, ‘If it could have been me, we would have swapped places immediately.’ It was unfair to feel this way, but at that moment the realization of ‘I am the problem’ overwhelmed me.
February 2016, we started fertility treatments. We opted for Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). This was the most cost-effective treatment and they were confident in the procedure. We discussed IVF, but in Michigan fertility treatments are not covered by medical insurance. With the understanding of the financial undertaking it would be, we dove in head first, paying out of pocket and without any loans. We went into this with a game plan and were confident.
After the first attempt came back with a negative pregnancy test, we kept going. We were still incredibly confident and hopeful. Take 2, we were excited, but more cautious. Once again after our cycle, another negative pregnancy test. The pressure and stress started to build. Take 3, Take 4, Take 5. All negative. Making sure we follow the doctor’s orders perfectly. Strict diet, low impact exercise, walking daily, fertility friendly foods, rest, and NO STRESS. Take 6, 7, 8, 9 and finally attempt number 10. All negatives.
We were roughly 10 months into this and were exhausted and emotionally drained. Schedules, charts, early morning monitoring. We longed for a family and it wasn’t supposed to be this hard. Growing up, we were always told how easy it was to get pregnant. No one prepared us for what would happen if you can’t get pregnant. This was uncharted territory for us, our families, and our friends. No one we knew had gone through this before.
While trying to be supportive as they could, it always felt like they didn’t know how to exactly respond when month after month the news was always negative. Of course, month after month they would keep cheering for us. Hoping, praying, and doing whatever they could to help. From the beginning of treatments, both of us decided to be open about our struggle with friends and family on social media. We wanted other people to feel comfortable talking with us and knowing they are NOT alone.
But 10 tries later, we were done with fertility treatments. We needed a break from doctors, hormones, strict regiments, from new fertility promised miracle foods from internet forums and schedules. We needed time for us to figure out where to go next. We considered IVF and we even considered uprooting our lives to move to a state where fertility treatments were covered. Finally, we came to the conclusion that it was best at that moment for us to put trying for a family on hold. IUI and the hormone injections/pills had taken a toll on my body. We needed to reconnect as a couple. After that point, we took about a year break from any fertility treatments or conscious efforts to start our family. Life got busy again and it kept our minds at bay.
Slowly, by the end of 2017, we got the longing to try and start our family again. At this point, fertility treatments were off the table completely. Naturally, our next step was to start researching the adoption process. We thought about all the possible adoption avenues and decided that we wanted to adopt locally. International adopting wasn’t for us and when we looked at the numbers of children in our own states foster system and on our local adoption website, Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE), it just felt right for us.
We found several local agencies and reached out to 5 of them asking for more information on the adoption process. Only one agency got back to us. Child Safe Michigan in Royal Oak, MI. We spoke with the adoption supervisor and she answered all our questions, explained the process, and invited us to an adoption orientation. Due to the holidays, they didn’t have any new orientations until after the new year. We attend the first orientation we could on February 22nd, 2018 for prospective adoptive parents. We were nervous and excited. I had my long list of questions to ask from all the research I had done. The orientation lasted about 2 hours and when we walked out, we were ready. We felt it. In our heart, our soul we knew this was it.
Next came the FUN stuff. Just kidding.
*Paperwork. It was never ending. Questions about our personal life, seeing if we took care of our puppy (Winnie Belle) properly. Our friends and family were called and questioned. Our finances, our reasons to adopt, any medical issues, any therapy, and how we handled issues in life and everything in between. There was no stone left unturned. We get it. This is the process, it is invasive and of course we moaned and groaned about the mountains of paperwork, but it was worth it. It is for the children’s safety.
*Background checks (state and locally) and fingerprints.
*Home studies. This was the scary part (or we thought)! The agency was coming to our house. To see if we were up to code and how we lived. Obviously, we had checked everything off the list they provided. I vacuumed, no joke, 6 times. Lit a candle. Freaked out if we should make cookies or coffee. Then the day came. It was such a blur. All together it lasted maybe 40 minutes. To be honest, we still laugh about it to this day. We joked later into the process with our social worker about it. She reassured us it isn’t uncommon, but she is there to see how we are as people individually and as a couple.
*Child Questionnaire. This is a hard subject. Makes me want to cry every time. It is hard as an adult to think about leaving a child out. EVER! We knew in our heart of hearts what was best for our family. What needs we could meet and provide for. We very were open. Any sex (male or female), any race, sibling set up to 2 children, and ages 0-7. This opened the door greatly for children within our area.
*P.R.I.D.E Classes. Parent Resources for Information Development and Education. These classes were essential. Of course, they were hours long and we complained and got a good laugh about the horrible 70’s and 80’s VHS tapes (no kidding!) that had never been updated, but looking back now we have used notes and the trainings a good amount of times.
*Finally, additional training classes. These classes were voluntary, but most who attended needed hours for foster licensing or wanted more education on a specific subject. Jordan and I signed up for many classes. No, we were not matched yet, but any additional education to help us in the future was worth it. Knowing we were open to any race (my husband and I are both white), it was essential for us learn how to care for our child/children of another ethnicity if were matched. This meant hair, skin, and culture. Everything. As a parent, you advocate for your child always. This held heavy on our hearts and minds, so these classes were not optional.
Our top 3 classes were:
#1- Natural/Textured haircare. My husband (the only male to have signed up for this class) in a class full of ladies, remembers to this day the instructor saying, ‘This is a judgment free zone, because when you mess up your child of color’s hair and take them into a black salon, that will NOT be judgement free.’ We loved the honesty. That is exactly what we needed to hear. We worked with live models and learned all different types of hair textures. To this day, that class has helped us leaps and bounds.
#2-Transracial Families. The story of a White mom with 4 black sons.
#3-Transracial adoptee. The story of a transracial adoptee who was adopted to white parents in the 70’s.
We were able to see all PRESPECTIVES of transracial adoption. Yes, these classes were all voluntary, but personally if you are open to adoption outside of your race, we highly recommend you make these mandatory for yourself.
October 12th, 2018. After months and months of hard work towards becoming approved adoptive parents, we finally got our APPROVAL! Jordan came home from work. I had balloons and a card to surprise him, but I was already crying and he knew we had been approved.
Next was the wait. We waited patiently to be matched. We checked the MARE website daily. We emailed our social worker asking for any leads on a match. We were excited. Throughout the next few months, our excitement turned to nervousness. Just waiting for a call or email saying we were matched. Every time our phone rang, we ran to it, but nothing.
January 29th, 2019. Jordan had left for an offsite meeting and I was home for the day. My phone rang at about 10 a.m. It was our social worker. She asked if I was busy and said she tried to called Jordan, but he was unable to talk. I heard her voice. She was excited and I knew. I waited for the words. She said, ‘Sydney we have a perfect match for you guys. He is 18 months old, a single child, biracial, and he’s perfect.’ I was speechless. After YEARS, yes YEARS this was the moment and I was speechless.
They told us his background information and let us know he was not photo listed on MARE, but we needed to sign the intent to adopt within a few days. WAIT WHAT?! I vividly remember thinking, ‘You just told us we were matched. We don’t have a photo, and now in 2 days we are signing the intent to adopt.’ Of course, we said YES. There was no second guessing. This was it. Then she said there was one thing that may prolong the adoption. We needed to take over his foster licenses. Jordan and I were only approved adoptive parents. How was this going to work? 2 days later, while signing the intent to adopt, we submitted all our information to the state of Michigan to become foster parents. It was a no brainer.
The next 2 weeks were life changing. We had meeting after meeting, email after email, tons more paperwork (it truly never ends) and then it was the day.
Visitation day #1. The day we met our son. He walked in. Little snowsuit on. Shy, but curious. Didn’t make a peep, but wanted to play. He took my hand and for over an hour, Jordan and I played in a fake kitchen with him.
Visitation day #2. Same routine. He walked in little snowsuit on. Didn’t make a peep. We played in the fake kitchen for over an hour. It was incredible. We were over the moon with joy. We gave him a hug, said I love you, and walked with his current foster mom to the car. As we split to walk in opposite directions, I hear, ‘MOMMA.’ I turned around and his current foster mom (who did not go by momma) said, ‘Sweetheart he is calling for you. His MOMMA.’ My heart exploded. Jordan was in tears and almost pushed me into a snow bank he was so excited. I had never been called mom. The whole drive home I cried.
Throughout the next month, I picked him up Fridays after naptime and on Monday morning I would drive him to day care. Leaving him those 5 days a week, while waiting for our foster licenses to be approved, was the hardest thing we had ever done. We sat in the car silently on the drive home, crying together. Everytime. It never got easier.
March 22nd, 2019. 9 a.m. sharp. I got the call from our licensing specialist. Our foster licenses were approved. I still have the email from multiple social workers and supervisors congratulating us on our approval and the big move! It was GO time. Time for the BIG move. 2 days later, our son officially moved in with us.
Michigan state law requires children who are pending adoptive placement live with their approved adoptive parents for 6 months. We counted down every single day. Monthly we had foster and adoption visitations. Just checking in, answering any questions we had, making sure the transition was going smoothly for all of us and getting everything together for the big day.
September 22nd, 2019. 6 months mark. 4 days before that our agency petitioned the state of Michigan to approve an official adoption. Within a week, we had our adoption day.
THE BIG DAY. October 9th, 2019. ADOPTION DAY! Our hearing was at 2 p.m. sharp. I was up early, crying all morning and already dressed, ready to go hours before. We arrived at the court house at 1:30 p.m. We were not going to be late. Our families and close friends met us there. We waited outside courtroom #5. We were called in. This was it. The judge was presented and the first thing he said was, ‘WOW! I had never seen this much family at an adoption before.’ I was taken back. These people were our village and no way was this day going to happen without them there! It took 8 minutes. 8 WHOLE minutes. During these 8 minutes our son, said ‘CHEESSSSEEEE’ to the camera the whole time and proceeded to fart on my husband’s lap then laughed about it. It was official! He was a Newman.
Over 4 years. Thousands of tears. Millions of prayers. Our village of family and friends. One phone call later.
To our son,
We will always be here for you night and day. We are your biggest supporters and biggest fans.
We have fought for you more than you will ever know and will always do so.
You are our perfect.
Momma and dada love you.”
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This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Sydney and Jordan Newman of Waterford, Michigan. You can follow their journey on Instagram here and here Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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