this is motherhood {too}: Skye’s story

July 23, 2018, This is Motherhood Too, 4 Comments

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a heart for adoption. I didn’t know how many children or where they would be born, but I knew in the depths of my heart, it was what I was meant to do. I come from a family of nine children–five of whom are adopted. When I was out with my African-American or Haitian sister, people would stop us and exclaim, “She is your sister?” It always took me a few seconds to process just why they were confused. She is my sister. That’s all.

When I was 16, I met the man that would be my husband and I matter-of-factly told him that I was going to adopt children. He was on board and so we continued our fun and exciting years of dating. We got married four years later and decided it was time to start a family of our own. We began the process and naively thought we would have a baby within that year. Weeks turned into months and months turned into years. We knew something was wrong. We spent countless hours at doctor’s offices and specialist appointments. We had our final specialist appointment and our doctor, who had been working with us for over a year, sat us down and told us our heartbreaking news. I remember his words so clearly as we sat in his small office filled with anatomy moulds and medical posters plastered all over. We asked him in our most hopeful voices, “In your professional opinion, what are our chances of us conceiving a child naturally?”

He replied “You have a less than 1% chance. To be honest, more like .0001% chance.”

We were frozen. I felt the blood drain from my face and my heart started pounding. I grabbed onto my husband’s clammy hands and the rest of the medical jargon was just noise to me. His only suggestion was a referral to a fertility clinic. It didn’t feel like we had a choice, so we moved forward to the IVF route. The rooms were sterile and cold. Each time you feel like you’re just “another patient”. My heart ached every appointment and yet time after time we received hopeless results. Three months of driving hours, back and forth to appointments and being poked and prodded literally sucked the life out of me. I would walk out of each appointments in pain and exhaustion. I was emotionally drained and three unsuccessful months of fertility treatments later we were disheartened, beaten and empty.

That was our last and only shot.

We took some time to grieve the news and with prayer and family support we picked ourselves up and began another dream of ours: adoption.

Our first adoption I will only touch on briefly, because it is a very sensitive and sacred part of my life but I feel like even though it was a somewhat short period of time, it has moulded me into the woman I am today.

We adopted our first daughter after three years of yearning for a child and she was everything we dreamt of and more! She was perfect. She was placed in my arms in the hospital just hours after birth and I knew in that very moment I was her mother. All was well in the world. I had become who I always wanted to be: a mother. We took her home and showed our new daughter off to the world as all proud parents do. I had prepped my body to breastfeed her to encourage bonding and she took to it right away. I was on cloud nine and it felt too good to be true.

And it was. 

Six days later after newborn bliss, we got the most difficult call of our lives.

The birth mother wanted her back.

It felt like I had been punched in the stomach. I felt like crying and vomiting at the same time.

We had to comply by BC adoption laws and we had less than 24 hours to do so. I didn’t let her out of my arms even for a second. Every single moment was like gold to me.

We drove four long, excruciating hours to do the unthinkable. Hand our baby over. Never to be held by us again. I stared at her the whole drive home, with blood shot eyes and a racing heart.

We walked into the agency and they immediately and quietly ushered us to a private room. It was silent. Everyone was just looking at me. Clutching onto my baby, I was frozen. I knew what they wanted me to do. I just couldn’t bring myself to move. How does a mother bring herself to pass her baby off to another knowing that will be the last time she’ll hold him or her again? The last time you’ll touch their sweet skin. Smell their peach fuzz hair. Or feel their breath on your chest.

The social worker prompted me three times before it happened. They walked out with her in their arms. And I burst. Sobs poured out of me. It felt like the walls were closing in. I just wanted to collapse. We drove four more hours home, and I was numb.

The months after that were a blur. I didn’t leave the house unless absolutely necessary and my husband took some time off work to grieve and take care of me. We were broken into a thousand pieces and had no idea how to put ourselves back together again.

I believe after every storm comes a rainbow. And our brilliant, bright and much needed rainbow was our son, Sawyer. He changed my life in a way I could never imagine. I felt happiness again.

Sawyer was born in June and we didn’t get to hold him until October, when he was four months old. We had been matched with his birth mother before he was born and it was an instant connection. We loved her immediately and our great relationship began. One week before Sawyer was born, his biological father came out of no where to contest the adoption. He had no legal grounds and he offered nothing in regards to support. But yet a long, drawn out court case ensued. We waited and waited, week by week, holding on to the photos we would receive each day of our little boy growing up before our eyes on the other side of the continent. Finally, after we felt like our hearts couldn’t bear another day without him, we got the call that Sawyer was officially our son! Less than 24 hours later we were on a flight ready to hold him forever in our arms. We got that call literally one year after we lost our Charlotte.

The year that followed was much more “normal” when it came to motherhood. We never stopped “trying” to conceive and we believed that maybe, just maybe, we’d experience a miracle. We decided that we were ready for baby #2 so we jumped back into the adoption world again. We were quickly matched with a birthmother due in less than a month. Well, God had another glorious plan in mind: we found out that after six years of waiting, I was pregnant! It was an incredible surprise! We blew all the doctors completely away.

Georgia was born on the 4th of July and labour and delivery was everything I had hoped it would be and more! It was a beautiful, sacred day that I’ll forever remember. A year later, we again felt like our family wasn’t quite complete so yet again, we jumped back into the adoption world! This time we knew exactly where our heart was leading us to: Japan.

The agency told us it would be about a year until we would maybe have a baby to bring home. Well, two months in we got the call from our agency, “So, just how soon are you ready for a baby?”

My husband, our two small kids and I travelled to Japan and held our sweet daughter, one month after she was born. We named her Noa which means “my love” in Japanese. I call her my dream baby. She is my easiest baby so far and is always content. She is such a blessing in our lives and fits right in with this crazy, wonderful family.

Now, just to make things a little more interesting than they already are, when arrived home with our new daughter in tow, I discovered I was pregnant again. We are expecting another little one, due the beginning of December! Another surprise, another miracle baby–we couldn’t be more excited!

Our two little ones will be less than 11 months apart.

Now if you’ve read it this far, thank you for tagging along, you’ve noticed that my journey to motherhood does not look like most but I assure you, it has all the components of motherhood.

Heartbreak. Exhaustion. Fear. Worry. Stress. Pain.

Redemption. Joy. Fulfilment. Love. Contentment. Hope.

Through all the pain and darkness that I’ve walked through in these past nine years, it has been far outweighed by the joy and light that my four beautiful babies have given me. This is a path I would walk again and again, because I know that at the end of this journey, it leads me straight to them.

To being their mother.

This is motherhood, too. 

Photos by Katie Cross Photography. Clothing provided by June Isle Clothier.

4 Comments

  • Reply Sarah November 16, 2018 at 4:20 AM

    You’ve been through so much! I can’t imagine. Thank you for sharing, it was beautiful and your family is beautiful. Don’t let someone else tell you that you can’t grieve a child, adopted or not. Ridiculous. Xo

  • Reply Birth Mother October 31, 2018 at 7:56 AM

    Here’s the thing about baby Charlotte, from a birth mom’s point of view.

    I understand you had grief, but what you’re missing is perspective. She was never your baby. She already had a mom.
    The entire section about when you had to give her back to her mom, it’s as if you’re trying to make the comparison to the pain that we (birth moms) feel. You don’t get to claim our pain.

    We conceive a child. We nurture that child until birth, for some longer. Our bodies retain the scars and tell the story of how our sweet babies came into this world. We bond with our babies. I can still tell you what music my baby liked to dance to, which times of the day she liked to move around, what her favorite position inside me was.
    We carry our sweet baby for 40 long, but short, weeks. Usually, a woman is decorating a nursery and buying diapers, prepping for when she takes her baby home from the hospital. Not us. We do everything the same, except when our baby comes, we say goodbye.

    As soon as Charlotte was handed to you, you erased her mom from your mind, as so many adoptive parents do. She no longer mattered, because you got what you wanted: a baby.

    Charlotte was never yours. She was always her mom’s. You knew going into adoption that there’s a chance a parent will change their mind prior to signing away their rights. If you didn’t want to deal with that part, maybe you should have found orphans who needed a home.

    Can adoption be a beautiful thing? Yes, mine is. But keeping families together, whenever it’s safe and possible, should be the goal. Charlotte got to go back to her mom. That should be rejoiced. You don’t get to lay claim to a baby that isn’t yours until the papers are finalized.

    Your grief was a product of your lack of perspective and understanding. Maybe that’s partially on the adoption service you used, I don’t know. Maybe they didn’t tell you that until the papers are signed, the baby’s parents can take her back home. If so, that’s them failing at a basic level to prepare hopeful adoptive parents, and I cringe to think what they’re telling pregnant couples/moms.

    You grieved the loss of an idea, of a possibility of being a mom. You said yourself that that’s what you were meant to be – a mother. Fact is, any baby would do.

    I’m sorry that you experienced that grief, but hopefully you gained a little perspective from it for your adopted kids’ sake and for their birth parents’ sake. We do give our child into the arms of another, and even if it’s meant to be an open adoption so we’ll get to see them again, we understand there’s no legal enforcement of that. Adoptive parents can close it whenever, and for whatever reason, they want. Do some close for legitimate reasons, such as the birth parents being a danger to the child? Yes. Do some close simply because the adoptive parents don’t want their child to know they were adopted? Yes.

    Main point? Don’t claim our grief. It isn’t yours.

  • Reply Eva July 26, 2018 at 12:17 PM

    What an incredible story. Thank you so much for sharing your tender story and illuminating both sides of motherhood. Love and prayers heading your way for this pregnancy.

  • Reply Belinda Hasan July 23, 2018 at 9:58 PM

    Thank you for share your beautiful story and loving those babes so well❤️

  • Leave a Reply