Welcome to our corner of the web! Here you will learn about our family and our journey of a family member adoption. In July of 2010, after 9 years of trying to add to our family and 5 years after we started our adoption journey, we welcomed baby Emily Rose. Emily's birth mom is Sharon's adopted sister. We look forward to someday adopting more children but for now, we are enjoying our time together as a family of 4!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Jami's Journey

Yesterday I shared with you the story of my cousin Jenn, who placed her son for adoption 5 years ago. Jami agreed to share their story, and how Jenn changed their lives.
Thank you David and Jami!
Jami's Journey in her words:
My husband and I were excited to find out we were pregnant with our first baby. Then, at 25 weeks along, I became sick with severe pre-eclampsia and HELLP Syndrome. I was hospitalized, the baby was given steroids to help develop her lungs, and I delivered my baby at 26 weeks. Severely premature, she weighed 1lb, 12oz and was 13 ¼ inches long. She was beautiful. Kiley broke all the rules in the hospital for premature babies, breathing on her own so early, not needing blood transfusions. My husband and I got to hold her three different times by the time she was eight days old! Then on her 9th day of life, she contracted an infection from the bacteria in the air, and she passed away on her tenth day of life. We were devastated, heartbroken and so empty. We have a blessed knowledge of where she is and that there is a special plan for her, but our arms were extremely empty, and our hearts were shattered.

As soon as my doctor gave me the ok six months later, we tried to get pregnant again, but there was a bit of a wait; it took eight months but we were excited to be pregnant again! We went into this new pregnancy with hopes that things would go better this time. However, after our daughter passed away, we learned that I have three different blood clotting disorders that make it inevitable that I would have pre-eclampsia again. At 11 ½ weeks along, I miscarried. We were so confused. Why should anyone have to suffer so much? All we wanted was to raise a child, to cuddle them in our arms, to teach them to tie their shoe, to help them with their homework, teach them to play baseball, teach them to drive a car and watch them get married and have their own children. Doctors told me that it was not a good thing for me to be pregnant. I was completely hopeless.

My thoughts turned to adoption, which had been in our minds from years before. Growing up, I always believed being adopted would be cool. A few times, I even asked my mom if I was adopted! When my husband and I were first married, we often talked about adoption and how neat it would be to adopt a child; though we didn't plan to adopt until we were done having children of our own. After much thought, my husband and I talked about our dream to adopt, and after prayer we knew that the time had come for us to proceed with adoption. We received the paperwork two days after my miscarriage, on October 17, 2003, and I was feeling hope once again. I just knew that we would be blessed with a beautiful child that would be just right for our family.

In February 2004, we became certified through the state to adopt. Wahoo!!!!! We posted our profile and were so excited at the idea of adoption finally becoming real. I happened to meet a young woman in Florida who was expecting. We became friends through communicating online, and she asked me if I could send her my profile, and that she and her boyfriend wanted to place their child for adoption. “I’d rather wait until I can afford to buy my baby Nike’s, and not worry about where we are going to live and how we will survive,” she told me.

On Mothers' Day 2004, the young woman and her boyfriend contacted our family and asked us to raise their child. We were overjoyed! Of course we would! The baby was due at the end of July 2004. Then, one month before he was born, the birth mom changed her mind and chose to raise him herself. I expected to be devastated once again. I expected to be heartbroken. And while my husband and I were upset over this, we also felt a peace about it. We had faith that there was a baby who needed us.

Two weeks later (July 2004), our case worker called and told us that he had a letter for us from a birth mom. We rushed over to his office and opened up a sweet letter from a birth mom. “Congratulations, you’re having a boy!” the letter said. Oh wow! The birth mom had found our profile and felt like we were the family her son needed. Things just felt so right. Our birth mom also included her picture. She was so pretty! My husband and I were overwhelmed with gratitude for her. We couldn’t wait to meet her. We were so lucky, our birth mom lived in our state, 45 minutes away from us, and we shared the same case worker. Our meeting day came. I had butterflies in my stomach. Would she like us in person? Would she still want to place her baby after he was born? She brought her parents, her sister and her niece with her to our meeting, and after introductions, both my husband and I felt such a love for each member of her family and to our birth mom. Not only did we feel love, but we felt like we were a part of each others' heart.
Mama Jenn (our birth mom) and I communicated daily through emails, getting to know each other and sharing our days with each other. As an adoptive mom, I cherished this as it was a way that I could get to know her, so someday I could share things about her with my soon-to-be son. Mama Jenn was very open with us and welcomed us right into her life. We are so blessed to have her in our lives. Before Mama Jenn gave birth, we met for dinner one more time. It was so much fun to see her again, to laugh with her and truly enjoy her and her family. The day my husband I had been waiting for finally came. Andrew was born on a Saturday evening October 30, 2004, one year and two weeks after receiving our initial paperwork. I remember his birthday day so clearly. We bought a dresser for his room and had our car seat checked to make sure it was installed properly. Andrew was born at 8:08 p.m., and we received a phone call around 8:30 p.m. from our case worker. “All, I know is that the baby is here, Jenn is asking for you to come, but she’s in tears.” We hurried--I’m not sure if hurried is the right word, rather, we raced to the hospital. We entered Jenn’s room and I just wanted to cry for her. I imagined she’d been through so much. As it turned out, Jenn was in tears was because Andrew couldn’t be in her room; he needed to be monitored in the nursery for some medical concerns due to his birth. After all we’d been through with our children; she wanted to give us the perfect baby. Oh my gosh, she did give us the perfect baby! My heart was overwhelmed once again with gratitude and love for Jenn. She was the most selfless and charitable person I’d ever met. We are so thankful to her. We got to meet our little boy soon after that. Oh my goodness, he was so cute! He was so precious to us. When the nurse placed Andrew in my arms, I wept. It felt so good to have not just any baby in my arms, but my baby in my arms. Words just can’t express all that went on in my heart. Joy, healing, relief, humble, peaceful, ecstatic… the list goes on.
I had the privilege of staying in the hospital with Jenn, and then due to the minor medical issues when he was born, Jenn and I, as his two moms, sent him off to another hospital. We were able to join Andrew very shortly and the next day he was released and able to come home. I asked Jenn if she would like to help me dress him, and we worked together to get him ready to go. Then it was time to leave. At this point I could no longer hold in the tears. This sweet and selfless mother was giving her son the best gift ever-- a mother and a father, a family, and that family was mine! I’ve thanked Mama Jenn before, but I’m not sure that I will ever be able to express my most sincere thanks to her for her sacrifice.

This birth mom changed my life. She changed my husband’s life. She filled a hole that nobody else could fill. We will love her forever.

While pregnancies had not been successful for us in the past, we found out we were pregnant right before we received Jenn's letter in July 2004. Everyone involved (doctors, our case worker and family) in the pregnancy felt I was able to carry our daughter for a good amount of time because I was more relaxed; I was not as stressed because I knew we'd end up with Andrew in the long run.

I gave birth to Kortnie eight weeks early. Things were going very well in my pregnancy and then one night I thought I was in preterm labor, went to the hospital and found out I was having an abruption and my placenta was tearing off my uterus. She was born via emergency c-section and stayed in the nicu for 1 month before coming home.

Andrew and Kortnie are 10.5 weeks apart and are the very best of friends. As you can imagine, we get a lot of questions about how they can be so close in age! We have also been blessed with another daughter, Kaitlyn who was born May 2009. We were overjoyed that it was a full term pregnancy and she was a healthy baby. All of our children have truly made our family complete.

Thank you again Jami and Jenn for letting me share your journey's!


penguin0802 said...

Wow, Jami. You told your part in such heartfelt words, and I read it like it happened yesterday. These have been some very rough, but very triumphant 5 years for us, and I wouldn't trade anything for the chance that I've had to grow closer to you and David, and love you.

Thanks Sharon, for asking me and Jami to write our stories. I'd do it again in a heartbeat if I had to.

ergillmore said...

Jami, your family is beautiful! I'm so glad that you are a part of my heart. And the tears I'm shedding now are so sweet. I remember how Andrew looked so much like David and I KNEW that he was a part of your family. Thank you for all that you have done to bless not only Jenn's life but mine too.


Gram-Gram said...

Jami I loved reading this story again. It is so beautiful. I am SO thankful to have Andrew in our family. I am so glad Momma Jenn has found someone and married in the Temple so she can now have so many blessings she deserves. Thanks to her parents to, that has to be hard...