We had a whirlwind romance that began in January of 2016, since we were in our early 30s we knew what we wanted in partnerships and life and got engaged within 7 months. We had all of the excited talks about what our future family would look like, and we were real/slightly in cautious optimism that we could conceive. Jesse had been married before and in that relationship they had tried without success – no testing had been done for either partner. I was finishing graduate school, so we took time to plan a wedding and we got married in October 2017, and immediately began trying.
After about 6 months, I knew from reading about being over 30 and TTC that this was the time to consult the pros. My hormones took a big hit after stopping birth control and took their sweet time to regulate. I had the Ava tracking bracelet, was tracking my cycle and hitting the fertile window hard whenever we knew it was around. I had the full run of tests, ultrasounds and doctor visits to ultimately get the “everything is working just fine” memo. Fast forward a few months of continued empty uterus, we met with Kaiser Infertility consultants who put us in touch with Oregon Health Sciences University – their leading male infertility specialist Dr. Jason Hedges.
Dr. Hedges immediately ran tests for Jesse, and after over a dozen tests he received an official infertility diagnosis. It’s been quite some time since the findings of those labs, you get quite comfortable with carrying a brown paper bag back and forth to a lab for semen analysis. Quite frankly, you get way too comfortable talking about semen, labs, and all sorts of male anatomy while going through this process. Jesse was prescribed Clomid…surprised? Us too!
Turns out, Clomid is used off label for treating some forms of male infertility – it didn’t work for us, it minimally raised count numbers. Still not even close to the range we needed for IUI. Insert heartbreak, grief, hormones running amok (for both of us) and infertility took a toll, it was a blow to our idea of parenthood and we really needed to explore what it meant to be a mom or a dad, what it meant to be a parent. We ultimately decide that parenting, for us, didn’t mean biology was involved.
We had decided early in our journey that IVF wasn’t something we wanted to pursue, we also explored the idea of using a donor and that ultimately wasn’t something we both were comfortable with, we’d give IUI a shot if it was an option (it wasn’t), and would also look at adoption options. In May of 2018, after the official diagnosis, we began the process to explore fostering to adopt from the state of Washington.
We did all of the classes, the licensing the training etc. and became licensed to foster in November of 2018. We accepted our first placement of a child in foster care (not adoptable) in December and then after that child moved, we accepted another placement that stayed with us for 9 months.
During this time, March of 2019 we received a call about 2 siblings age 16 months and 4 weeks—would we be interested in learning more about the option to adopt? The older child was “legally free” a term used when all parental rights have been terminated, the baby was on the path to parental termination. We thought on it and said yes—welcomed our son to our home at 6 weeks old in April and our daughter arrived in May. Our second placement moved from our home in August of 2019—after parenting 3 children under the age of 3… we were wrecked and trying to make sense of what life looked like.
Fast forward to October 2019 (and recognize that this is the SERIOUSLY abridged version of fostering and adoption, it is twisty and scary, traumatic for all and ultimately made our family), our son (now 8 months old) was legally free and parental rights were terminated. We then waited a bit for the legal pieces to work around and we received word that we would be ADOPTING both of our children on December 13, 2019.
If you’re counting, we’ve been parents only since December 2018 and in the last 13 months we have parented 4 children, at one point having 3 under 3 (holy moly). Our adoption story isn’t the norm for adopting from foster care, and I feel very fortunate to have had such a quick process—our attorney said it’s only the second adoption for a kiddo under age one that she has done in over 20 years. This process has certainly run us through the relationship gamut, we just celebrated 4 years together, and wow what a wild 4 years it has been.
We really feel like our next layer of parenting has begun, after our kids became ours it was the next step. We recently received their birth certificates from the state and it was a pretty surreal and emotional experience to see our names listed as parents. When you’re fostering, you’re constantly reminded about how you are raising the children of another parent while that parent works to get well. To have our kids be ours, no words can describe that feeling.
We didn’t know about our kids when they were born, didn’t know that our lives were going to intersect. We never doubted that we wouldn’t have kids someday, we just didn’t know when that day was. The first time we heard about the kids that could be ours was in March 2019, then we met our baby that same month, and met our daughter in May 2019. Legally – that day was Dec 13 and from that date we have become officially Adams’.