By Carrie O’loughlin
My husband and I first met over 13 years ago, and both dated other people for awhile. By the time we dated and were later married, I was 43 and my husband, 45. We both had a deep desire to be parents, but knew it was going to be tough because of my age.
We chose to try and conceive naturally, at first. Under the care of a skilled doctor, we did conceive a baby girl—Mary Elizabeth—less than a year after we were married. Unfortunately, after eight weeks, I had a miscarriage. We were both crushed and devastated, to say the least. We decided to keep trying. But, as the months went on and I was not getting pregnant again, I really started asking God, “Do you really want us to have children? It is such a deep desire of our hearts.” We both really felt we were meant to be parents. But, now I was 44 and the chances were even more slim.
The idea of adoption came up, but I really wasn’t open to it at the time. Even though we have several other friends who have adopted and love their children to pieces, adoption scared me. At first, there were so many unknowns with adoption, ranging from the uncertainty with the baby’s health to over how much involvement the birth parents would want to have. Finally, I wondered if I could love a child that I did not carry? Little did I know then the explosion of love I would later feel for my adopted child, as if she were my own.
Finally, we took a leap of faith and contacted an adoption agency in Orange County. At the first meeting, they told us, “Adoption is not for the faint of heart” and “You really have to be ready for anything.” All I could think was, “Oh no, I am faint of heart. I am not sure I can do it.” We left the meeting, and I still felt unsure. But, my husband, in his gentle, sweet way, said he thought we should go for it.
Two months and a ton of paperwork later, our profile was up online. I was nervous, hopeful, and excited all at the same time. The agency told us that it could take up to a year, sometimes even more, so I was geared up for a long hall. To our great surprise, we were chosen the same day our profile went live online. The agency called and said, “This never happens so soon, but you have already been chosen by a birth mom!” We were shocked at how fast it happened and so thrilled, all at the same time.
The birth mother was recently divorced. The birth father left her after he found out she was pregnant. She didn’t have a job and really wanted to give her baby boy a loving, caring family and opportunities she couldn’t provide for him. We said “yes” and the wheels were put into motion. In a turn of events, about one month into the process, the birth father came onto the scene and was not in favor of the adoption. He ended up stepping up to provide for the mother and the baby, which was a blessing for them! We were sad at the loss, but so happy for them. Surprisingly, I had no idea that such great love and joy would well up in my heart even at the prospect of adopting that baby boy. From that moment on, I was so excited to adopt a child and knew, then, that it was for me.
Our adoption profile went online again right after the “disruption” happened. We were hopeful, yet cautious so we wouldn’t get our hopes up too much, as we continued to wait. Six months later, we got a call from the agency and they told us we were chosen again, and the baby was due in one week! My husband was out of town, and we were asked to decide in a 24 hour period if we were interested. The agency described the birth mom and why she chose us. We both instantly felt that this was meant to be. Don’t get me wrong, a weeks notice to pull it all together is crazy, but we had no reservations at all. The birth mom sounded like family and even looked as if she could be my sister.
Three days later, we flew to Seattle to meet our baby girl. We were present at the delivery. When I held her in my arms on August 5th, at 5:26 in the morning, my heart exploded with love! I can’t explain it, and I never expected it. But, I was completely and utterly in love with this child. It was as if I had known her my whole life, and she was absolutely perfect! We named her Mary Hannah, and have no doubt she came directly from heaven! We were also blessed to have an amazing lawyer that helped our new little family get on a plane back home to San Diego within four days — which is fast in the adoption world. And, the rest is history!