A Journey to Adoption: A Story of Love #Pampers

Editor’s Note: The beautiful story you are about to read was written by two of my dear friends.  I’ve known Melissa since elementary school and have grown to love her and her husband dearly over the years.  This is a long story, but one that is well worth your time.  You will likely find yourself relating as well as finding hope and encouragement no matter what your circumstances are.  This story goes beyond adoption and points to a place of love and a constant God who is never failing.

By interviewing over 9,000 moms about what was important for their baby, Pampers found that what was needed most was a diaper with superior overnight protection.  Pamper’s has designed a diaper that you can count on for up to 12 hours of overnight protection!  Now parents can focus on other things and get a better nights sleep.  In order to celebrate this new development, Pampers allowed me to gift Melissa and Jeremy with $500 in order to focus on what matters most and take their minds off of all of the lawyer and doctors bills.  They can hopefully rest a little easier as well as that precious new baby!

Jeremy and Melissa, we are all so excited about this new chapter in life you are about to venture into.  Like I say in the letter: Adoption is challenging, Sleep will come eventually, Love happens instantly!  We love you.

The Story Begins

We believe family is the second most important relationship to humans. The way God has naturally designed us to function and flourish to be best of our ability starts by being raised in a loving family. Fortunately, for both of us, we were blessed to have a father and mother when we were children, and although they were not perfect parents, they did their best to love us.

jer mel christmas 2000

Melissa’s family had a bit of rocky start. Her parents were unexpectedly pregnant very early in their marriage which is trying for any young family. One month after the birth of her older sister, SURPRISE, they became pregnant again with Melissa. Life was difficult for her parents with two babies under the age of one in a brand new family. Fortunately, they persevered through the struggles and twelve years later added two more baby boys to the mix. As a teenager, Melissa experienced what it was like to raise children with two brothers ten and twelve year younger than her. She started babysitting not just for her family, but also for many friends with young children. She was a natural at it. During her time at college, Melissa was able to help pay her way through by babysitting part time. The families she worked for loved her and trusted her with their children, and this gave Melissa the strong desire to raise her own children someday…hopefully soon in her mind.

Jeremy’s family had a somewhat different beginning. His mother was married in an abusive relationship with two kids of their own. That ended in tragedy with the death of her ex husband. A few years later, his mother(Martha) married his father(Glenn) to which Glenn adopted her two kids-teenagers at the time. Not long after the marriage, Jeremy’s other sister was born, and then two years later, he was born. Glenn was a pilot in the Air Force, so they moved around a lot, but everything about their family appeared to be “perfect”. By the time Jeremy was a teenager, common marital struggles became too much to keep the family together. This was devastating to Jeremy’s view of his so-called perfect family. Through that experience, he believed he could do it better, and desperately wanted to start his own family as soon as possible to leave his broken one behind.

jer mel wedding Sept 2005

In 1999, Jeremy and Melissa both moved away to college where they met as freshman during the first week of orientation at Liberty University.  After being close friends for a few years and college coming to an end, it became obvious what was really keeping them connected.They began dating in August of 2003 not long after graduating, and were married in September 2005 after moving back to Melissa’s hometown in Asheville, NC. They decided to wait a couple of years before having kids so as to adjust to married life.

Baby Hopes

With thirty approaching fast for both of them, the urge to start a family was becoming very strong. It didn’t take long, July 3, 2007, for a pregnancy test to show positive. Complications began immediately, so Melissa headed to the doctor for confirmation. The doctors verified the pregnancy, but also confirmed one of our greatest fears. Something was wrong. It was uncertain what the immediate situation was, but the baby was not developing at the normal rate. Surgery was scheduled for August 15th due to suspicions of a tumor. Going into the surgery the outlook was unclear, and there was no guarantee that Melissa would even keep her fertility. The doctors had to perform a D&C along with the removal of Melissa’s left ovary and fallopian tube due to tubal disease. This was very hard on both of them as it seemed a huge setback to their hopes of starting a family. After a healthy waiting period, they tried again. December 6th of that same year, there was another positive pregnancy test. This time there was eager anticipation with what appeared to be the worst behind them. The due date for this pregnancy was August 15th, 2008-a year to the day from the surgery that threatened her fertility. They were joyful, remembering the Bible passage in Job “…the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away…” Tests were looking good, but before they could see an image on an ultrasound, a miscarriage occurred on December 20, 2007. The doctors tried to console us by saying it was common for anyone, but this was especially hard for Melissa. Another life was lost. It was simply devastating after feeling the peace from God to get pregnant so quickly after the surgery.

jer mel muirwoods Summer 2003

A few months later, we were hopeful and tried again. Months passed and getting pregnant was not as easy as it was before. Feeling discouraged month after month, finally, in August of 2009, we saw another positive test. Early tests were showing a normal growth rate. By six weeks, it was time to start seeing an image on the ultrasound. It never came. The doctors could only diagnose it as an ectopic pregnancy. Due to the severity of the diagnosis, we were immediately sent to a clinic where Melissa underwent injection “therapy” to involuntarily terminate the pregnancy.

Loss and Questions

They were done. The loss of three babies was too much, so they started to strongly consider other ways to have children. However, in late November of 2010, there was an unplanned positive pregnancy test. This was extremely scary for both of them due to the previous experiences. The doctors did not rule out the possibility that this could progress as a successful pregnancy and eventually give birth to a healthy baby. All were on pins and needles those weeks waiting to see a positive image on the ultrasound. Blood tests were looking strong and “normal”, but still no image. By six weeks, we had to see an image on the ultrasound or it would be diagnosed another ectopic. A nightmare we did not want to experience again. Week six came, but there was no need to do an ultrasound as the blood tests showed another miscarriage. It was evident that although pregnancy was possible to attain, it was seemingly impossible to carry full term.

The Answer

The doctors wanted to perform a test to see if they could determine a cause for failed pregnancies. They were hopeful that the procedure would offer some potential solutions so we could try again with more insight on how to carry the baby full term. The test itself was unbearably painful, and the results were clear. There was definitely something causing a blockage preventing the fertilized egg from traveling through her only fallopian tube and implanting in the uterus.

The answer was finally found, yet that begged the question…Why? Why would God withhold this blessing from two of His own? Why the ability to conceive, but nothing more? The curse of forced birth control methods and fear of getting pregnant again seemed to mock our dreams of having a family.

Eventually, at times begrudgingly, we started to explore adoption possibilities and procedures. Adoption was always something that we had hoped to be able to do one day, but we didn’t anticipate that being the only way to have children. Moving forward, we talked to different adoption agencies, family members, and friends, and there was one consistent hurdle. Adoption is expensive…and for good reason. There are many fees and legal hoops to jump through, and the most important concern for everyone is the health and safety of the children. Fortunately, North Carolina is an “adoption friendly” state, but the laws and regulations in place to protect the children can make it difficult and expensive for parents to complete an adoption…especially if you are seeking a baby oversees.

A Safe and Loving Home

Foster care was always an option as well. The goal of the local foster care system is NOT adoption rather reunification, but fifty percent of time due to circumstances in the case, it will end in adoption. This seemed like a good route for us to go. Not only for the possibility to adopt, but also for the opportunity to help local families in need while our home was open and available. Of course, the vulnerability of getting attached to these children and then sending them back to their birth parents forever was terrifying. It’s worth the risk when you look at the big picture. “No child should be without a (safe and loving) home”-Kori Robertson. Our first placement happened very quickly due to the high volume of children currently coming into the Buncombe County foster care system. We were licensed for two children, so that’s what we got: an 8-month-old boy and his 4-year-old half sister. You can imagine the shock we felt going from zero to two children both under the age of five. Our church family was extremely supportive, and helped us survive the initial placement. Those first two months were uncomfortable and strange, but soon, it started to feel normal. Once we established a solid routine for the kids (and us), we didn’t feel so exhausted. As you can imagine, it started off being a huge burden caring for someone else’s children week after week, but slowly we started to enjoy the children and get attached. Their mother’s case progressed and after about eight months, it was becoming evident that they would be returning to their mother full time. The slower transition made it a little easier to let them go, but it was just as emotionally painful as losing the pregnancies. After having them for eleven months, they went back permanently with their birth mother in February of this year. That last night before they went back reminded us of the feeling we had when we lost the pregnancies. Fortunately, it wasn’t a cold turkey separation. We still maintain a close relationship with them, and will even have the kids spend the night once or twice a week.

jer mel selah jack July 2012

Over the past few months, we have gotten lots of calls from DSS to foster more children that have come into the system, but after the separation from the first two children, it is too hard to say yes to another placement. We are still licensed, so it’s not out of the question for us to foster again someday.

Miracle Day

Fast-forward to July of 2013, when a simple text message turned into the most life changing moment of the whole story. Melissa’s mother asked us to call her and chat about something of potential. She told us about a girl in town that is pregnant but through some hard circumstances has realized the necessity to give her baby up for adoption. It didn’t take long to arrange a meeting between all of us to see the possibility of the situation.

That first introduction was understandably awkward but also went very well. It ended with the birth mother seemingly convinced she met the future parents of her unborn child. It was an emotional moment, and without wearing our hearts on our sleeve, there was a glimmer of hope that this might actually happen…somehow. We saw the huge hurdles ahead of us financially, logistically, and emotionally. Were we just setting ourselves up again for another loss? The following weeks were a hustle of activity to get the birth mother started on some basic prenatal care. She was six months along, and had yet to see a doctor. Unfortunately, with no insurance, Medicaid, or means of transportation, she was helpless on where to start. Amazingly (come on now, we all know it’s a God thing), after a few days of phone calls and one divine appointment during a late night ice cream run, we were able to set her up with one of the best OBGYN’s in the city at no cost to the birth mom or us. Things just fell into place…in a very strange, but miraculous way.

jer mel honduras June 2013

The pregnancy has been progressing normally, and on December 12th, we expect to have a new baby boy in the Melberg family. There is a lot of paperwork, DSS meetings, lawyer signatures, and one hospital stay ahead of us over the coming months. However, there will be new baby to love, and this time it will be the one we were appointed to raise as our own.

The questions and pain still linger in the back of our minds, but we are thankful for the valley God has allowed us to pass through, so we can experience His mountaintop through the gift of parenthood.

Pampers Gift of Sleep

pampersgiftofsleep

By interviewing over 9,000 moms about what was important for their baby, Pampers found that what was needed most was a diaper with superior overnight protection.  Pamper’s has designed a diaper that you can count on for up to 12 hours of overnight protection!  Now parents can focus on other things and get a better nights sleep.  In order to celebrate this new development, Pampers allowed me to gift Melissa and Jeremy with $500 in order to focus on what matters most and take their minds off of all of the lawyer and doctors bills.  They can hopefully rest a little easier as well as that precious new baby!

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About Felicia

Felicia Carter is founder and managing editor of Go Grow Go. Her philosophy is to simplify, save, grow and go! Her home is generally full of DIY projects, crafts, yummy baked goods and lots of love. Felicia is also a wife, mom of 2 boys and nationally certified counselor. You can always find her near the chocolate or the coffee pot.

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Comments

  1. What a beautiful story of loss and ultimately love.

  2. Rayenelle Ritchie says:

    What an amazing story!! That baby is the luckiest kid to be getting Jeremy and Melissa as parents!!! Now, I need to go find some tissues!!!

  3. What an amazing story. I had tears and goosebumps all at the same time and was rooting for Jeremy and Melissa from the beautiful introduction. What a lucky baby that little boy is!

  4. Jeremy and Melissa says:

    We can’t say how much we appreciate all the prayers and support from all our friends and family, and even friendly strangers. This week is so exciting and scary at the same time!
    Thanks so much to Felicia and Pampers for the wonderful gift. The note says it all!

  5. Queue the tears! <3 <3 <3

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