“Ever since I can remember, I have always wanted kids. I came from a decently sized family, and I knew I wanted a big family of my own one day. My mom was very involved in my life as a child, and I knew I wanted to do the same with my children.
After marrying my best friend, Woody (his nickname he has had since high school), in April 2013, we started trying to get pregnant right away. We both knew we wanted several children, and we both knew we weren’t spring chickens anymore. Woody was 30 and I was 28. After about 6 months of trying to conceive, nothing was happening. I was so confused. I didn’t understand what we were doing wrong. Everyone else seemed to be able to get pregnant quickly, so why weren’t we able to? That’s when we decided to go to the doctor and see what was going on.
The doctor tried to tell us to give it more time; 6 months really wasn’t that long to try to get pregnant. But I couldn’t let it go. I felt like something was wrong in my gut and I pushed the doctor to start testing anyway. We went through all the tests, got all the bloodwork done, did every analysis there was, and there was nothing wrong. The doctor couldn’t find anything ‘wrong’ with why we weren’t able to get pregnant.
So, there was hope. I could feel it. At this point, we decided to try an IUI (intrauterine insemination). We were told a lot of couples do this and have great success with it. Basically, it just helps Woody’s little guys get to the right place a little easier to do their job. Well, 3 failed IUI’s later, hundreds of dollars spent, thousands of tears shed over negative pregnancy tests, we were referred to a Fertility Specialist.
More tests, more evaluations, more bloodwork, and more conversations I really didn’t want to hear. Unexplained Infertility. There is no medical reason why we can’t get pregnant – we just can’t. I was devastated. I’m a black and white kind of person. When there is a problem, there is a solution. Our problem was infertility, so there had to be a solution for it, and there wasn’t one. The specialist suggested another round or two of IUI’s but this time at his office. Once again, both IUI’s failed, and I was numb.
We had been trying, at this point, for two years, and it just wasn’t fun anymore. We were both drained physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I couldn’t understand why God had put the desire for children so heavy on my heart if he wasn’t going to allow me to birth any. I questioned what I had done in life to deserve this. My thoughts were filled with garbage about how I wasn’t good enough and how I wasn’t supposed to be a mom. I pulled away from Woody and needed time to process it all. It took me several months to accept that I couldn’t birth children, and I had to give myself grace and patience with it. Seeing others’ birth announcements, gender reveals, and celebrations about having a baby was very hard, but in time, I was able to heal.
Like I said, I’m a ‘there’s a problem, here is the solution’ kind of girl. I started researching our options: IVF, embryo adoption, surrogacy, domestic adoption, international adoption, etc. After speaking to a lawyer friend of mine who specialized in adoptions, we got all the facts. The good, bad, and the ugly about each route we could go down. I talked to Woody in depth about each option and we had open and honest conversations about each option. That’s when we decided to adopt internationally from China. We felt confident the universe was leading us there, and we listened.
The adoption process took us a year. It was a long, emotional process full of paperwork, fingerprints, and waiting. I had no idea how much actually went into adopting internationally, but I kept telling myself the benefits outweighed the costs. I knew it would be worth all the time and money we were putting into this. When we were matched with our son, Wesley, we knew he was the one. We got his file in the middle of a beach trip with friends, and we decided to accept his file a few days later.
It took us about 5 months to finally get travel approval to go to China. During this time, we got a few updates from the adoption agency about how he was doing as well as a few pictures. When we were matched, he was 10 months old and barely crawling. Our last update at 15 months, he was walking. Although I was happy for him, I couldn’t help but feel a little sad I was missing out on such a big milestone in his life. Woody was an amazing support system for me with this. He reminded me it was just one milestone, and we would have many more to be a part of in the future. I worked hard on remembering that.
Traveling to China was crazy for us because we are from a small town in Georgia and don’t travel often. But to get ‘our son’ was worth it. The first moment we saw Wesley, it was love at first sight. I was his Mommy, and he was mine. It was finally happening, and I couldn’t be happier. He was perfect for Woody and me, and he was meant to be a part of our family. While in China, we spent two weeks bonding as a family and forming attachment to each other. We spent a lot of time in the hotel together, went sightseeing with other adopting families, walked around the local parks, and even went back to his orphanage to see where he grew up. I was very humbled and honored I was able to see such a place, and I was extremely overwhelmed with gratitude when I met the woman who cared for him in the orphanage. He reached for her immediately, and I could see the love in his eyes for her. It was a tender moment for both of us. It gave me hope that one day he would love me as much as he loved her.
It hit me a few months after being home with Wesley. I understood why God was doing what he did in my life. Adoption had never been something we talked about until our infertility. Had I gotten pregnant, we wouldn’t have adopted, and we wouldn’t have Wesley in our life. Crazy how things like that happen!
Ten months after being home with Wesley, the impossible happened. I was late. Three positive pregnancy tests later, I told Woody I was pregnant. I didn’t understand how this happened and why it happened, but I was beside myself. Wesley was going to be a big brother and our family was expanding again. Woody was scared to death, but I was elated to be able to birth a child like I had always desired. At my 8-week appointment at the doctor, the ultrasound showed no heartbeat. The baby had died and a part of me died that day with it. The overwhelming feelings I have processed and gotten over with our unexplained infertility flooded back to me, and I was lost once again.
After a few months of healing, physically and emotionally, we started actively trying again. I thought, it happened, it’s possible, so why not?? Still nothing. But the desire we had still for expanding our family was still there. Again, we prayed for the right direction, and we were called to start the process of adopting from China again. I was so excited to adopt again. But COVID had other plans. China shut down all adoptions in January 2020, and still to this day are not open. After a year and a half of waiting on China to open, we decided to change our country of adoption to Colombia. We ultimately decided we just wanted to expand our family, no matter where our child-to-be was from. That’s where we are right now. Waiting to be matched with the next member of the Wood family from Colombia.
Adoption is so special to me (and Woody), and I only have God to thank for that. The number of orphans in the world is crazy, and the fact I am able to give not just one, but two of them a forever family, blows my mind. How am I worthy of such a blessing? Why me? Becoming an adoption advocate was never in my plans, but I am so lucky His plans are better than mine. I’m an open book when it comes to our adoptions, and I love sharing with others every facet. The good and the bad, the physical and the emotional, the stressful and the financial. I love connecting with other adoption families and sharing our stories. I love the support I’m able to give and receive from other moms just like me with adopted children. It’s truly an amazing community and one I never dreamed of being a part of.
It wasn’t until we started our second adoption that I really opened up about my unexplained infertility and the miscarriage. I was ashamed of it and embarrassed. I was afraid of being judged and I felt like it was my fault. I quickly realized even though I felt like I was all alone during this whole infertility process and the miscarriage, I wasn’t. 1 in 8 people struggle with infertility. 1 in 4 women have a miscarriage. I didn’t know those stats until I was in the thick of it, but it blows my mind how common this stuff is.
I wish I had known. I wish I had been more open with what I was going through with at least one person and leaned on them for support. ‘It takes a village,’ they say, and I understand that saying more and more each day. You shouldn’t have to take this infertility journey alone. You can, but it makes it so much easier when you have ‘your village’ to support you. Whoever that may be, including your spouse. It’s not just you going through it all, but your spouse as well. Remember that. Lean on each other, support each other, and rely on each other for comfort on the bad days. Celebrate the good days together and lift each other up.
After I started sharing a little bit of my infertility journey, I quickly discovered I wanted to be that support for other infertility warriors like myself. Adoption isn’t my only story, and I love how the Lord has worked in my life in both aspects to bring me to the place I am today. I am wiser about infertility and adoption. I am physically and emotionally stronger in my health and mindset than I have ever been. I am growing in my faith and finding more trust in God’s timing with things in all aspects in my life. I am building a solid foundation for my marriage with lots of support and open communication. And I am a support system to anyone who needs it when dealing with infertility and/or adoption. The path is not always straight, but you will always get to where you are supposed to be.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jennifer Wood of Georgia. You can follow her journey on Instagram. 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 here:
‘Any chance you’re interested in adopting a redhead?’ We went from 0 to 3 kids. Two weeks later, we were pregnant.’: Couple battling infertility become parents to 10 after miracle pregnancies, adoption
Do you know someone who could benefit from reading this? SHARE this story on Facebook with family and friends.