From Heartache to Happiness

An Adoption Story

Joy Lundberg January 02, 2014
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There is no news quite as heart-piercing and tear-producing as the words “you will never be able to give birth.” Those are the words we heard after five long years of waiting, hoping, and trying a multitude of medical remedies for getting pregnant.

We had wanted a big family, so these words were like a dagger to the heart. But we rallied and decided though we may not be able to give birth, we certainly could have a baby. We were now ready to implement Plan B—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 AF 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, he talked with everyone, spreading the word that we wanted to adopt a baby. He talked to someone who knew of a pregnant woman who was making an adoption plan for her baby. He checked into the legal office on the base to find out the procedure. A German woman employed there to help with such issues said we needed to be careful and should work directly through the Jugendamt, which is the German government office that handles 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, which looked very impressive.

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

That’s when my husband laid the letters on his desk, with the senator’s on top and the police chief’s next. The official looked at them, then 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 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 around his tiny bare body up to his armpits. 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.

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 already 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 happy for us. Every gift was so fun to open. Tiny little gowns, adorable little sleepers, and every imaginable item a baby would 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.

A new father holds his adopted son.

Michael, age 2 months, with his Dad.

Two months later Gary’s mother, a widow, flew over the Atlantic to spend a German Christmas with us. We were so happy to have our little son meet his Grandma Lundberg. Santa brought our little 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. We had our baby! Nothing could have been better. But this was just the beginning of many joyful Christmases to come.

An adopted baby arrived home in time for Christmas.

Baby Michael under the Christmas Tree

Does Plan B work? No question about it—absolutely, without a doubt, yes! And we highly recommend it to anyone in our similar situation. When a little adopted one is placed in your arms, you can instantly go from heartache to exquisite happiness.

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Joy Lundberg

Joy Lundberg and her husband, Gary, are the parents of 5 children, all of whom were adopted. They are also the proud grandparents of 20 grandchildren. Joy is a prize-winning lyricist and has written/co-written several books and articles about marriage and families with her husband. Learn more about her on their website.


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