The decision to adopt a baby wasn’t an easy one. It certainly wasn’t my first option when imagining starting a family, but it was the best decision we ever made. 

My husband and I married in 2008 and we wanted to start a family right away. Unfortunately, our journey to get pregnant would turn into years of heartache, stress and the two of us helplessly trying to put the pieces together. Our initial response was to try fertility treatments. That left us worse off than when we started with no baby and a lot of money down the drain. After a lot of thinking and ultimately deciding the fertility treatments were too expensive and far too stressful, we decided to foster. That ended in more tragedy and heartache and, once again, we were empty-handed with no child to call our own. There was something drawing me to privately adopt and after sharing my desires with my husband he agreed. It would be expensive and challenging, but we felt this would be the best way to start our family and welcome the child we desired so much. 

When we started our adoption process it was overwhelming. We knew after fostering that the steps would be lengthy and we were once again met with invasive questionnaires, in-depth and personal interviews with the agency, high emotions, waiting for a match, and this time we would have a heavy financial load that came along with it. We didn’t care! Even if we felt tired, we never thought of giving up. We wanted to be parents more than anything and we were going to do our best to make it happen. 

I’ll never forget the day we received the call that there was a match and the expectant mother wanted to meet us at the agency for an interview. We were excited, anxious, and cautiously optimistic. When we arrived at the agency, we were brought into a tiny room that was just big enough for the four of us: the expectant mother, our advocate, my husband, and myself. 

I didn’t know what to expect, but when we walked in, she was all smiles, very sweet, and personable. She explained her situation and we acceptingly listened. She just couldn’t keep this baby for numerous reasons and she wanted nothing more than to provide this child with two loving parents. She was in a position where we were helping her and she was surely helping us. 

We told her about ourselves, our history, and left her with a heartfelt note explaining why we thought we would be a good fit. After the interview ended, we went our separate ways and wondered what she thought of us. Would she choose us? There were three other families that might be better. Did she like us? Were we nice enough? Were we a good fit for her? 

The questions and anxiety swirled in my head, but not for long. We received a call from our advocate very soon after we left. She loved us and as soon as she heard we were foster parents, she decided to pick us. She knew we really wanted a child more than anything and it brought her comfort knowing that we wouldn’t change our mind. It was a real full-circle moment. All that heartache and devastation we experienced while fostering wasn’t in vain. All the pieces started to fall into place and the fog began to clear.

I grew quite close to the selfless woman carrying the baby that would leave a permanent imprint on her soul and heart and fill a massive void in ours. I went to every appointment and the time flew by. Before we knew it, the time to meet our daughter had arrived. 

We were all nervous, understandably so, but things progressed nicely and, before our very eyes, our beautiful daughter entered the world. My first instinct was to run and gush over our new bundle of joy, but as I turned to go, I stopped in my tracks. I turned to the brave woman that just delivered our baby girl, went to her, held her hand in mine, and thanked her. Our cheeks were both wet from the tears streaming from our eyes. She smiled at me and told me to go and be with our new baby. 

As I let go of her hand, I wasn’t sure I’d ever look into her eyes again. I’ll always speak kindly of her and express to our daughter what a selfless, wonderful, and loving thing her birth mother did: one of the greatest acts of love I’ve ever witnessed. She was adamant about not seeing or holding the baby and opted for a closed adoption, it was too hard and we totally understood that and obeyed her wishes. She will always hold a special place in my heart and I think of her often. 

Today is June 18, 2023 and it’s the day we were finally able to legally adopt our daughter. She’s 10 years old now and we celebrate every year and do something special as a family. 

Years later, my husband and I started discussing wanting a sibling for our only daughter. After a lot of discussions and thinking we decided to give fertility treatments one more shot (literally, one procedure—and if it didn’t work, we would just embrace the family of three we were so grateful for). 

It was a long process… but aren’t they all? We decided to do one intrauterine insemination (IUI); two weeks after the procedure, I finally got that positive pregnancy test we had been waiting eight years to see! We were elated! I couldn’t wait to give our daughter a sibling and a best friend to share her life with. Our girls are best friends and they love each other unconditionally. It’s truly a blessing. 

Adoption isn’t for everyone, and I understand that better than anyone; but, if it’s even a thought in your head, I believe you should pursue it or at least look into it. Whether you’re looking to expand your family or struggling with infertility, adoption is something that has fulfilled and enriched our lives more than you can ever imagine. It’s not always easy, but boy is it worth it!

I’m dedicating this article to all the birth mothers that make the hardest, most selfless, and loving decision one will ever have to make. Thank you for your undeniable love. 

Read more about Melissa’s adoption story, A Family Affair: My Journey Through Infertility, Adoption, and Childbirth, on Amazon or Goodreads.