From Heartache to Happiness

There is no news quite as heart-piercing and tear-producing as the words, “You will never be able to give birth.” Those were the words we heard after five long years of waiting, hoping, and trying a multitude of medical remedies for infertility. We were looking forward to the happiness children would bring. Now, we were overwhelmed with heartache.

We had wanted a big family, so those words were like a dagger to the heart. But we rallied and decided that though we may not be able to give birth, we certainly could have a baby. We were ready for a different approach—adoption.

My husband, Gary, was a new pilot in the U. S. Air Force and before I was well from the surgery that had brought our sad news, he received his first real assignment: Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany. It was a three-year assignment. I said to him, “We’ll come home with three babies, one a year.” I was serious. But first I would convalesce at my parents’ home in Oregon. After three months I was finally able to join my husband in that charming land of scenic mountains and historic castles.

I could hardly wait to be with him again, and equally exciting was the anticipation of our plan to adopt children while we were there—adorable little German babies. He had been working on it while I was healing. It didn’t take us long to move into action after I arrived. Here’s how it all went down.

First…Spread the Word

He talked with everyone, spreading the word that we wanted to adopt a baby. One of the people he talked to knew of an expectant mother who was making a placement plan for her baby. So, he checked in with the legal office on base to find out what to do next. A German woman employed there to help with such issues said we needed to be careful and should work directly through the Jugendamt. That was the German government office that handled adoptions.

We were told that we should take letters of recommendation, preferably from people with respected titles. My husband, having been born and raised in Washington DC, had attended the same church as a few U.S. government officials. In no time at all, we had a letter from a senator with a senatorial letterhead boldly occupying the top of the page. I, having grown up in the farm lands of eastern Oregon, knew no one of renown. However, my father knew the police chief in our small town and was able to get a letter from him, also with an official letterhead.

Meeting with the Jugendamt

After a multitude of prayers, we made the appointment with the Jugendamt and showed up with recommends in hand. The official we met with told us that a baby boy was available for adoption but that the list of couples wanting to adopt was long. We would have to wait a year or two.

That’s when my husband laid the letters on the official’s desk, with the senator’s on top and the police chief’s next. The official looked at them.

With wide eyes and a heavy German accent, he practically shouted, “Ah, Senator! Prima! And Polizei! You shall have baby today.” We were stunned, but we knew our prayers were about to be answered.

They took us to a hospital to see our baby boy. He had been born six weeks early and could not be released to us until he gained a couple more pounds. The doctor brought him to the nursery window and held him up so we could see him. He was such a scrawny little fellow, looking somewhat like a spider monkey, with a blanket wrapped tightly under his armpits around his tiny bare body. His little arms dangled awkwardly over the edge of the blanket.

My husband’s first words were, “Well, he has your nose. He must be ours.”

He was so tiny and cute, and we just knew he was to be our baby. We asked the doctor if he was going to be okay.

In broken English he said, “Winston Churchill was born this early and he was okay. Your baby will be fine.” (Side note: years later he graduated college with a degree in accounting. Definitely okay.)

A newly adopted baby joins his family in time for Christmas

Michael, age 2 months.

Michael’s Homecoming

After two long weeks, we were finally able to bring him home. We named him Michael, after Michael the Archangel in the Bible. It was late October and what a joyful day it was! His little German bassinet was all ready for him right next to my side of the bed. It was a sweet night with both of us wanting to be the one to meet his every need. We took turns. We had waited a long time for this and neither of us wanted to miss a minute of those first few hours.

A mother holds her newly adopted baby.

Michael, age 2 months, with his mom.

Women at the church we attended gave me a baby shower. They already knew my husband well from his attendance while I was still recovering in the states. They were excited and full of happiness for us. Every gift was so fun to open. Tiny little gowns, adorable little sleepers, and every imaginable item a baby could need were among the gifts. We were in heaven. My mother, far away in Oregon, also held a baby shower for me by proxy and mailed the gifts to us. More adorable little outfits, shoes, and blankets arrived. I was in heaven again. Happiness filled our lives.

A new father holds his adopted son.

Michael, age 2 months, with his dad.

Michael’s First Christmas

Two months later, Gary’s mother, a widow, flew over the Atlantic to spend a German Christmas with us. We were filled with happiness to have our little son meet his Grandma Lundberg. Santa brought Michael an electric train, which was thoroughly enjoyed by Mr. Santa and a mesmerized baby boy throughout the day. It was the best Christmas ever, and we relished the happiness Michael brought us. We had our baby! Nothing could have been better. And this was just the first of many joyful Christmases to come.

An adopted baby arrived home in time for Christmas.

Baby Michael under the Christmas tree.

Did adoption work for us? No question about it—absolutely, without a doubt, yes! And we highly recommend it to anyone in our similar situation. When a little one is placed in your arms and adopted into your family, you instantly go from heartache to exquisite happiness.

 

Are you ready to pursue adoption? Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98 to connect with compassionate, nonjudgmental adoption specialists who can help you get started on the journey of a lifetime.