You can plan your life all you want, but we should all know by now that things don’t always go as planned. But wow, my life spiraled in the exact opposite direction from what I had planned! The one good thing about my life turning crazy was that I was somewhat prepared to take on the roller coaster ride that is adoption.
And on one beautiful June day in 2014, my miracle arrived and my whole life experience suddenly made sense. My miracle’s name is Jonah.
Ever since I was a kid, I had this overwhelming desire to be a mom someday. I always knew that I wanted not just biological children, but adopted children as well. While some people dream of their career or their dream home, I was dreaming of my children. I even prayed for my future children every night since I was a child, and I still do. I am the oldest of four children and love having siblings. My parents are still married and have always been incredible examples of what loving and strong parents should be. My childhood was great. Early adulthood was great. I went to college, got married, got a job, and started to try for my family. What could be better, right?
Right before I was to be married, this little thing called Hurricane Katrina hit. With one storm, I lost everything I owned. My fiance’ was transferred from New Orleans to Baton Rouge, and I decided to make the move. Instead of our lavish dream wedding, we were married by a justice of the peace. We bought a house without even seeing it in person first. It was a crazy time. After everything settled down a bit, we decided to start our family. Things seemed to be going well until I realized it was taking a while to get pregnant. I saw multiple doctors and no one gave me the time of day. I kept telling them things were not right in my body, but no doctor would run the tests I was asking for. Why? I don’t know. But I soon realized that if you know something is wrong with your body, then don’t take no for an answer.
After years of no pregnancies and then two early spontaneous miscarriages, I had enough!
I truly feel for any woman who has gone through infertility. I know your pain and the emotional, physical, and financial strain that doing everything you can brings. I also know the desire to never give up. During all of this, I began to look into different adoption options since I always wanted to anyway. I never understood why my husband always seemed to put it on the back burner. I just kept praying and kept my faith in God. I finally found an amazing doctor who not only took me seriously, but truly wanted to help me. I was diagnosed with a severe case of PCOS (poly-cystic ovarian syndrome) and started more fertility measures. Then one day, she decided to run a test because something didn’t look right. Then I received the phone call that no one in their twenties expects to get. CANCER.
How could I have cancer? It didn’t make any sense.
A rare form of uterine cancer. They recommended a full hysterectomy. I was going to fight this. There is no cure at this time for uterine cancer except for surgical removal, but MD Anderson in Texas was doing an experimental research trial so I had the doctor get me in. For about a year, I went back and forth to Houston for treatments. The doctors there were incredible! My job was so flexible and wonderful in helping me. My church and my friends were my rocks in keeping my spirits up, and I always looked to God for my strength. Sadly at this time, I realized the person I was married to was a complete stranger and had been living a secret life, the details of which are so unbelievable, there is no way I could get into all that right now. That’s a whole book in itself.
“God, how could this be happening to me?”” I’m a good person who is faithful to you?” These were just a few of my thoughts during this time. My dreams all collapsed around me. I was suddenly divorced, broke, and sick. My treatments weren’t working, so surgery was scheduled. My dreams of biological children were gone. I felt completely alone. But I never lost my faith in God that there had to be a reason for it all. That together ALL things work together for the GOOD for those who love Him.
I made it through my surgery with the help of family and my friends and my church. I moved back to New Orleans to get back on my feet. Determined to stay strong. I was devastated of course by realizing I would never have biological children, but the desire that God placed in me to adopt was still in me. Now I know why it was always so strong. I would need this strength. Now I thank God every day for this incredible desire He placed in my heart.
I am healthy! Cancer free for years now! I’m married to the most incredibly wonderful man who loves me for me! He is my rock and has been incredible in helping me put myself back together! He shows me everyday what a husband is supposed to be. He shared my desires for adoption and shortly after getting married, we signed up with an adoption agency and began our home study. We know sometimes adoption can take a long time, so we didn’t waste a moment. We prayed over what we should do and knew that this was the right step for us. We did everything in our power we could and left the rest in God’s hands. We knew He would bring us the child that was meant to be with us. Waiting is the hardest part, but I promise to all those in a waiting process now, one day that wait will be over and the biggest joy of your life will be waiting for you at the end.
Remember how I said God works all things for good? The agency we were with still had no news for us. Frustrating, but we knew this could happen. We had already accepted that it may be years, when one day I received a phone call from a good friend of mine who worked at the church I used to go to. She said that a woman had asked the pastors to help her find a mom for the child she was carrying. My friend thought of me and asked if I wanted to call her. I froze. How do I start that phone call? My husband and I decided to call her and it was like we were talking to someone we’ve know our whole lives. It was an instant connection. We agreed to meet her and her family. We were nervous and trying to prepare for any tough questions they may have. Again, it was like we knew the whole family forever. We knew she didn’t want to decide on a birth family until some issues with the birth dad were taken care of, and she had also signed with an agency already to help find a family. It was not an ideal situation, but we prayed and said that if this child was meant for us, let it be. If it wasn’t meant for us, let it be a learning experience to better prepare us for when it does happen. Again, waiting was the toughest part. We knew she was nearing the end of her pregnancy and the closer it got without hearing anything, the harder it was. One day, I stayed home from work not feeling well. The night before, all I did was dream about the birth mom and the baby, and I just felt that she would have this baby early. That morning, my phone rang, and my husband was on the other line. It took me a few moments to process the words he was saying.
The birth mom was in labor. She had chosen us and wanted us to come right away.
I was instantly a mother. Completely unprepared and scared and thrilled all at the same time! We packed the little things we did have and said we’ll buy the rest later. We made a million phone calls and text messages and headed out. As soon as we arrived, our son was placed into our arms. We knew instantly that it was right. He was meant to be with us. Our birth mom and family are amazing. We got to spend time all together in the room like one big happy family. An experience I never imagined and can not even fully explain, but every tear, every laugh, every moment is something I’ll treasure forever.
It was all such a whirlwind and then in the middle of our joy, the adoption agency pulled us to the side and urged us not to take him home. The issues with the birth dad were still not resolved, and they told us to put him in cradle care in case this adoption fell through. We were an emotional mess. Crushed. We were already in love with our son so we decided we could not allow him to be in cradle care. He needed us. Best case, everything went well and he was ours, then we wouldn’t miss a day of his life. Worst case, he was taken back, but at least we gave him the best start we could in this world. His life was worth it no matter what. We were able to take him home from the hospital and because we had already done our home study, we had the green light. Thank goodness for that. The agency worked tirelessly with the birth dad and birth mom to sort things out. Not too long and the birth dad agreed to sign the paper work, and he said he knew we were the best parents for this child. Another miracle! I could finally breathe again! We had already agreed to an open adoption with our birth mom, and we were happy to extend that to the birth dad too. An open adoption is something that I know will be tough, but so right for us.
I’m thrilled that my son will be able to know all the people and all the things that make him the incredible boy that he is.
Jonah, our miracle, has been with us for five incredible months now. Every day brings more joy and more love. Every fear, every struggle, every tear was so worth it. I would do it all again if I knew it would bring us this sweet boy. My life’s struggle now all made sense. The city where I was brought to because of a storm and became a non-stop storm for me, was eventually where my son would be born. The hospital where I received my cancer diagnosis was where I got to hold my son for the first time. The church that I stayed faithful to during all the chaos is the church that began this connection in the first place. The agency we started with was vital in getting the ball rolling with our paperwork and home study, all of which was needed or we never could have taken our son home. God took all of my bad circumstances and made them new and worked them together for good. Just like He promised. Even though my life is so much different than I planned, it is so much better now than I could have imagined. I couldn’t love my amazing son any more if I had given birth to him myself. Now I see why everything happened. It was all to bring me to Jonah. It was all worth it, and I would do it all again.
I can’t wait to see what our next adoption story is.
National Adoption Month is a beautiful thing to me. It brings awareness to the need for adoption and hopefully instills some desires in people’s hearts to pursue it. Know that no matter what your story, or whatever life brings you, all you need is love and determination to make your own adoption story. You don’t have to be the richest or most successful or have a huge house. Children need love and support. The beauty of adoption is that like snowflakes, no two adoption stories will be the same, whether you pursue domestic, international, private, open, closed, or fostering. Whatever path you choose, choose the path that is right for you. I hope that my story encourages someone out there who has lost strength in the process to keep going and never give up. Or someone who may have thought of adoption to go out and pursue it, even if you can have biological children of your own. Every life is precious, and whether it’s a baby or a child or teen, there is someone out there who needs your love. Please consider adoption because every life is worth it and the joy it brings is immeasurable.
Jennie was born and raised in the New Orleans area. After 5 years of living in the Baton Rouge area following Hurricane Katrina, she moved back home to be closer with her family. She is happily married to her husband Shane who is also from New Orleans. She is a mother to her newly adopted 5 month old son Jonah who loves laughing, talking, watching Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and getting spoiled by all his family members. She is a certified diamontologist and worked in jewelry sales management until her son was born and then decided to begin her journey as a full-time mommy and wife (and is loving every second!). She also has two dogs and a cat and loves volunteering her time with her church and having game nights with friends. She looks forward to expanding her family with future adoptions. She hopes to be able to help other people become interested in adoption and be able to be supportive in their journey.