“I remember saying out loud to my husband before we had children, ‘I love adoption, but I just don’t feel called to it.’ Even as I said it I wasn’t sure if it was true, but I wanted it to be. Shortly after our first daughter was born, I attended a business retreat and the speaker talked about her own adoption journey. I sat with tears streaming down my face. My heart was slowly being prepared by God for what was to come. Our journey to both of our daughters was hard fought. My husband, Drew, and I got married a little later in life and began a family later than most. I gave birth to our first daughter, Lyla, a 32-week NICU preemie. We started trying to get pregnant again when Lyla was eighteen months old. Expecting it to happen as quickly as it did the first time, we were pretty stunned when it didn’t. I started to see my OB who was ‘sure’ we would get pregnant in 1-2 cycles of IUI. That was in the fall of 2017. We were paying cash each month for the meds and procedures.
Every woman who battles infertility knows the joys of pills and shots that mess with your hormones and mimic the symptoms of early pregnancy. Each and every month I battled mentally, trying to remember all those early pregnancy feelings were caused by the meds. I stayed up late, night after night, Googling, trying desperately to convince myself even though the test showed negative again, there was hope for a positive the next day. I psychoanalyzed every spot, every ache, every feeling, and made myself absolutely miserable. My body took the toll from those meds and the stress. I was heading for a breakdown, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Secondary infertility is extremely lonely, because people don’t know it’s a thing. We often heard comments from well-meaning family, asking when we would have our second baby. Each and every time, it was like someone punched me in the gut. I felt like I didn’t fit in anywhere.
As I chased a two year old around, I certainly didn’t fit in with the women who struggled to get pregnant with their first, but I also didn’t fit in on the playground with the moms who were complaining about being pregnant again! Everyone in my circle seemed to be pregnant so easily and it all hurt so much! I felt guilt for feeling so sad when I had a beautiful, healthy daughter. Infertility affects one in eight women, with one in eleven facing secondary infertility. Something I learned through this process is there are no qualifications for feelings. You do not need to ‘earn’ the right to feel sad or grieve for what you desired for your family. I also learned you can feel two things at once. I felt overjoyed with my daughter and sad for the loss of the dream of carrying a second at the same time. You are allowed to feel both!
The moment that changed everything in this process is when I stopped asking (begging and pleading) for God to put a baby in my body. I remember very clearly the night I switched the prayer to bring me a baby any way He saw fit. My broken heart was at its max. God had been laying adoption on my heart but I had pushed it out. I wanted so badly to carry another baby. After our last failed IUI cycle, I collapsed in Drew’s arms in the kitchen sobbing. I could not do it anymore, and I had been having a hard time finding the words to tell him. We had tried to get pregnant for almost two years. I felt like I was letting him down. He was the thrifty saver in our relationship, and we had already been out thousands of dollars. He said he knew I couldn’t keep going with the rollercoaster of emotions every month and we should start researching adoption.
I remember wandering around a bookstore, crying and looking for books. I had so many fears, so many questions. I found a book that broke down every fear we had and provided info and scripture to help. Drew’s greatest fear was the cost of adoption. Mine was never being ‘matched’ (chosen by a birth mom) or having a failed match. We told our families in May of 2019 and I posted for prayers on my social media. I had suffered in silence for too long. Our families were very supportive and excited! We quickly realized the process is very involved and decided to hire an adoption consultant to help us. I thought we would never get through applying for multiple adoption agencies. We had background checks, paperwork, physicals, and meetings with a social worker for our home study. We had to study drugs and their effects on unborn babies, as well as how to raise a child of another race. It was simply a lot. I was so thankful to have hired our adoption consultant to hold my hand!
In December 2018, Drew, Lyla, and I stood in front of our Christmas tree in our matching Christmas jammies. On the day I had looked forward to for months, I was hit by an overwhelming sorrow. Almost a panic, I barely breathe. I struggled to focus and enjoy the day. The only words for the feeling was someone was missing. I could feel our baby was out there. We hadn’t even begun seeing adoption cases yet, but from that day on, every time I locked the door at night it almost brought me to my knees. I felt I was locking one of my children out of the house for the night. Someone was missing from their bed. I believe fully the Lord laid this feeling on my heart that day. He squeezed my heart daily so I didn’t quit the search even when it was so hard I wanted to. We would later find out our baby was conceived that week, a few days before Christmas!
In January, we began the hardest part of the journey for me. My inbox would either be completely empty or full to the brim with cases. We were tasked with choosing only one at a time. I lived in constant fear of choosing wrong. I had to be reminded over and over God would not let us miss our baby. We heard no from expectant moms almost twenty times. I had begun to despair we would never be chosen. I began wondering if maybe I had gotten it wrong and it wasn’t God’s will after all. Case after case passed us by. Every day we had to make a decision. Say yes? Say no? Add another agency? Five months later we hesitantly decided to add two agencies to our profile. As I was sitting worried and unsure about spending the $800 to apply, my mom texted and said she got a small commission and would give it to us. It was almost exactly $800! I sat in awe of the little love letter from God letting us know He was still with us. I got started right away on those two applications.
One of them was my LONGEST and HARDEST. The day after I paid overnight shipping for the application they raised their application fee to $2000! We were grandfathered in by the skin of our teeth. Three months later, we would match with THAT agency. The day we were presented with our daughter’s case we had nine cases. I knew which case I wanted. Drew pointed right to Aubrey’s case and said, ‘That’s the one.’ A few days later, I got an email from the agency that she had chosen us. My spirit soared! I have never been so happy or relieved in my life. Drew, Lyla, and I danced around in our bedroom and celebrated. My daughter was yelling, ‘We’re getting a sister baby!’ We took a picture in our front yard to tell the world about our match. We were cautiously optimistic. We had one month to get prepared. I refused to have a baby shower or do anything more than get our baby things out of storage. I tasked my friend with the job of coming to our house and putting all of it away before we returned if the match failed.
We met Mama K in person for the first time in the lobby of the Nevada hospital in September of 2019. She asked us to be in the delivery room with her for the birth, which was a great honor! It was very difficult, however, to walk into the delivery room with a woman who planned to put her baby in your arms. She was induced and her labor lasted two long days. What happened in that space for 48 hours was truly a great blessing. She told us everything in her life which had led to this moment, and all her hopes and dreams. We shared freely about our life as well. She told us the moment she viewed our profile book she started crying and said, ‘This is the one.’ We told her how we both individually picked her case. We all three had chosen each other separately! She also told us about the twists and turns in her journey to us. Our baby had almost been someone else’s! God had been very busy during our wait, straightening our path to Aubrey.
The birth of our daughter, Aubrey Joy, was one of the most painful, yet beautiful, things I have ever witnessed. I had the privilege of cutting the cord. Mama K held her first and we both sobbed. I was terrified seeing her tears as she held her. Not only was I hit with a wave of empathy for her grief, I was filled with fear she would change her mind. I was trying hard to guard my heart and see the baby as hers until she made her final decision. Drew, however, went right into the role of proud Papa just as he did when Lyla was born! The three of us spent a few hours together for the first feeding, changing, and bath. We took pictures together I will cherish forever and share with our daughter. I am so grateful for those memories of her birth I can tell her about when she is older. Aubrey Joy was born on a Friday night, and because of Nevada law, Mama K was not able to sign relinquishment papers until Tuesday morning.
We spent several days getting attached to her, wondering if she would really be ours. I can’t ever remember being so nervous. I barely ate or slept. Tuesday morning finally came, and we got the text she signed the papers. A weight had been lifted from my heart! She was ours! We were overjoyed. Six months later, we finalized the adoption and gave her our last name. During this journey, we learned to let go of control and trust God fully.
He grew our hearts three sizes and changed our minds about things I never thought possible. We worried we wouldn’t be able to love an adopted child as much as our biological child. People tell me all the time they could never adopt because they want children of ‘their own.’ It’s a hurtful choice of words, but I know they simply don’t understand. She is our own child! We love her every bit as much as our biological daughter.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Nikki Wheeler Douglas of Fort Worth, Texas. You can follow their journey on Instagram and Facebook. 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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