We had spent 8 years married and trying to have a biological baby. The struggles were overwhelming. We cried, felt helpless, spent too many hours cursing God and asking “why?” We questioned why we were being punished and couldn’t have this one thing that so many others have. We felt betrayed that we had spent our whole lives doing everything we were supposed to do. We felt jealousy and anger. Our feelings were strong and indescribable. We are taught to have a family. My greatest desire was to be a mom my entire life, and that was the one thing we couldn’t make happen. All we wanted was a baby.
Throughout these years we experienced so many emotions. People said hurtful things, not knowing the pain it caused. We did not discuss what we were struggling with to anyone. We had so many people say, “it’s interesting that you are choosing a career over a family.” Mother’s Day was the worst day of the year. The pain just ached from somewhere deep in my heart; the pain that I was broken, that I couldn’t give my husband the one thing he wanted, that I wasn’t good enough – the list goes on and on.
However, during this time we discovered so many things about ourselves. We grew closer, we learned to communicate, and we learned to love. We had discussed adoption a few times, even made phone calls, but it was not the right time. One evening in December we were at a church activity and someone announced their pregnancy and then said to us, “You guys need to get on it, what’s your problem?” I couldn’t hold back the tears and we left. As we discussed what had happened, everything finally clicked into place. Now was the time to adopt, it just felt right.
We felt so strongly that our baby was out there and that we needed to prepare immediately. We felt prompted it would be a girl and within the year we would have her. It felt almost impossible that we would only have to wait a year, but we went forward with faith and prepared our babies room. The room was put together by the end of December as a testament of our faith. We knew that we would have a baby, it was only a matter of when and how.
As we put together our homestudy, we had the opportunity to go back to my hometown in California in May. My mom had mentioned that one of her friends’ daughters was pregnant and would like someone to talk to and ask for advice. It never crossed our minds that this would be anything but helping someone that needed help. While in California, we traded in our truck for a more family friendly vehicle as another exercise of faith. Within hours of buying our new car, I went to that first meeting with this girl and we talked about everything and anything. My thoughts were, “I hope I can help her out the same way someone is hopefully helping our birthmother, wherever she may be.” Towards the end of the conversation, I was starting to become confused and ask, “Is there something you’re trying to ask me?” She proceeded to tell us about how she wanted us to adopt her baby. Being slightly confused and overwhelmed, I asked “Do you know if it’s a boy or a girl?” She said, “It’s a girl.” That was our confirmation that this was it.
We had our moments over the next 5 months where we worried and prayed, but our strong and beautiful birthmother was always so willing to be a part of our lives. During that time, she visited us and we visited her. It was hardly ever awkward and it just felt like not only was this baby supposed to be in our family, but Mandy was also. She was not only a birthmother; she had become a friend and sister.
Lilly was born in November and we met her a few hours after. Brandon fell in love immediately, but I was more cautious. Not only was I concerned about the baby, but I was concerned about Mandy. We loved Mandy and wanted her to be happy. Although we wanted more than anything to take this baby home with us, we also wanted to respect Mandy and make sure she knew we would never be angry with her if she decided to keep her. One moment when we were alone, I asked her a question. I wasn’t nervous about it, nor did I fear the answer. I felt peace with whatever decision was to happen.
“Mandy, do you want to do this?” The feeling in the room was full of peace. We know Mandy wanted to keep her, we know she loved and still loves her. We are grateful each day that Mandy and Lilly’s birthfather gave us this gift. There are a million other details that have gone into our adoption that are just too private and precious to share, but this experience has been the biggest moment in our lives.
We have spent the past 3 years getting to be the parents of this truly special little girl. We have also been able to get to know her birthfather, Victor, and his family. Not many people talk about the birthfather, but in our case, he is just the sweetest and kindest person. It warms our hearts to see how much he loves her and how tender he is with her. It is amazing how much love you can have for so many people.
Someone mentioned recently that their child was born with too large a heart to be loved by only a few people, so that is why they needed to be adopted. Adoption truly is about love. Lilly is loved by so many people, first by Victor and Mandy – they would not have made this decision if they didn’t love her. We have been beyond blessed to have not only Lilly in our lives, but her biological families as well.
As we look back now, I realize that our Heavenly Father knows our struggles. He knows our pain. We have a new perspective on life. We know that He has given us this trial for a reason. Lilly was meant to be in our home. She was meant to be our daughter. She is our daughter. I count my trials as blessings now, we no longer fear them; we embrace them. I wish I could go back in time and take back the anger we felt, but that is how we grow and that is how we learn. I now wonder how we could not thank God for these struggles when we look at all that we have. We are exactly where we should be and our family is exactly how it was meant to be.
For updates, check out Hannah’s adoption Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/brandonhannahadopting
Story written by Hannah Ungricht
This story appeared on Real Imprints.