As I look at each of my children, I am reminded that I have 3 little miracles that did not join our family by accident.  They may not have joined our family the way I had planned or expected, but our story is meant to be.  Everything happens for a reason.  Now that our family of 5 is complete, I am able to step back, reflect on our journey and appreciate the struggles we had to endure to get where we are today.

Ever since I was a little girl, I longed for the day that I would  become a mommy.  When I met my husband, Jeremiah, we talked about how many kids we wanted. I started dreaming about the children we would have together and wondered….would they get his blue eyes??  Would they be tall and have my long legs??  Would they share his passion for adventure??  Would they share my love of sports??

The fun and excitement that should come with trying to have a baby quickly turned to stress and sadness.  Soon the months started passing us by and all we had to show for it was one negative pregnancy test after another.  Our first visit to a fertility doctor was about a year after getting married.  After running a bunch of tests on both of us, we were encouraged to hear that with the help of in-vitro fertilization, the chances of us having a baby were pretty good!

And so our journey began….there were many doctor’s appointments,  testing, blood draws, injections and ultrasounds,   We had a 2-3 month calendar that told us when our embryos would be created, when they would be implanted inside me and when we would find out if the procedure worked!  The whole process was quite amazing and we kept our eyes on the prize and hoped and prayed that our dreams of parenthood would come true.  Our prayers worked….our 1st try at IVF resulted in our 1st positive pregnancy test!  We were elated!  We immediately started planning for the arrival of our baby….we started decorating the nursery, we made lists of boy and girl names, and we started buying cute little baby clothes.  When I was almost halfway through my pregnancy….at 17 weeks pregnant….we were going in for an ultrasound to find out if we were having a boy or a girl.  But instead, we got the news that the baby’s heartbeat had stopped.  And just like that, our entire world came crashing down on us.  To say that we were devastated would be a complete understatement!  We had invested so much time, money and emotion into this baby and it was all taken from us so quickly.  For the first time in my life, I had feelings of depression.  All I could do was cry….we did a lot of crying….both of us.  Once again, my dream of becoming a mother seemed so far away and we were back to square one.  It’s times like these where you don’t feel like you have the energy or the faith to move forward, but we knew we had to.  We somehow picked ourselves up and decided to try again….back to shots, calendars, multiple doctor appointments each week, procedures and then we waited…..we were hopeful because after all, our first try did result in a pregnancy!  But this 2nd time….a negative.  We were crushed!  The roller coaster of emotions was definitely taking a toll on us.  How could we keep going like this?  I’d be lying if I said we remained positive and never lost hope.  My hope was dwindling and I couldn’t understand why we were dealt this trial.  We decided to give it a try one more time…one LAST time…and implanted our last 3 embryos.  We were literally putting all of our eggs into one “basket”!  We had no “plan B”!

I remember talking to my mom on the phone when we were waiting to find out if our 3rd IVF worked.  With fear that another negative pregnancy test would devastate us, she suggested we look into adoption.  I remember crying at even the thought of taking the adoption route.  Like a little child, I put my fingers in my ear and mumbled “la la la la la la” because I wanted nothing to do with that conversation.  Unlike others that I had known, I was not a person that had a desire to adopt.  Like most women, I wanted to experience pregnancy and childbirth.  I was so scared of adoption.  I was scared to not have the opportunity to “bond” with my child for 9 months of pregnancy.  I was scared that I couldn’t love a child that wasn’t biologically mine.  I was scared at the idea of having to “share” my child with another “mom”.  Who knew that the thing I feared most would be the ultimate blessing that placed 3 beautiful children, that call me mom, in my life!?!?

After our 3rd failed IVF, we quickly came to the realization that adoption might perhaps be the ONLY way for us to grow our family.  Luckily, there was an adoption agency affiliated with our church, so we didn’t have to look far for information on this next step.  When we were going through the approval process with our agency, we were told it could take as long as 1-3 years to be placed with a baby.  It was up to the right birth mom to come across our file and decide we were “the one” for her baby.

Planning for the worst and knowing it could be a couple years before we were blessed with a baby, we were so pleasantly surprised when we were contacted by a birth mom after just 6 months with our oldest son, Ayden.  With our daughter Zoey, we were picked after being approved for less than 6 months.  And with our youngest son, Maddix, we went about the process completely backwards as a birth mom picked us when we weren’t even approved yet!  I have such a testimony that our timing was perfect with all 3 and that all 3 birth moms were brought into our life at the right time!

When we got the call that Ayden’s birth mom was in labor, we drove 5 hours to the hospital as fast as we could!  The first time we laid eyes on our little boy, he was in the nursery at the hospital.  He was just given his first bath, was warming up under the heat lamp, only wearing a diaper…..it was LOVE at first sight!  We sat and stared at him for so long….in disbelief at how cute and how perfect he was!  My #1 fear of not feeling connected and bonded to a baby that was not ours biologically was immediately thrown out the window!  I felt a huge connection to him already and the “mom” in me wanted to scoop him up and kiss and snuggle him forever!  He was the answer to our prayers…..the little boy that finally made us parents.  We were in heaven.

When we met Zoey’s birth mom, she already knew she was having a little girl.  We were in heaven….a little boy AND a little girl!!  All of a sudden, those years of struggling with infertility seemed to be a distant memory.  We felt so blessed.  When she was going into labor, she asked me if I wanted to be in the room with her.  She wanted me to be there to see Zoey take her first breath….and she wanted me to be the first one to hold her!  This…..this is something that I will be forever grateful to her for.  It was the most amazing and beautiful thing to witness and because she was willing to share that experience with me….or let me share that experience with her, I was able to live out my dream of “experiencing childbirth” in my own special way!

We were all set….2 perfectly healthy babies that were 21 months apart!  Our family was complete…..until I got a “baby itch” when Ayden was 5 and Zoey was 3….and started feeling like we should have one more.  It was that same “urgent” feeling I felt right before Ayden and Zoey were born, so I knew we had to act on it!  The rest happened so fast that we literally blinked and were a family of 5!!  Maddix’s birth mom was the daughter of a good friend of Jeremiah’s.  We met her before we even turned in our adoption paperwork and 3 ½ weeks before Maddix was born, she picked us to adopt her little boy!  There were so many little miracles that happened along the way and somehow we were approved in record time.  I know that our path’s crossed for a reason.  I know that we were supposed to meet her and her family.  I know that the timing of that “baby itch” was perfect timing for everything to fall into place.          

Like I said,,,,our story is not one that happened by accident.  It was all entirely meant to be….every last detail!  It was meant to be that Ayden would have blue eyes and look just like his Daddy!  It was meant to be that Zoey would have long legs and look just like her Mommy!  It was meant to be that Maddix would be our crazy adventurous one (like his Daddy) that is developing a great love for sports (like his Mommy)!  We couldn’t have planned it any better if we tried!!

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All 3 of our adoptions are “open”, which in our case means that we get to see them whenever we get the chance, which is about once a year!  In my mind, there is truly nothing better than seeing the joy in these sweet girl’s eyes when they are with our children….nothing tops it!

Although having “open” adoptions is not what we initially thought we would be ok with, it has turned into my favorite thing about adoption!  There was a time, when Ayden was a baby, when I was insecure with my role as his mom.  I wondered how there was room for both of us “moms” in his life…..would we confuse him by allowing his birth mom to see him on a regular basis??  Then we realized what a blessing it was to allow our children to know their entire story….to know where they came from….to hear in their birth moms own words how much they love them.  Most of the people we can can’t believe or understand how we can be so open….we can’t imagine it any other way!  How can we as parents deny the love that someone else has for our children?  Our theory has always been….the more people that love our children, the better!  They get that love from their birth moms, they feel it and they know how special they are.  Ever since we made the decision that open adoption was right for us, we have not once doubted that we are doing not only what is right, but what is best for all 3 of them!

I love that we get to really know our birth moms….it has been wonderful to get to know all we can about them….to hear their stories….and to hear the deep love they have for their babies!  Since day 1, I have loved each one of them like a little sister.  The one thing they all have in common is that they are amazing!  These girls are strong….so very strong!  They are the most selfless women I know, having the strength to follow through with something that most of us can’t even imagine doing.  They have unwavering faith.  They are special.  They love their babies so much that they wanted to give them more than they could provide.

I am and always will be forever grateful to the 3 young women that are responsible for making my dreams come true.  Without them, I would not be a mom today.

Our kids are proud of their story.  They are proud to be adopted.  I hope and pray that they always feel that way.  I can’t control how they will ultimately feel, but as parents, we can control how we portray adoption to them.  And as far as they are concerned, they have amazing birth parents that loved them so much that they were more focused on what was best for their babies than what was best for them.  I know that one day, maybe when they are parents of their own, they will genuinely appreciate this!

For now, we will continue to remind them how much they are loved.  We will remind them how much they were wanted.  We will remind them how much we prayed for them.  We will remind them how they were an answer to our prayers.  We will remind them that they brought sunshine to our lives when all we saw were dark rain clouds,  We will remind them about how special they are to have so many people that love them.  We will remind them to never give up on their dreams because we didn’t give up on ours.  Most importantly, we will remind them that there is a PLAN and that everything happens for a reason.  Thank goodness they were a part of our plan!!     

Xoxo, Lindsay

To read Maddix’s story through the eyes of his birth mom read HERE.

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