“I believe out of our deepest trials come some of the greatest blessings and lessons we are asked to learn. I feel like that is how my whole life has been and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
I come from a big family of five siblings, so I knew I wanted a big family when I got married and prepared to start having kids. While I was in junior high and high school all the girls started their periods but I didn’t start until the end of my junior year. I wasn’t too worried because it was pretty common amongst the girls in my extended family.
This became a worry for me when I had a physical prior to my 18-month service mission, for my church, to England. The doctor was aware of my inconsistent periods so she prescribed me some medication to help me have regular periods during that time.
After I got home from my mission, I met my amazing husband. We dated for one month before getting engaged and were married three months later in August of 2015. We were eager to start our family so we tried getting pregnant shortly after our marriage. We tried for one year without any success. By then it was time to see a doctor to figure out what was going on. That day when we went to the doctor changed my life. As I was sitting on the examination table the doctor looked me sadly in the eyes and said, ‘You have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).’
I wasn’t sure what that diagnosis entailed; I just new it wasn’t good news. I felt like my dreams of being a mother were shattered into a thousand pieces and the dream was no longer attainable. For those of you who don’t know what PCOS is, it’s a common hormonal disorder which causes infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods or excess male hormone (androgen) levels. The ovaries may develop numerous small collections of fluid (follicles) and fail to regularly release eggs.
When you are diagnosed with PCOS, the first step in trying to help you get pregnant is to take medications that help you ovulate. I was prescribed various rounds of these medications and at various dosages. Still no success. If those medications don’t work then the next step is to start IUI or artificial insemination procedures. The doctor’s usually recommend six rounds of these treatments before moving on to In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Before you do the artificial insemination procedures, however, you give yourself a shot, a day before, to help you ovulate. I HATE shots so that was something I had to get used to very quickly.
In my mind, these IUI procedures were our golden ticket to finally get pregnant, so I was very hopeful. After the procedure, you wait two weeks to take a pregnancy test. Those weeks filled with me with hope, anxiety, and anticipation. During those two weeks I would envision my cute husband with our little boy or girl, playing in our backyard. I would daydream about where the baby room would go and how I would decorate it, who our baby would look like, and what their name could be. My first IUI was unsuccessful, then the second, then the third, and then the fourth – all unsuccessful.
During infertility you go through this vicious cycle of hopelessness because you can’t get pregnant on your own, hope because you are doing everything you can to help you get pregnant, anticipation as you wait to see if the drugs or procedures work or not, and then back to hopelessness or full-on despair when they don’t work. And round and round you go.
I would not wish infertility on anyone. It sucks the life out of you, shatters your dreams, and makes you feel like you are worthless, broken, incapable of being a woman because your body doesn’t work like your sister’s or friend’s. During the three years of these infertility procedures I felt like I had failed as a women and I had failed my husband because I could not get pregnant. It was all my fault because my body was broken! Many, many tears were shed during those three years.
Road To Adoption
After the fourth failed procedure, our doctor informed us we could try only two more before she referred us for IVF. Adoption had always been in the plan for my husband and I so we decided to go that route instead of moving forward with the two procedures and IVF. We felt like our odds of adopting were greater than IVF and we could be spending about the same amount of money. So why not adopt like we always wanted to?
I had to learn to let go of my dreams of having kids that looked like my husband and I and face the fact my body works differently and that’s OKAY. I believe we are created by a loving and perfect God and He never makes mistakes, so there was no way He made a mistake when He created me this way.
When you decide to adopt you need to complete a home study where a licensed social worker comes to your home a couple times over the course of three months and makes sure you are fit to adopt. There is a lot of training involved, lots of paperwork and background checks. Once our home study was done we conducted a lot of research and talked with other couples looking to adopt to try and figure out what path we wanted to pursue. Did we want to use a local agency, consultant, or a lawyer? We eventually decided to hire an adoption consultant.
An adoption consultant acts as a liaison between you and adoption agencies to help you connect with expectant mothers who are looking to make an adoption plan. With the help of our consultant, we submitted our profile book (book with pictures and information about our family expectant mothers can look at) to multiple expectant mothers and each time they chose another family. The emotional roller coaster I experienced during infertility returned.
After waiting what seemed like a lifetime, we were picked by an expectant mother who was due with a little boy. We were so excited and could not wait to meet her and the little boy she was carrying. When her due date came (February 2019) we drove from Nebraska, where we were living, to Kentucky. We met this amazing, selfless woman and anxiously waited in the hospital waiting room.
After waiting all day, literally (we arrived at the hospital at 6 a.m. and he was born at 7 p.m.), we walked into the delivery room and saw our son sleeping in his little crib. The joy I felt that night overshadowed all the despair I had felt years before. I cannot describe it; I felt like my heart was going to explode and I just cried. We were able to hold him and my life felt complete. I was finally a mother.
Things To Know
Adoption is hard and not for the faint of heart, but it is so worth it. The day we got our son was one of the best days of my life but also the hardest. Adoption is full of joy but it is also full of heartache. Saying goodbye to my son’s birth mother, as she was wheeled out of the hospital, was one of the hardest days of my life.
My heart was so full but was also being ripped out of my chest at the same time. We owe his birth mother everything. She is the most courageous woman because she placed her son with basically complete strangers to give him a better life that she felt she couldn’t give him. We are forever grateful for her.
When we were going through the adoption process my husband was in his second year of dental school so we were broke college students. Since adoption can be so expensive (30-60k), we could not have done it without the help of our friends, family, and random strangers that helped us raise money so we could bring our son home. It really does take a village to help raise a child, or in our case, it takes a village to adopt a child.
Fast forward to the Spring of 2022. Motherhood is amazing and hard and tests your limits. I have a feisty and very independent toddler on my hands. My days are full of endless snacks, diaper changes, tantrums, and power struggles. As a parent you give your whole self to these little humans so I felt like I had lost myself, who I was, my purpose, and my hobbies. I felt like there was something more I could be doing to help contribute to society besides being a mother.
I was watching an entrepreneur training video and the instructor asked, ‘What is your passion? If you could talk about something for hours what would it be?’ Those questions struck me. I had recently relaunched my beauty business I was not seeing a ton of success with and I realized that wasn’t my passion. So what was? It dawned on me one day, while I was weeding my yard. I love talking about adoption and helping others through infertility! I love helping others who are just starting the adoption process and answering all their questions.
I received my bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising so I felt like I could use those skills to start my own business creating profile books for hopeful adoptive families. And that’s how Chosen Hope and Co. was born! My business is my other baby and fills my soul with happiness and fulfillment. I have the opportunity to meet amazing people who have overcome various trails but choose to have hope as they try to grow their families through adoption.
I believe a well created adoption profile book can make all the difference in their adoption journey. My goal is to help relieve some of the stress adoption can bring. I am dedicated to ensuring the adoption profile items I create are customized to accurately portray the family’s personality, while keeping costs low (because let’s be honest, adoption is already expensive enough).
Looking back, I have been through some pretty difficult trials but from those trials I have learned so much about my ability to handle those trials and I’ve come out on the other side so much stronger. If you are struggling with infertility I would look you in the eyes, give you a hug, and tell you you are not broken, you are not being punished, and the way your body was created is not a mistake. It just works differently and that is okay. If you are looking to adopt I would say you can love a child just as much as if it were your biological child. Trust me!
Like I said before, I believe that out of our deepest trials come some of the greatest blessings and lessons learned and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Hayley Smith of New Mexico. You can follow her journey on Instagram and website. 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.
Read more stories like this:
Are you or someone you know looking to adopt? Please SHARE on Facebook to make them aware there is a community of support available.