I've wanted to do this sort of post for a little while for so many reasons. Because when it comes to the topic of having children, there is a lot of advice out there about 'what should be', 'what needs to be' and often forgotten in the process is the story of 'what actually is'. This week, I am so incredibly honoured to be sharing a few of those stories with you here :
Emily: My husband and I like to say we took a flying leap of faith 4,000 miles away in order to start our family. We knew, somewhere deep down that it would work but to this day I'm a little shocked that it did. Five weeks after moving to Houston from Dublin, we got a call from our adoption agency to say that there was a baby girl they were certain belonged in our family. We were, and are still stunned that God chose her for us and managed to get us to drop our jobs and lives to move so far away so we could be ready for her! She is and will always be all of our Christmases wrapped up into one little bundle.
We didn't have a straight or simple or short route to build our family. Instead, when I think back on the last two years and adopting our two children, it was a rollercoaster and we just refused to get off.
There were, thankfully, extremely high highs, like walking into two NICUs to meet our itty bitty babies for the first time, feeding their first bottles and packing them up into their car seats to drive home as a family of three and then a family of four for the first time. First giggles and first steps and even middle of the night feeds and walking aimlessly around the neighborhood to get them to sleep, we were and are endlessly grateful that we get to be their parents, that we get to be a family.
But there were also extreme lows. Between adopting our daughter, Maya, in October 2015 and adopting our son, Noah, in August 2017, we survived four failed adoptions.
And while Maya's arrival made me a mama, Noah's arrival taught me so much about faith, strength, perseverance and sheer grit.
I barely let myself think our crazy plan moving across countries would work before we got news of Maya that October morning. I hoped our plan would work (and I sure prayed it would) but I couldn't say for sure that it was going to work. There were obviously no guarantees. But it did work. We got news of Maya at 10am one morning and she was in our arms at 6pm that night and forever after. She is a dream.
But quickly after having Maya, we started to realize we weren't done yet. I knew our son was there waiting for us, I knew Maya was supposed to be an older, bossy sister. I knew we couldn't return home to Ireland until we found him. I simply wouldn't get off the rollercoaster until he was in my arms. God answered one enormous prayer for us already, it almost felt like too much to ask for another.
We fostered for a year between adopting Maya and Noah, which was an incredible honor. We thought one of those foster babies would join our family but she ended up returning to a family member after a few months. We even fostered a seven month old baby we were initially hoping to adopt at birth, and spent several weeks trying to help reverse the damage those months of neglect had done. Two birth moms chose us and then chose to parent their children. We mourned each as a loss but we rejoiced in babies and biological families staying together. And we took solace in having provided another option for women as they were making an incomprehensibly hard decision.
We eventually made the decision to stay a third year in Houston to change adoption agencies. After two more months of licensing and classes and paperwork, we were listed as a waiting family with our new agency in May 2017, and in late July 2017, we got the call that our son was coming just a few weeks later. I held my breath until he was in my arms. He is exactly who we were waiting for and clawing our way toward all that time.
Between our adoptions, when it seemed that every door was being closed, a few other mothers suggested that perhaps we weren't supposed to parent more children. Perhaps Maya was supposed to be our only child. But I knew in my gut that that simply wasn't true. I knew I just had to stay on the rollercoaster a little longer.
And so if there's a single piece of advice I can give to women who are waiting to be mothers, but who know in their hearts that they want to be, please don't let anyone convince you to get off the rollercoaster until you are ready. And please don't let anyone convince you those desires or wants or wishes to be a mom, or to be a mom to more children, aren't valid or worthy of pursuing with every ounce of grit you can muster. I'm not saying every desire is met or every wish is granted; moving 4,000 miles away and starting life over wasn't our first choice. But it's okay to know what you want in your gut and to work as hard as you can to make it happen. I had to learn that it's not greedy to want to have or adopt another child, but you can bet it has filled me with an unending well of gratefulness at being able to mother my two children.
We returned home to Dublin a few weeks ago after three years in Houston and two adoptions. We are so excited to start the next phase of our journey now as a family, and to figure out which rollercoaster we might hop on next.
...Thank you fearless, brave Emily for allowing me to share your words here x
ps. This series is for you mama-to-be, mama-in-wait, not even thinking about it or independent woman- wherever you may be on your journey, whatever it is that you are facing, you are not alone. Sending you an enormous amount of love xo