If you will recall from my last post,"Adoption 101", infertility was the beginning of our adoption journey. So this post will cover the next phase...
Making the Decision and Waiting
When we decided to adopt it was actually a very easy decision. We had talked about it before, but it just didn't feel like it was the right time. There comes a point when you realize that making the choice to adopt means that you are giving up on having your own biological children...at least that is how I felt.
We prayed for guidance everyday to know what we should do. One day in late February of 2008, Aric and I both had separate experiences with the spirit telling us that it was time. There was a broadcast our church was having. Aric went in the morning, I went in the evening. Later that night I asked Aric what he thought about the meeting. He told me that it was good but while he was there he felt strongly that it was time for us to adopt. I told him I had the exact same feeling.
That was it. That week I called LDS Family Services and started the process. We chose them because it was through our church and the cost was going to be much less than if we went through an agency. I had looked into foster to adopt, which is through the state, but I didn't feel like it was the right thing for our family. Mainly because I didn't want my girls or myself, to get attached to a baby that could be taken away from us. I think it is wonderful that some people can do it, I just knew that path wasn't for us.
After I spoke with our caseworker on the phone I thought that we would fill out some papers, talk to someone and then wait for a call. I was wrong. I was not prepared for how much work it was. We had mountains of online forms. We had background checks, and physicals for our whole family. We had fingerprints taken, interviews, home visits....it still blows my mind how much work it is for a couple to be approved. Our case worker was very honest with us, he told us that this was going to be a long, difficult process. At first I was annoyed that he burst my bubble like that, but now we realize that adoption is not for the weak at heart and it's best to be prepared.
So after four months of paper work we were finally approved. This was a record for our case worker, it usually takes him about six months to get a couple approved. Once that was done I thought for sure that we would get a call right away. We had felt so motivated I was sure it was because my baby was coming any day. We had a couple of websites that I had made in addition to the LDSFS one that we were on. The hope is that a birthmom would find us on a website and then contact our case worker. But no one called. The next four months were long and I was getting discouraged.
It's an awful feeling to have to sell yourself to someone. It got to the point that I was wondering if maybe my family wasn't cute enough. Maybe Aric and I weren't interesting enough. You feel like you are bearing your soul to the world and no one is interested.
A couple things happened during our waiting period. First of all, Aric and I both, separately had very personal experiences that confirmed that we were having a boy. I'm not sure I'm ready to share those very sacred experiences with the world, so for now I'm going to keep them to myself. But there was no doubt that the Lord was letting Aric and I know that we were having a son.
Second I realized that I wasn't looking to adopt just any baby because they needed a good home. I was looking for my baby. My son. The son that was meant to be mine, that was meant to be in our family. I believe that we lived as spirits with God before we were born. I believe that Camden was waiting for his turn to come to earth. He was always meant to come to us through adoption. So I was on a mission to find my son. I needed to let everyone know that we were adopting so that through the spirit, Camden's birth mom could find us.
I knew about a website called Parent Profiles, it is a website where birthmoms can look at adoptive couples profiles. It cost $50 dollars a month to be on it, but it iss the most popular website visited by birthmoms. In the beginning Aric and I didn't feel comfortable spending that kind of money, so we decided to pray about it and when the time felt right we would put ourselves on it. Well in late October 2008, I felt the spirit whisper that it was time. It took about two weeks to get our profile up on Parent Profiles. It was kind of exciting because it had a counter on it so you could see how many times your profile was looked at, and if someone chose you as one of their favorites. I became obsessed with checking it.
About a week after being on PP, we found out about a birthmom, through a friend, who was five months along and having a boy. She had been placed with a different couple but that couple had just found out they were pregnant and decided that they were no longer going to adopt. I called our caseworker right away, he gave us a little more information about the situation. He told us to think about it over the weekend and then let him know on Monday what we wanted to do. Aric and I talked about it, and prayed about it. Although my heart went out to this girl, and I wanted this baby to be my baby, I knew that it wasn't mine. I can't even begin to tell you how awful it felt to write the email telling our caseworker that we weren't going to move forward with this birthmom. I had to type through my tears. But as soon as I sent the email, I felt peace. And these words came clearly into my mind..."Now you will know when it is your baby."
Four days later I was on a "Turkey Trot" with some friends while Aric was home prepping the Thanksgiving Turkey.
Aric couldn't get me because he had the girls and I had the car with the carseats, so he sent our BFF Mike to go find me. When he first pulled up I didn't understand what he was saying. Then all of the sudden I heard..."Jessica, a baby boy was born last night in South Carolina, you need to go home now!"
The emotion that overcame me is impossible to accurately describe. But in that moment I knew this was my baby. I knew it with all of my heart and all of my soul. I jumped into BFF's car and he took me home. Aric was in the driveway waiting for me. We gathered the girls and had a family prayer. We called the agency and started the process, which was not easy. Because we had been with a different agency, we had to switch every thing over to them. It was Thanksgiving day and nearly impossible to get a hold of the people we needed to. The new agency wanted a crazy amount of money up front....$24,000. Now that is whole other story that I don't want to get into right now. Just know that thanks to the holiday it was impossible for us to get our hands on that kind of cash so they had to settle for $5,000 and that was enough to get us on the plane to South Carolina.
Being it was a holiday and we were booking our trip on such short notice, our tickets were a WHOLE LOTA money and we had three layovers. We got a lot of interesting looks running through airports with an empty carrier and stroller.
That day was a blur. I had every emotion imaginable. I was thrilled to get the LONG awaited call. I felt bad that we had invited the Stockman's and Romney's over for Thanksgiving and instead of hosting them they had to fend for themselves.
Anyone that knows me, knows that I like things to be in order. I like to have things planned. This threw me for a loop, and in the moments that I would realize what was happening I could hardly even breathe. At one point I asked our good friend Ryan to give Aric and I blessings because I didn't think I had the strength to go on. The blessings he gave us were so powerful. I relied on my blessing many, many times during the following days, weeks and now...months later.
Heavenly Father warned us that this wasn't going to be easy, but he promised that he would send people in our path to help. He told us he would open doors and provide miracles on our behalf. He kept his promises, I felt his hand guiding me. I felt His arms carrying me. I watched miracle after miracle happen, I am still so humbled as I recall them.
There is no question in my mind that Aric and I were supposed to adopt. Camden is our son, he was always supposed to be our son. I was never supposed to carry him physically, but I can tell you that I did bear that child. I carried him in my heart for four years. The moment I saw him was just as sacred and beautiful as the first time I saw Maya and Eden. I will tell you more about that in my next post.