Nov 13, 2008

Brooklyn’s Adoption Story…

How Our Princess Came to be...


Almost 8 months after Zach & I were married, we decided we were ready to start our family. Little did we know that we were headed into many years of heartache and sadness. I made many trips to the doctor, I gained weight (my doctor said that might help), I took fertility medication (which made me even more emotional) poor Zach! and tried everything they told us to do, but after 3 years of crying my eyes out each time we attended a baby blessing, took a pregnancy test, someone announced that they were pregnant, or another Mother's Day rolled around, we decided we might want to consider other options. (By the way it wasn't at all that I wasn't happy for those around us that were pregnant or celebrating, I was just aching to feel that same joy.)

I think that most people in general are fairly sensitive to those who can not have children, but there are the few that are misinformed or those that just don't think before they speak, they don't realize what it is like to have your dreams crushed. But it's better now, my pain is not raw. I've learned that I don't have to take offense. I think that when you come to grips that you are labeled as "infertile" that you go through a type of grieving process, I felt broken, & betrayed. I felt like I was sort of a freak, everyone around me could make a baby, but I could not, I did not have the divine gift of creating a life. Some of the secret thoughts that went through my head at this time... Did God love me less or did He not trust me enough to carry a child. Maybe I would be a terrible mother, maybe it was better this way. Why would he make me broken? Why did it have to hurt so much? Was I being punished for previous sins? Was it because I had struggled with an eating disorder and I myself had ruined my body?

I had so many quiet and shameful questions that raced through my head through this time period.

I also found that those around you either lift you up and share your pain or they want you to keep your pain hidden, they don't want to deal with it, it makes them uncomfortable, so just pretend your life is perfect, because after all you are the lucky one, you aren't the one getting up at 2 am to feed and change a little bum, you and your hubby can still go out on date nights and be spontaneous. Yes, that's right you are the lucky one.

But out of all this pain came some of the greatest blessings of our lives! Our testimonies grew. I came to more fully understand the power of the Atonement. I became more compassionate and aware of others struggles around me. I felt the Savior there with me through my trials. I knew the Lord was watching over us and preparing a way for us to have a family!

We started to recognize that we had other options. For us adoption was always in the back of our minds. Zach has 2 BEAUTIFUL sisters who are adopted. We had done foster care growing up and my parents were very open to the idea of adopting also. In fact they had been through a failed adoption. So we started searching for answers to our questions and concerns. The Lord started leading us through our exciting journey!

My purpose in telling you this part of our story is not to depress you or even make you feel sorry for us, it is only to help you understand what BEAUTIFUL miracles the Lord performs, He truly does take away our shattered dreams and He replaces them with ones that are even better than the ones we had planned out for ourselves.


{The next part of our story is not one we often talk about, if at all. However it is an important part of our journey none the less. }

Zach & I seemed to be spending more and more time on our knees these days. We needed answers. We knew that we wanted to put our Adoption papers in and that the time was right. We finished our paperwork about a week before we moved to Texas. Zach took a job for the summer at the King Ranch. He was in heaven. I was not. We had been there for about five months when I started feeling like we needed to move home. ( Zach thought it was just because I was homesick.) However soon the spirit was working on him too, (or maybe it was the fact that I had a huge meltdown and told him I was moving home without him. hehehe.) and we decided to move home and finish up school. I believe it was the day after we moved home, that our case worker called to tell us the news. We had been chosen by a birth mom.

We were elated! I remember picking up the phone and listening to those sweet sweet words. She wanted to meet us. She was having a girl! We were having a girl! We called everyone. We set up a time to meet with her. She wanted a closed adoption. She was local. Her boyfriend wasn't ready to be a dad, and she wasn't really sure she was ready to be a single mom. She didn't have much support and had been raised in the foster care system much of her life. I wanted to take her home with us. I wanted to put my arms around her and tell her everything would be fine, that we would take care of her. She was so lovable. She brought us ultrasound pictures. We discussed names. We told her a few names we liked. She told us how she loved the named Abigail. It was a beautiful name. It didn't feel right or seem to fit for us. Abigail was to be born in May. We were so excited, some nights I couldn't even sleep in anticipation of what was to come.

I was still working at the time. In our town there is a website that announces the babies that are born at the local hospital. I often (okay pretty much everyday), liked to go to the website, look at the beautiful babies and see what names were popular etc. (I know, I know. Silly. I was SO baby hungry though.) Our due date was approaching, we only had a few more weeks. One day I got on, and saw a beautiful little girl had been posted. Her name was Abigail. I scrolled down to see the parents name... my heart sunk. Could it be?She wasn't supposed to be here yet. I didn't even have to ask, I knew. I called Zach sobbing. Something is wrong. Very wrong. I called our caseworker. He said he knew nothing. He'd get back to me. After what seemed like an eternity plus ten thousand years, I got the call. Holly... yes it is Abigail. She is still trying to decide what is best. She had some major complications and this could possibly be the only child she will ever be able to carry. Please come in tomorrow and she will have an answer for you. We went to the Temple that night. We prayed. I wanted SO badly to be holding her. On our way home Zach said, well what do you think? I lied. I said "I don't know I didn't really get an answer, I still think she will be ours." Zach looked me in the eyes and said. "Holly, she's not ours." He was right and I knew it. I just didn't want to face the reality of it all. It was like taking that pregnancy test each month, and seeing the negative, only worse because this time you really, I mean REALLY thought it was going to happen. ( I personally have never had a miscarriage, but I remember thinking that this must be what one feels like.)

We went in the next day to meet with our case worker. He was so kind. I held most of my tears in until we got back in the car. On the way home, I did the sobbing cry, you know the really ugly one. The one that you can't get control of. I felt like I had been hit by a car. I wasn't mad. I was just heart broken. That's when I knew that the Atonement was real. I honestly wasn't mad. I couldn't be. Horribly sad yes, but angry no. As we were driving home this song came on. I knew the Lord had heard my prayers and He knew my pain. These were the words we listened to as we drove. " Your heart is weary... but can you hear me? Calling you, reaching through the darkness, I am calling you wherever you are. When your hopes and your dreams and your best laid plans are falling through. I am calling you."

I knew we would be okay. I knew She would be okay. I knew Abigail would be okay. Zach & I went home and went to bed. We held each other. We cried. It was Saturday and tomorrow was Mother's Day, I thought it was going to be MY first Mother's day. I opted to stay home. I cried some more. I cried until there were literally no more tears in me. I needed much comfort and healing. Comfort & healing that no one else could give. Not my family, not Zach, and not even myself. I needed the Lord. I needed the Atonement.

I went to work on Monday. I put on my happy face. I went about my work like my little world was perfect and had not shattered into a million little pieces over the weekend. (Besides a few trips to the bathroom to dry a few stray tears.) I worked at a doctor's office. I volunteered to stay through the lunch break and then take a late lunch. Half way through lunch She walked in. I greeted her. Heavenly Father held me in His arms. I didn't cry. I gave her a hug. I told her I was so happy for her (and I really was). I actually had a box in the car for her of Abigail's things, that I was planning on taking it to the agency for them to give to her. I got to meet Abigail. I met Abigail's dad. I held it together. (I've often wondered if Heavenly Father sent Angels down to plug my tear ducts.) It was perfect. Really, it was PERFECT. I needed that closure. I needed her to know that I wasn't angry with her for her decision.

The Lord truly works in mysterious ways.

It is July and we get a call from our caseworker. He tells us there is a little boy that is half Caucasian half African American that will be born soon. The birth mother is looking for a family to place with. He asks us to write a letter to her and he will send our profile to her in Michigan. A few days go by, of course we are hopeful, but we don't allow ourselves to get our hopes up to high. A week or two goes by and we hear that she has chosen a friend of the family to raise her child. It is always hard for some reason. It feels so personal, it feels like they did not choose you because they weren't sure if you would be a good mother or not or maybe you weren't cute enough, or they thought you looked like a boring stuffy mom...i mean who knows?

You know a child is out there though and that is what keeps you going, you just don't have any idea what you can do besides wait. Sometimes I feel like I am dressed in a hospital gown (you know the ones that fully expose your back side?), only I'm always dressed in it, I must go to work in it, wear it all around town, everywhere I go I am exposed. Let me explain why I feel this way. When you fill your adoption papers out, you fill out many many questionnaires, that ask dozens of personal questions like... "How would you describe the intimacy in your marriage?" Hmmm.... I know there must be reasons for these questions, but I myself just can't figure out why they need to know that and how exactly I should answer it for that matter. They come to your home and you take them on a tour of it. You wonder if they think it's clean enough, or if it is kid-friendly enough. Hundreds of questions about being "good enough" run through my mind. Don't get me wrong here, we worked with WONDERFUL people throughout our adoption process, they were very kind to us. However when you are faced with people who's job is to come into your home {your personal space} and their decision will either make it possible or not for you to have a future family... it's easy to get a little anxiety over the whole situation. When all this over then you are asked to write a one page letter to your child's future birth mother, and attach a collage of pictures of yourself. How important is it for you to say "the right words" and how are you supposed to decide on say 10 pictures or so that will show her what you are all about. It was nerve wracking to say the least. You can imagine how "exposed" we were feeling. After all the poking and prodding, I wonder why some people can carry a child and no one asks them a single question about their background, or their abilities to raise a successful, self confident child. No one asks them if they will be willing to love and cherish a child, no one comes into their home and asses their readiness to bring a child into the world. Maybe if we did, we wouldn't have a need for the Foster Care system.

It is late August and I am sitting at my desk at work. I check my e-mail right after lunch and notice I have gotten an e-mail from Eve at LDS Family Services regarding a birth mother's question. My heart skips a beat. I open the e-mail quickly. It is a birth mom and her mom writing to ask us a few questions about our life. They had seen our profile on So I reply and immediately call Zach to tell him. Zach is much more cautious than I, because of our previous failed adoption. I can't help but get excited about it, but realize that it's just a few questions that they are asking. A few weeks go by and I can't stop thinking about the e-mail, wishing I knew more and hoping that this girl is finding the right family for her child.

September comes and goes, and we start into the month of October. I am again at my desk at work checking my e-mail. Another e-mail from Eve! It is the same sweet birth mom that we first heard from back in August. We get a few more details about her pregnancy. She is having a girl and is due in December. Bri & her mom tell us a little more about their family and their life. A few days later she sends me a few pictures. They look so familiar to me. Zach continually reminds me not to get my hopes up, he is trying to protect me from heart break again. I decide I don't care. What if this is the one... I ask myself. What if I hold back all my excitement and happy feelings and it works out, then I will have missed my opportunity to celebrate possibly the happiest moments of my life.

Bri & Annette send me more pictures and I seriously get giddy inside every time I see that there is a new e-mail waiting for me. I can't help but get my hopes up. We ask each other many questions and I feel like I am just getting reacquainted with old friends. They ask us if we would be open to meeting. Of course we are. I don't even have to ask Zach, I know the answer is yes! We continue to e-mail each other and we exchange cell phone numbers. I believe it was on a Monday night the last week in October around 8:00 pm and we are just carving our Halloween pumpkins when we get a phone call. It's Bri and her family. This is the first time we talk over the phone. I love the picture that we took that night of us and our pumpkins, my smile is from ear to ear. It is starting to sink in that we could possibly be parents soon. And these feelings are pure bliss.

We arrange a time that we can meet. Bri & her family live about 8 hours from us. We head down the first week in November. As we make the trip, I am feeling somewhat at peace. Surprisingly I don't get nervous until we pull into their driveway. Walking up to the door, I have so many emotions running through me. Excitement, worry, fear. We brained stormed the whole way about what questions we would ask them, in case it happened to get awkward. We had planned on meeting around 4:30 and then we would go to dinner and head back to wear we were staying. Funny thing though, as soon as we walked in we were greeted with hugs.


We sat down and began chatting like we were old friends. It was amazing. I felt so at home. (By the way this is not usually how things like this take place. Generally the adoption agency recommends that you meet at a local agency with your case workers, however in this situation it worked for us.) We headed to dinner and then ended up coming back over to their home. We talked about names. Zach & I had made a list of names that we wanted to name our children, the first year we were married, and one of the only names we could agree on for a girl was Brooklyn. I have always loved the name Brooklyn for as long as I can remember. Funny thing is that Brianna and her sister Brittney are both B-R names and Annette told us that they themselves had planned on having more children and were going to name them all with B-R's. Coincidence... maybe, or maybe not.

We also discuss a little about what would happen when Brooklyn was born. Bri tells us she hasn't decided exactly what she wants at this point. We figure we have at least a month or so to figure out all of the details...

I start shopping, for little girl things... I order a crib set. I am just so excited I really think that it's going to work out this time. I know this could end really badly if I need to take everything all back, especially the crib set, I have never been this bold when buying things for our "unborn" child. I am well aware of what may happen. But still I can't stop myself. And it is making me so happy!

I got to attend Time Out for Women right before we went to visit Bri and her family. There were some EXCELLENT speakers and Michael McLean was also there presenting the speakers and singing a bunch of his songs.

Let me back up about a year ago when Zach & I were first starting the adoption process, I was driving to work. I stated to pray about our decision to adopt and if it was really the path that we were to take. Right after I closed my prayer, a song came on the radio, it was Michael McLean's song, which I'm sure most of you are familiar with, if you are not, I'll post a YouTube video of it below.It's beautiful! It's called "From God's Arms to My Arms to Yours". It touched me deeply and I knew that it was an answer to my prayers, because really how often do you hear that song on the radio? Not much. It was a tender mercy and a beautiful answer to my prayer. Since then I have had a very special place in my heart for that song.

Okay it was just a few days before the conference that Bri had told us that we were for sure the couple that she wanted to raise her daughter. So at the beginning of this conference I was attending, on a whim I said a little prayer and asked Heavenly Father if Bri was truly an answer to our many years of praying. I started to feel extremely vulnerable again, and wondered if I could really handle another heart break. So I told Him that if at all possible I would like a little miracle. I needed a definite answer. I asked him to have Michael McLean sing that song sometime during the conference. Which I really didn't think was even a possibility, since the conference was not centered around adoption. Well the first day flew right on by. It was a great day. I went home and told Zach what I had done and how silly I was being. We laughed and forgot about it. The next day I went to part two of the conference and at the VERY VERY end, Michael's says you know... "I just feel like somebody out there needs to hear this song." And then he sang it. I will NEVER forget that moment. I couldn't believe the Lord would be so considerate of little me. I knew right then and there that He loves each one of us. And I knew my prayer had been heard. What a perfect little miracle to call my own.

Three years ago to the day, on a Sunday morning we got the call... we had been at church and as soon as we got home I saw that I had missed a call. I listened to my voice mail. It was Annette... she said I might want to call her! I knew immediately that it was Brooklyn on her way. I told Zach excitedly jumping up and down that I thought Bri was in labor... he didn't believe me. Well it was actually even better than that. I couldn't dial the numbers fast enough, we got a hold of Annette and she told us that Brooklyn was already here! Bri had her at 7:07 that morning.


It was a complete surprise she was here 3 weeks early! Bri decided that she wanted to take Brooklyn home with her for a couple of days. I have to admit I worried that it would be too hard for her to sign the adoption papers after she had spent so much time with her. However I felt peace with her decision. I realized that she needed this time alone with her.


I could never imagine denying her of this privilege. I didn't want to see a picture of Brooklyn, I wanted to see her in person for the first time. So we took the 8 hour drive. We met at Bri's house again. Her caseworker was already there with her. We knocked on the door and as it opened Bri's dad met us outside. All I could here were sobs from Bri. I was devastated. As much as I wanted to hold Brooklyn in my arms, I honestly didn't know if I could leave with Brooklyn and cause Bri so much pain and heart break. Monty asked us if we would come back in a half hour or so. We agreed. We grabbed some lunch and then headed back over. I wasn't sure what to expect. I never should have underestimated Bri's strength. She was able to sign the papers. As we waited in the living room, Bri came in holding Brooklyn.

It was the first time we had ever seen her. Bri placed her in my arms and I cried. The spirit was stronger than I had ever in my life felt at one moment. I cried tears of joy and also tears of heartbreak for Bri & her family. It was such a bitter sweet yet beautiful moment. As I looked down at this perfect little girl my heart filled with love, a love only a mother knows. I wondered if she would ever know just how much love went into this one single moment that was all about her.
As we said our final goodbyes I held Brooklyn between us and gave Brianna a hug. I couldn't let go of her. I asked her one last time if this is what she really wanted. Tearfully She said "Yes, just don't forget about me." I promised her we wouldn't. And I promise now today, that not a single day goes by that I don't send up a prayer for Bri & Shanna, or look at my beautiful children and see pieces of them.
As we drove away, I told Zach how I ached for them. I didn't know how their hearts would ever heal. I will never forget what Zach said next. He said..."Holly, Heavenly Father will spend the night with them. He will be there when times are hard, just like He has been there for us." Those words were and still are so comforting to me.

Brooklyn is such a beautiful little girl. We are beyond blessed to have her in our home. She is lively, bubbly, funny & creative. She has a great desire to choose the right & please others. She is growing up right before our eyes, and I can’t imagine life without her. We talk openly about adoption, how she came into this world and her beautiful birth mom Bri. We try to see Bri & her family at least once a year. Brooklyn enjoys this time she shares with them. We never want to force anything upon either side, so now that Brooklyn is getting older we leave these decisions up to her. We truly believe open adoptions are a beautiful alterative & are greatly beneficial to everyone.

.Brooklyn @ 5 years old.