James & Jennifer

I had a BIG crush on James in high school, and after we both graduated we were connected through mutual friends and began dating. After dating for a few years, we married in September of 2013. We married in September of 2013, after dating for a few years. We decided that we wanted to wait at least a year to have children, so I started oral contraceptives in February 2014.

A few months later, I was having a lot of chest and side pain, along with difficulty breathing, and felt that I needed to go to the ER. When they asked what medications I was taking at the time, it didn’t take them long to discover that I had a bilateral pulmonary embolism (blood clots in both lungs) as a result of the birth control.

Thankfully, they didn’t find any long-term damage, and I was able to basically get back to normal after a long recovery. After this event, we made the decision to postpone children for a longer period of time, and simply focus on our overall health and marriage. 

For the next couple of years, we put a lot of effort into finding our forever home, and into growing our business. After all, everyone had been telling us that we were young, and had plenty of time to have children!

After my blood clots, we had met with a high risk OB, because we were told that my pregnancy would be high risk. I wasn’t thrilled about it, but knew the precautions I would have to take.

In January of 2016, we were finally remodeling our forever home, and felt more prepared and settled with the thought of growing our family. We even decided on a window of four months that we thought was the best timing for us to have a child, and had no reason to believe that our dreams wouldn’t come true.

This is where our story really just becomes one big blur of doctors, advice, tears, supplements, schedules, surgery, money, stress, books, medications, and more.

My regular OB was very little help with our fertility struggles, and very little help with my other health concerns, honestly. After a year of trying to conceive, I had an HSG which they said showed nothing wrong. I later learned while reading the notes that there was a possible polyp or cyst, but that was never mentioned to me.

After this, we had hope that we would be able to get pregnant in a few months, since the ‘spiderwebs’ were likely cleared. No such luck, so I bought a BBT thermometer and started tracking my temperatures and ovulation. I took that a little further, and just purchased a bracelet to wear while sleeping that synced to my phone and kept track of these details for me.

I joined support groups on Facebook. I reached out to family and friends. I purchased several books on fertility, and we started taking the vitamins and supplements that were recommended. We went to a NaPro doctor, and had extensive hormone testing and bloodwork. She discovered that I was not actually ovulating on my own, so I started fertility medications.

All these years of trying to conceive, and there wasn’t even an egg there to fertilize.

We also learned that we had the MTHFR gene mutation (very common and informative, look it up!), and mild male factor infertility. She informed me that I probably had endometriosis, since I had very painful and heavy periods that caused me to miss work, so I made a rushed decision to have surgery by an RE. I had stage II endometriosis, a polyp, and a cyst, and also received a PCOS diagnosis.

A month after my surgery, we decided to try an IUI cycle. It failed. We got busy with work and low on finances, so we decided to just try as normal for awhile. Six months later we did another IUI that also failed.

My periods continued to be painful, and I discovered that I had the less successful type of surgery. ALWAYS do research first. That’s the most important lesson I’ve learned in this journey. I lost weight, I gained weight, I did keto. I drank herbal teas, I exercised. We prayed, we cried. We honestly had tried everything we felt comfortable with, and were reaching the end of our rope. We honestly tried everything we felt comfortable with. We struggled ethically with in-depth fertility treatments, and felt we needed to stop with an IUI.

All the while, we had plenty of advice and support from friends and family, and sometimes strangers. Even though they didn’t always know what to say or do, it was good to have people to lean on. We heard the usual comments of “Don’t stress!”, “Stand on your head!”, “When you quit trying, it will happen!”, “You should just adopt!”, “It’s all God’s timing!”

I don’t blame people for saying these things, because I know it was the only thing they knew to say, and it’s exactly what I would’ve said.

So we continued to attend birthday parties, throw baby showers for friends and family, and feel the constant heartache. Some friends and family were having their second child in the time span we had been trying to conceive.

Through the years, I kept telling myself that it was okay, because everyone’s story is different, and that our time would come. The stress was really hard on our relationship and our marriage, but I think it has made us stronger. We’ve learned to be really open about our thoughts, feelings, and stress instead of holding it all inside.

Enter the bright light of adoption. We had always talked about adoption as a possibility, in the same way that most people do, I think. We have several near and dear family members and friends that are adopted, so it was always on our minds to carry on the blessing of adoption. My mom is adopted, and there are several other family members that are adopted, so it was always on our minds. But with each step we took down the infertility path, we felt like there was renewed hope in us conceiving so we never really took the jump. Everyone that knows anything about adoption knows it is a BIG jump to take!

On Thanksgiving 2019, we went to a family gathering that included two brand new babies, and lots of other children, and we got asked the normal questions about our struggle with infertility in private conversations. It was an emotional day for us. We were in the middle of the holiday season, and had officially been trying to conceive for four years without a positive test. Ever. Once we got back home, I looked at James and said, “Do you want to adopt?” He said, “That’s what I was just thinking.” From there, we prayed about it, did the research, made the phone calls, talked to family and friends, and decided to take the steps needed. I spent a lot of time staring at the ceiling at doctors’ offices, and each time I remember getting the feeling that we were meant for something more.            

We were very disappointed when we learned the cost of agencies and the work involved, and felt like adoption wasn’t even an option for us.

But I knew of multiple couples that had independently matched via word of mouth or social media, so I had hope that we could do the same. James was leery, at first, about putting our story out there and announcing to everyone that we wanted to adopt, but he eventually understood the benefits of doing so.

We have received a lot of support from friends, family, and complete strangers. Learning about the adoption process has been very educational and interesting. The road to adoption has been a lot harder and more stressful than we ever imagined, so I’m always very excited to see improvements and advancements in the process. There are many children that need homes, and many people looking to adopt, and I feel like the connections are too hard to make. Expectant mothers and hopeful adoptive parents need a simple, safe place to connect. 

Our four-year struggle with infertility has led us to a lot of wonderful people and places, but we are ready to begin our next chapter.

Adoption has always been in our hearts, so we have decided to grow our family through love, rather than biology.

In the years we have been trying to expand our family, we have acquired so much love in our hearts that we are ready to share. Hopefully adoption will allow us to do this!

Hopefully adoption will allow us to do this! I want to share our story not for pity or attention, but because I know how much I looked for help and advice in our journey. I wanted to read stories similar to ours, and hear about how their happy ending came along. I do truly believe in God’s timing, and I do believe that the right child(ren) for us is/are or will be out there!

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