I firmly believe there are no coincidences in the situations we find ourselves in life. I have been given the privilege of experiencing adoption both as a birthmother and as an adoptive mother. And while these perspectives have been invaluable, I believe that over time I will gain even more insight into why I have had these experiences.

I was 27 when I became pregnant. My relationship with my then fiancée and the father of my baby was rocky at best. He and I determined to arrange an adoption for our unborn child and had contacted an out-of-state attorney.

Within a few weeks, however, our relationship fell apart and my parents learned I was pregnant. I moved home and with my parents’ support, began to arrange the adoption locally. I prayed for God to give me a warm, loving, and down-to-earth couple. When I met what would become my child’s adoptive parents, I knew they were the right ones. They themselves had tried for seven years to give birth and had suffered their own heartbreak. They came across as gentle, humble, and honest.

I wish I could have said the same of their attorney, who led me to believe he could represent both the adoptive parents and me impartially.

Shortly after my baby son was born, I found representation with another attorney, who among other things, secured my right to receive pictures of my baby as he grew up and the right to send him Christmas presents each year. I was also able to see my son for a brief afternoon, during which a photographer took pictures of us together. A comfort to me and some evidence for him, should he need to know, that I dearly loved him.

I was fully convinced I had made the right decision and those who thought otherwise could not sway me. When my son was born, however, my emotions ran high. For the three week waiting period that my state allowed, I wept in grief and struggled with my decision. In the end, I asked to meet with the couple again and again was convinced that they were the right family. My son became their son.

I do not want to pretend that my life returned to normal. In fact, I experienced painful grief for many months. Seeing a young mother or pregnant woman was life a knife in my heart. I realized that life bore consequences and I was humbled.

I became a Christian at 29 and at 35, married my best friend that I’d met at church. He and I were grateful to have found love later in life and that gratitude was evident in our relationship. When we learned he was unable to have children, we hurt deeply, but we weren’t overcome. Around us, in our church, were many examples of adoptive families, so we began to pursue an international adoption.

Our country of choice, Romania, however halted adoptions just as our dossier received the embassy’s approval. Life was pushing us in a different direction.

So, we changed course and pursued a domestic adoption. Four birth mothers chose us over a year’s time. Three changed their minds and choose to parent their baby, the last one within two weeks of giving birth.

We were in grief over this last baby that was not meant to be ours, when our dog, on which we lavished a lot of love, died as well. Little did we know that a few days later another birth mother would choose us to adopt her baby.

The little girl was born while we were traveling to see family. We saw her for the first time when she was 12 days old. To honor the birth mother, we used her name for our daughter’s middle name. Our daughter (and her daughter) is beautiful, smart, strong, and brave. She is a toddler now and is, each day, very much a blessing.

We recently submitted paperwork to domestically adopt a brother for our daughter. Within a few days, my husband learned of a baby boy in Romania available for adoption.

Again, we are changing course and following a different direction. Our hearts are preparing for whatever lies ahead, because we know there are no coincidences.