Friday, October 19, 2012

Ashley's Story

I was waiting on a baby once....and I have to admit, my story is probably a lot cleaner than some of yours.  We only waited 6 months from the day we stepped foot in our first informational seminar on adoption to the day we signed papers legally making Baby John our son.  Easy!  Sorta...well...not really.  Let me start at the beginning....I always seem to get ahead of myself!
My name is Ashley O'Brien and I am an adoptive momma to one sweet little boy, John.  I began blogging as a personal outlet to my everyday life and it soon became a place for me to go to talk all things adoption.  So here is my story:

I lived a charmed little life: I was young, I was pretty and I was so very happy with my easy going lifestyle. 18 was a good age.  But then, it was the beginning of summer in my 18th year and after a number of doctors visits to diagnose mystery stomach aches, I was told that I had a rare condition that affected only 1 in every 5,000 woman.  Some of the side effects include lacking major organs, including the 2nd kidney a some or all of the uterus.

I was devastated.  Doctors performed surgery after surgery to correct the problems I had & then when those didn't work, they performed surgery after surgery to correct the problems that their previous surgeries created.  I was a hot mess.  For five years, I worked on filling the void that all that had caused.  Void-fillers included drinking, parties, etc...You get the pictures, yes?  I was the "all alone in the crowded room" type-a-girl.  Anyhoots, I turned 23, met a friend who introduced me to Jesus and the rest was simple.  My void sorta filled itself up with Jesus & my inability to cope with who God made me became easier to deal with as I laid my burdens at the foot of the cross.  I was finally okay and then I met Matthew, my husband.  He hadn't even asked me out yet & I spilled the beans on my inability to carry my child and all the skeletons in my closet that I had collected during my earlier 20's.  He accepted me.  In fact he loved me so much he proposed!  Again, I was doing okay, remember?  But then, from our very first night as husband and wife I began to feel guilty that no matter how hard we would ever try, I would never ever be able to carry his child....

Early into the marriage, about a year, we decided to visit an infertility specialist...but that was NOT the route for us.  After a few pokes, a few prods & a doctor speaking to me as if I were a science experiment, I realized I wanted a child made from love not from science and because of my condition that's all I have been to most doctors, so for us, our child made from love would come via adoption.  You can see how we made our decision to adopt by clicking <a href="" target="_blank">HERE</a>.

(Actually, you can see everything about our adoption, including special posts &amp; our adoption timeline by clicking <a href="" target="_blank">HERE</a>.)

Long story short, my infertility plagued me and adoption didn't cure that.  In fact, adoption forced me to reevaluate myself all over again and sometimes I still feel sad that I won't ever have that special baby bump...and sometimes I get really frustrated that I didn't get pregnant but I still have stretch marks!  Haha, yes, I just admitted that!  Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that having a baby didn't & doesn't fix everything.  But ultimately I did realize it was the family I wanted and not the pregnancy.  

We signed on with two agencies, not both at the same time, but as we navigated our way through the craziness of the adoption world &  became more educated about all things adoption related, we decided to work with an adoption ministry at a local church & an adoption agency with a national network.  Baby John came to us through the national network. 

Our time in Florida adopting John was beautiful & you can check out the details of our whirlwind trip <a href="" target="_blank">HERE</a>.  We met the birth mom at the hospital and were able to spend two days getting to know her and loving her and watching her love our son.  She loved him so much.  It was beautiful & it was heart breaking to watch her leave empty handed after 9 months of loving that sweet boy growing strong inside her. If I have learned one thing from our time there, it is that adoption is messy and complicated but still such a blessing!  

I hope you know, yes, YOU, that the wait DOES end.  For us, our wait was a blink of an eye.  For friends I know in the adoption community, the wait is much longer.  For some of the families I've met, their waits are short in between each match & failed adoption.  But even those families?They've brought their little ones home eventually and have been blessed by sleepless nights and stinky diapers.  The point is, everybody's story is different & it's hard. And it's exhausting.  And sometimes you sorta-kinda just wanna go up to a pregnant woman and bonk her in the nose for having it "So Easy."  Is that bad?  Don't tell anyone I felt that way! But guess what, friends?  My son will never ever be able to say we didn't want him. Because, oh boy, did we want him!  We had an uphill battle of finances & agencies & home studies & finances & finances & finances to be able to get our boy & bring him home.  But he's worth it and I'd do it ten times over!
So this is my challenge for you.  Be joyful amidst the trials and uncertain future.  Whatever path is the right one for you...IVF maybe?  Adoption?  Foster care?  Look I to them all!  Tell everybody you know!  The power or prayer is limitless and the more people who know the more people can pray for you!  Your decision is the perfect plan that our Lord will bless if only you remember to look for those blessings!  I wasted so many days crying because baby was in my heart and not yet in my arms.  I challenge you to not waste your time doing the same thing.  Your baby is coming and finding your way to your sweet blessing is an amazing adventure!  God bless your adventures!

Please check out my blog on all things O'Brien and all things adoption!  There are lots of great posts on fundraisers and prayers and my personal moments of struggle and triumph.  Please stop by and say Hi and let me know how I can be praying for you!  Do you have a blog?  Let me know about that, too!

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