You know that playground rhyme: “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage?” Well, that was where my life was headed, and I could not have been more excited about it — until it wasn’t.
Infertility is a scary word. It is also a shameful and isolating word, not to mention a taboo subject. Yet, about 10 out of every 100 women in the U.S. struggles to conceive a child. That is 6.1 million women that want to wear the badge of honor we call mom but can’t. I am one of them.
In 2009, my husband and I decided it was our time to grow our family. He had finished pilot training and the world was our oyster, so why not start now? Eight months later we found ourselves in the office of a reproductive endocrinologist (a.k.a. fertility specialist) learning that the steps to make this happen would prove to be more challenging.
The struggle was real. After nine rounds of injectable hormone therapy over the next year and a half — to include two deployments for good measure — we were finally going to be welcoming a child into this big, beautiful world right before Thanksgiving 2011. With our hope restored, a few years later we set out to find a new specialist and started everything all over again as we attempted to once again grow our family. After several failed rounds of treatment, we were faced with only one option that could give us another biological child: In Vitro Fertilization, IVF for short.
IVF is a complex — not to mention incredibly expensive and not covered by TRICARE — process, that at the end of the day for us, didn’t look like it would have the best outcomes for growing our family. Hope seemed so far away. This is when we turned to adoption.
In August 2016, a short three weeks after arriving in Washington State, we found ourselves at an in-take screening and completing our adoption application with a local adoption agency in Spokane. I won’t lie, it was a lengthy process. But on November 14, 2017, on our daughter’s sixth birthday celebration at Disneyland, I answered a phone call that changed our lives.
A first mom had chosen us. Speechless.
In the few short months after, I was meeting her for the first time. It is a truly surreal moment to sit across the table and share a meal with the woman that is going to help you complete your family. To hear her story and have the perfectly-orchestrated opportunity to invest in her is time that I will always treasure.
March of 2018, I stood in the delivery room and cried as I held the hand of that brave and selfless woman who made us a family of four. By May of that year, in the Superior Court of Washington, surrounded by the love of friends and family from around the country — and all jam-packed into a family courtroom — the adoption of our baby boy was finalized. The final piece of our puzzle was put in to place and we were finally a forever family.
What we didn’t realize would happen by being so open about our journey through infertility and adoption, is the profound impact that it would have on so many around us. Couples began to call and text and want to meet to hear our story and ask us how we did it. They wanted to know the ins and outs. They wanted to hear the success of a military family adopting. The authentic relationships that began from places of utmost vulnerability left me and my husband in awe. It was then that I saw for the first time the need to continue to share this story so that more incredibly qualified and willing military families would have the opportunity to grow their families through adoption.
You can do this, despite what you may have been told about military families being “unstable” and “too transient.” I’m not going to tell you it will be all rainbows and unicorns, but if there is anything that I have learned after walking through this turbulent part of my life, it is this: The things that challenge us, the things that stretch us, the things that keep us up at night, they are every bit worth our perseverance, our struggle, and our hope. Because on the other side of them we find healing, our grit, our tenacity & we find complete and unconditional love.
My hope is that you will join me during the month of November in celebrating families that have adopted, are in the process of adopting, or are thinking about adopting as we celebrate Adoption Awareness Month & World Adoption Day this weekend.
Website resources for adoption information: