As a mom of two beautiful children, I like to think of myself as an advocate for anyone who wants to become a parent. Yes, I will complain and whine and moan about the lack of sleep, the emotional toll, and the physical grossness of all that is parenthood – but when it comes down to it, I think of my children as my life’s greatest accomplishment. I helped in creating them with someone I dearly love and am now responsible for molding them into somewhat normal human beings.
But what if someone you loved or knew wanted a child and perhaps was experiencing some difficulty conceiving? What if that person was a single woman or man, but couldn’t imagine life without children of their own?
I think the majority of people’s first inclination is to offer adoption as a solution. My thought is “There are plenty of children who need saving!” I asked my sister, Abriel Kesler, for her input, as she and her husband adopted a beautiful baby girl two years ago. The following is her story, written in her words:
One family’s adoption journey…
This is actually the first and only time I’ve written about Vaya and the whole chapter of bringing her into my life. Sometimes the heart forms a diary of it’s own jumbled thoughts and memories, where timings and sequences are all compiled into one large whirlwind.
Fears of putting them down on paper or typing them on screen make the moments more real but also somehow more terrifying at the same time. To write them, you have to relive them, which is always the scariest part for me. But to give them a voice, means you can be heard and in turn begin to heal. Not only yourself, but also those that hear your lyrics that sound so similar to the ones they replay over and over again in their own hearts.
My hope is to give you a little bit of insight, in order to give those lost, peace for their minds, inspirations for their souls, and hope for their hearts.
The reality of infertility…
My story begins five years ago. The day I wanted to become a mommy. For me it was pretty instantaneous. I still consider myself young, being twenty-nine, currently only one month away from thirty, but I considered myself much younger for some reason at twenty-four. My thoughts on love, life, and hope were extremely different back then and I didn’t know it, but boy would I learn a whole lot about each of those things as time went on.
After two years of trying for a baby the old fashioned way, we made an appointment with our first fertility specialist. I could probably write a whole book on just the procedures, medications, and medical processes we tried, but since this isn’t about infertility, I’m going to summarize.
In the two years following, we went to two different infertility specialists, repeatedly diagnosed with “unexplained infertility.” While undergoing regular fertility acupuncture, we went through 6 cycles of Femara (Letrazole), 2 artificial inseminations (IUI’s), and 2 rounds of IVF. The last rounds of IVF gave us our first tiny miracle, which sadly ended just three weeks later.
A part of me and a part of who I was died that day.
In miscarriage, you not only lose your little one, you lose the dream and hope of becoming a mommy. And after feeling so much loss, you find yourself more lost than you ever thought possible. With much time, a part of you does goes on, and learns to let go just enough to keep looking forward. With me, I carry his or her heart in my heart, and will for the rest of my life.
I was so exhausted from all the treatments that right before the last IVF procedure, my husband and I had decided to embrace this as our last infertility attempt, come what may.
I received a phone call a few months prior to our last IVF attempt from our aunt in Florida. Our cousin gave birth to a beautiful baby girl in February that same year. This was the second baby my cousin gave birth to. The first baby boy was gifted to a close relative’s family, and the second baby girl, as it turns out, was going to be my gift.
My one and only sweet Vaya Rose.
My husband and I discussed pursuing adoption prior to IVF, even if IVF was successful. We both agreed “yes” equally with all our hearts. I met Vaya when she was 3 months old, and I had so many doubts…
Was I really ready to be a mommy? Her mommy? Could I love her the same as a baby I gave birth to? Would I feel as bonded to her right away?
After we lost our miracle baby in August, we almost lost our other “gifted miracle baby” in the same month. I went from potentially having two babies, while being in the process of having a seven month old on the way, to losing almost each and every one of them all in the same week.
At this point our hearts completely attached to Vaya Rose, spending day and night with her while she lived with us during her adoption process. Then, unexpectedly, our cousin put a halt on the paperwork and court hearing, unsure if she wanted to hand over her parental rights.
When this happened, two things in my mind became very clear.
- I would fight to the death to keep this child protected and safe.
- The bond I felt to Vaya was there before any court told me she was my daughter.
That’s how I know motherhood … parenthood … is a feeling. A heart-to-heart bond that can’t be placed, repaired, or torn. I know every single adoption process is different. And I know it was a blessing to be able to spend as much time with her as we did, prior to officially adopting her.
The biggest fear most adoptive parents have is not bonding. Let me put this fear to rest by sharing even after giving birth to their babies, 4 out of 10 mothers will have difficulty bonding with their children. It’s a possibility that always exists. It takes time, regardless of how a child comes into your life. It can’t be rushed. Some of the best things in life are worth waiting for. And I speak from experience that THIS REALLY IS WORTH IT.
Every mother develops insurmountable fears about her little ones, especially in the beginning. But fears can be overcome with patience and faith. For me, it took a solid year to truly bond with Vaya. That may sound like an eternity to some. I will say, I fell in love with her instantly, as soon as we brought her home. Long before any court hearing. But it wasn’t until I put faith in myself as a mom that I began to trust myself.
Like every new mom, I always felt I was doing everything wrong. And then one day I learned there is no “perfect way.” No one knows your kid like you do. No one on Earth. With love as your motivation, every woman has intuition, especially when it comes to your kid. You just have to learn to trust it. As you better understand your kiddo, that intuition will get stronger and clearer. That’s when you really begin to trust yourself and every now and even begin to see yourself as that “Supermom.”
I’ve been asked before, “What does it take to adopt a baby?” I’m sure they wanted a list of processes, financial info, and legal suggestions. But instead I told them what it really truly takes. And it all comes down to just one simple thing….
Love. That’s all it really came down to for me. It may sound cliche, but it’s the truth. Some mommies who gave birth to their babies didn’t plan to have them; sometimes they come as a huge surprise! But just because they aren’t necessarily planned doesn’t mean the mommies love or bond with them differently. Every single experience is different. You don’t know how your baby is going to look or sound. There is no way to know what songs or books or movies your baby is going to fall in love with. Every child is a journey. A journey you get to watch and learn.
Each baby or child is a truly a gift. A beautiful present. Carefully wrapped, never knowing exactly what’s inside. The most beautiful part of them is they are ever changing and grow from what surrounds them. Most importantly, they attach their little hearts to those who love and take care of them day in and day out.
Living the truth…
November is National Adoption Month. We adopted our Vaya Rose on November 6, 2014 – the most beautiful, celebrated day in my entire history. She was already mine long before then, but from this day forward she was officially my little girl for eternity.
We decided to raise Vaya knowing she was gifted to us from the very beginning. It’s a very personal decision that can made by the parents. My husband and I both chose to raise her with this knowledge early on. Our main goal is for her to knowhow much we wanted, pleaded, and prayed for her. Her arrival into our lives was our saving grace, and she made us believe in miracles all over again. She became, and continues to be, our hope, laughter and light. It is my greatest wish to raise her knowing how greatly and unconditionally loved she truly is.
Vaya Rose made me a mommy, and because of her I wake up everyday living my dream as her mother. All the fears, all the worry, all the exhausting processes and interrogations are without a doubt 100% worth it.
How many times do we hear from parents “I would do anything for my child?” Adoptive parents are proof of what people will go through to become the most wonderful, most beautiful, treasured thing in existence … a family.
I read my sister’s words with tears streaming down my face. So humbling. Adoption is a beautiful, painful, and intense process … one I will honor and respect in a whole new way. To all those in the process, completed, or plan to adopt, please know you are truly incredible.