This adoption story is so very special. When I received this story to be shared here on thesnapmom.com, I read it and was in puddles. It touched my heart so deeply. A story of courage and miraculous blessing. What an honor to be able to share this story with you. Grab the tissues and enjoy.
The Adoption Story of Charisa Rose
Hi, I am Amanda. Our adoption story begins with a heartbreaking emotional roller-coaster, but through God’s unfailing grace and mercy, ends with our most beautiful blessing, Charisa Rose! My husband, Keith, and I were high school sweethearts and have known since before we were even married that we would not be able to have a family naturally. You see, when I was 16 I had still not gotten my first period. I was always really petite so we figured that may have been a factor, but at 16 my mom took me to the gynecologist to get things checked out. Well the doctor did the standard exam, and then sent me for ultrasound. A few days later we discovered the real cause, I was born without a uterus.
At first it was really difficult, I think I just cried and slept that whole first day after finding out. I have always loved children and always knew I wanted to be a mom, so it was such a blow to know that a privilege, so often taken for granted, was now completely out of my control. However, I decided pretty quickly that depression over it would get me nowhere and I just decided to have faith that God had a plan. If he wanted, he could heal my physical body, if not then he obviously had other plans and that would be okay too. I was also very lucky that Keith (whom I had been dating for a couple years at the time, and is now my husband) was very supportive, married me with full knowledge that our path to parenthood would be difficult at best, and never once made me feel bad about my inability to have a child for us. I also decided to take my loss and turn it into blessing others as I began volunteering with teen moms and at a crisis pregnancy center. Obviously I’ve had good days and bad days along the way….although I was always happy for my friends and family when they had pregnancy announcements, they were still always tough to hear. And especially times like being in the delivery room for the birth of two of my nephews; it was beautiful, but tough knowing I would never get to experience that.
My husband Keith and I both truly love and desired children, and for the past ten years we had done a lot of talking, planning, and praying before finally deciding to officially pursue adoption in February of 2012. We were initially trying to pursue a private adoption, so we created our online profile and waited to get that special call! Fast forward almost a year to January 2013, when I received an e-mail from a potential birth mom in Texas who said she was expecting a baby girl due at the end of February, and she was interested in us as a potential family. After a few more days of calls and e-mails, she decided we were to be the family! We immediately scrambled, with much help from wonderful friends and family, to get all of our requirements completed, including all the background checks, physicals, our home study, and even preparing the baby’s nursery with pretty pink walls and sweet little dresses filling the closet. Two weeks later, our hopes and dreams came crashing down around us as our “birth mom’s” story began to unravel, and we found out that in fact she was making everything up, and as best as we could tell she was never even pregnant. It was a Thursday night, probably the worst night of our lives. Keith and I were heartbroken and just lay for a while in the pink would-be nursery not sure what to say or do from there. But God was not finished with our story.
Though we had not initially chosen to go through an agency, we had needed to use an agency for our home study. We contacted them to let them know that everything had fallen through, but since all the background work had already been done and since we knew we did still want to adopt eventually, we decided to have them complete the home study process and planned to meet with them later the following week to talk about listing formally with the agency. Bitterly disappointed but wanting to move on, we braced ourselves for another long wait before our next birth mother connection would come. Tuesday morning February 12th, just five days after everything fell apart, I was sitting in class when I got a call from the adoption agency. A birth mom the agency had been working with had delivered unexpectedly that morning, 5 weeks early via emergency C-section – a baby girl – were we interested? In an exuberant rush I of course said yes and gushed about how we already had a baby girl nursery all ready and waiting! The agency said they would present our profile to the birth mom that afternoon, and would let us know as soon as she decided. The next two days waiting for the answer were the absolute longest days of our lives. I may not have gone through the physical act of labor for this baby, but I can assure you I labored many hours in prayer for her! Then on Thursday morning, Valentine’s Day, the agency called and said the birth mom had asked to meet me before she made her final decision. I’ve never been so nervous to meet anyone in my life, but I asked God that His will be done, and whatever the outcome may be, that he had a purpose in connecting us. That afternoon I met the woman who had carried and birthed my sweet baby. She was a kind and thoughtful young lady, and truly believed that she was making the best decision for both her baby and herself. We talked for just a few minutes before she declared that she wanted Keith and me to be the parents! I’m not sure I even spoke for a few minutes as this set in, and then she asked if I’d like to go see the baby!
The moment when I first saw her was truly surreal. Just six short weeks prior I had been standing in the same NICU with my little baby nephew, never having dreamt at that moment I would soon be seeing my own daughter there! When I first laid eyes on that tiny precious baby, I thought she was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen and was just overwhelmed with love for her. I thought for sure I would cry when I saw her, but I didn’t; I think instead I was almost in shock that this was all real! I wanted to reach into her little incubator and scoop her up and hold her forever! However, it was also an interesting moment, because I was acutely aware of Charisa’s birth mom standing there with me. As much as I wanted to love on my daughter, I also wanted to be mindful and respectful of her feelings and how difficult this moment must be for her. She was so gracious though and opened up the incubator “porthole” first, saying a quick hello to the baby, and then allowing me to reach in and touch and meet my tiny little daughter. She was real, she was right here with me, and I knew in that moment that my life, our lives, would never be the same!
Later that afternoon Keith came back to the hospital with me to meet the birth mom and our daughter! The three of us went back to the NICU together and this time we got to hold our baby for the first time, and have our first family photo – taken for us by her birth mom!
Baby Charisa was born at just 3lbs 20z, and 15.5” long. She was in good health overall but “squeaked” when she breathed, which was quickly diagnosed as stridor, basically a floppy and underdeveloped epiglottis. In addition, the ENT exam found that she also had a paralyzed left vocal cord, and it was decided that she would do best at All Children’s Hospital where there were pediatric specialists to make the most accurate diagnosis and give the most efficient care. Although only 45 minutes away, it seemed like 100 miles as logistically this made it much more difficult to see her and visit with her as much as we would like to. But Charisa was a fighter and defied everyone’s expectations coming home just under three weeks old and weighing in at just 4lbs! Since coming home, Charisa has been a perfectly healthy, happy little girl! Despite being so small, she has had absolutely no delays and is now on track both physically and developmentally. Today, at 8 months old, she is busy as can be, crawling, trying to stand, cutting her first two teeth and just exploring her world! Charisa is an absolute joy in our lives and truly a greater answer to our prayers than we even dreamed or imagined!
“Even though you weren’t born to us, you grew in our hearts. We will be forever connected because love is what makes a family.”
― Deanna Kahler