Katie (USA): Our journey to open adoption
My husband Zac and I got married in 2013. We were just babies ourselves: I was 21 and he was 23. Growing up, I wanted nothing more than to be a wife and a mom. We didn’t want to wait long before starting our family, so we planned to try to get pregnant around our first wedding anniversary. Adoption was definitely something we hoped to pursue eventually but we pictured maybe adopting our last baby or doing foster care down the road after a few biological kids.
After about two and a half years of trying to get pregnant, a diagnosis of endometriosis and some basic fertility treatments, God very clearly placed adoption in both of our hearts. The timing didn’t make sense, we didn’t have the money (domestic infant adoption costs anywhere from $10,000-$50,000) and we were about half way through renovating our home, which we bought as a major fixer upper. From the outside looking in, it seemed like a terrible time to start the adoption process, but God gave us an incredible amount of peace that this was the right decision.
Don’t get me wrong, I was a basket case thinking about how we would afford it, but there was no doubt in my mind that this was what we were supposed to do. My parents wanted to throw a fundraiser for us, which I was very against at first. In the end though, they convinced me to let them host a pig roast for us. This is where the miracles started. We invited everyone we knew to the pig roast and simply set a box out on a table marked “donations”. I expected to maybe raise a few thousand dollars that night, but no where near the $20,000 we needed to start the process. At the end of the night, we sat with my parents and counted up the checks. I read off amounts and my dad put them in his calculator. It became clear that it was more money than any of us expected but I nearly passed out when my dad read off the final number: $24,000. We were floored. I cried silent tears and Zac sat there, speechless. We couldn’t see how we would possibly afford this adoption, but God already knew. He provided in the biggest way.
We started our home study in October of 2016 and completed it by January 2017 and officially went “active” on our agency’s website on January 6th. We were told it could take 12-18 months to be matched with an expectant mother but the call could potentially come any day. During the time we were doing our home study, we asked our agency about the possibility of twins. I was a nanny for newborn twins when we were engaged and Zac always joked that it was God preparing me to have twins someday. Twins don’t run in either of our families so when we started the adoption process we talked about how cool it would be to adopt twins. We talked about it so much that we started to really hope and pray that it would happen. Our social worker warned us that it’s very rare and that we shouldn’t get our hopes up but we couldn’t help but be excited about the possibility. I even registered for a double stroller, just in case!
A few days after becoming a waiting family, our agency “featured” our profile on their Facebook page. They encouraged us to share the post and ask family and friends to share as well. In a matter of hours the post had been shared over 100 times! It was amazing to once again see our family and friends showing so much support for us. Two days later, on January 11th, I was standing in my kitchen when I received a Facebook message from a woman I didn’t know. I opened it and saw these words: “Hi Katie, I've been following your adoption journey and I have a friend who is pregnant with twins she can't keep. I showed her your profile and she wants you to have her twins.” I could not believe what I was reading! I sat down on my kitchen floor because my legs were shaking too much to stand. I read the message at least 10 times and prayed something along the lines of “Please God, let this be real.” while I waited for my fingers to stop shaking long enough to type a response.
Over the course of the next few days we were connected with Brittney and I started talking with her through Facebook messages. It turned out that she lived just 15min away from us and we actually had some mutual acquaintances! She was carrying identical twin GIRLS due May 5th. She was 23 weeks pregnant when we started talking and three days later she was admitted to the hospital for complications due to Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. Basically, Baby B was taking too much of the blood supply and Baby A wasn’t getting enough. For two weeks we didn’t hear from Brittney, but we learned from her Facebook posts that there was a very real chance the doctors might have to deliver the babies sometime in the next few days. Baby A weighed less than a pound and there was a very real chance she wouldn’t survive. Zac and I were a wreck as we waited for news from Brittney. We didn’t know if these babies were meant to be ours, but we loved them so much already. I have never prayed so hard in my life as I did those two weeks, begging the Lord to spare their lives. Finally, when I had almost given up hope on Brittney ever contacting us again, she reached out and asked if we could meet. Zac and I have never been so nervous as we were walking into that hospital! Brittney very sweetly told us what was going on with the girls right away; they were stable for now but the doctors wanted to keep her in the hospital for monitoring until they were born. We talked for about an hour and at the end of our meeting she asked us to be the girls’parents! I can’t even describe how humbling it was to be chosen by a mother to raise her children. Zac and I left the hospital on cloud nine! Over the next few weeks I visited Brittney weekly in the hospital. It was amazing getting to know her and I treasure that time we spent together just the two of us. We celebrated every week the babies stayed in and every ounce they gained. When Brittney was 31 weeks and 6 days pregnant, the ultrasounds showed that Baby A had stopped growing and the doctors made the decision to deliver the babies. On March 8th, the most beautiful baby girls were born weighing 2lbs 8oz and 3lbs 4oz. Brittney allowed us to come to the hospital and visit them in the NICU the night they were born and we spent about two hours staring at them through the walls of the isolates and holding their tiny hands. We gave them their first names and we asked Brittney to choose their middle names. Baby A became Halle Ruth and Baby B became Quinn Rose. One week after they were born, Brittney did the hardest thing a person could do and signed the papers giving us guardianship of our girls. She is my hero and there will never be enough words to describe how much I love her and how thankful I am for her.
The girls spent just over a month in the NICU before coming home and they are now happy, healthy one year olds! We have an amazing open adoption with Brittney and because she lives so close to us we are able to see her about once a month. I am so thankful our girls have their birth mama in their lives and will always know that she loves them dearly. Open adoption was really intimidating to us at first, but now I couldn’t imagine it any other way! Looking back I’m amazed at how God’s plan unfolded. We realized later that the week we decided to start the adoption process was the same week our girls were conceived. If we hadn’t started the process when we did, we wouldn’t be their parents. God’s plan for us was so much better than anything I ever imagined!