Beauty Revived has joined with Adoption.com to bring you the 50 Most Inspiring Adoption Stories. We have found 50 amazing photographers with big hearts to donate a session to tell about an inspiring adoption story in their community.
Photography for this session by Fife Photography
Loading the car, Samantha takes her youngest daughter to go for a treat in the tiny cocoa booth down the road while her two older sisters are at school. There’s only one stoplight in town.
Nestled in the steep hilly roads of southern Washington state, Jordan and Samantha raise their little family of daughters. Their summer days consist of running in the sprinkler and riding DIY slip-and-slides down their massive front yard, reading books and snuggling. They love their chickens and outdoor cats. Sunlight kisses the tops of neighboring barns before it disappears into the golden horizon for the night. Samantha is pregnant with their fourth child, another daughter.
Isn’t this story supposed to be about adoption? This family’s story is quite unusual.
Their fourth daughter will be the biological sister of daughter #3, Ashley, but neither girls are the biological children of Jordan and Samantha. Nor are Michaela or Heidi, their oldest two daughters. While Samantha’s first two daughters were a blessing into their family through typical adoption paths, embryo adoption is new and widely unknown.
This couple’s adoption journey started many years ago. Native Washingtonians Jordan and Samantha began their path into parenthood living in Missouri for a month awaiting the birth of their oldest child Michaela. Michaela’s birth mother chose them because they were both tall and Michaela’s birth mother thought Jordan looked like he was nice to Samantha. Michaela walked down the aisle as a beautiful flower girl at her birth mother’s wedding.
Moving to Iowa for school, Jordan and Samantha mistakenly thought their next adoption would be just as easy. Seven failed adoptions later, Heidi’s birth mother contacted Samantha through Facebook. She was still in high school, 9 weeks pregnant and positive she wanted her daughter to go to Samantha. Samantha encouraged her to research other adoptive parents to make sure they were the one. While the biological family was against adoption in the first place, Samantha made great efforts to accommodate such mixed emotions. Two-hour drives every weekend for six months to a local restaurant after Heidi’s birth allowed the family to slowly learn to trust Jordan and Samantha and form lifelong bonds with their biological granddaughter.
Samantha wasn’t sure how to deal with the heartache of loss and change with two children, but felt she wanted to add more to their family. She stumbled across a new and unique path: embryo adoption.
When a couple who has undergone IVF to build their family feels as though their family is complete, they may have remaining embryos in storage that will go unused. If left in cryo storage, they can either decide to donate them to research or throw them away—or they can donate their embryos to a family who would like to adopt them and give them a chance at life.
There was a mother of the same faith, and in the first email they felt this adoption was meant to be. Everything fell into place and embryos were transferred. Samantha got pregnant right away and gave birth to Ashley. Before Ashley turned 2, her biological family finally got to meet her and her biological mother got to see her daughter, growing and looking so like her biological siblings.
Embryo adoption has opened so many previously-closed doors for Jordan and Samantha. Samantha has been able to experience pregnancy, nursing, and all the exciting things that come with it.
Between changing diapers, dance class, soccer practice, and cooking meals for all her hungry people, Samantha has found the time to reach out to others by starting her own website, BlessedWithInfertility.com, aimed at matching embryo donors to prospective parents.
“I have been honored to help several families match with one another,” Samantha said. “I truly feel that my family has been so blessed with infertility and love helping others realize that their infertility struggle can become their biggest blessing,” she says. You can tell by looking at the way she and her husband look at these four girls—and honor their past, and treasure their future—that they mean it.
Michaela, Heidi, and Ashley have been able to plan for a sibling and make guesses about what they think she will look like. Samantha is pregnant once again, using the remaining embryos from Vince and Dana, and due in mid-July. This will be Jordan and Samantha’s first experience with genetic siblings.
Update: Samantha gave birth to her darling daughter, and loves her four “Little Women” dearly. They rejoice in having a complete family, with Savannah who is growing fast and looks just like her sister.
Although their family may not be typical, it’s just perfect for them.