My Journey to Motherhood – Navigating Infertility, Adoption and Blended Families
Almost 23 years ago, I started my journey to become a mom. I had been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome at the age of 19 and knew that my chances of getting pregnant were very slim. In my 20s, I chose to focus on my career and fulfilled my nurturing desires with my nieces and nephews who I adore. As I reached my mid-30s I decided to take advantage of the fertility advances available.
For the next 5 years, I had multiple surgeries, gave myself hormone injections daily and lived by my cycles. There was nothing fun or romantic about this process, but I convinced myself that if it worked it would all be worth it. After 5-years of hormone overload, physical and emotional trauma, I conceded. Pregnancy was not going to be my path to motherhood.
I have a number of friends who have had success with fertility treatment so I hope that my story does not discourage anyone from trying. I do not regret having gone through the process – it actually proved to me just how much I wanted to be a mom and adoption became my success story!
Becoming A Mother Through Adoption
I won’t sugarcoat it, the adoption process wasn’t easy either. It took 2 years to adopt our daughter (with a few false starts), but the day we got the call that our baby girl was born was a dream come true.
Olivia has been with us since she was one day old. If you have ever considered adoption, I would highly recommend it. She definitely is her own person and comes with DNA different from ours, but she is our girl no matter what! I worried when we started down the adoption path that I would not feel the same connection to her since she wasn’t “blood”. Well I can tell you that this fear is total garbage. The moment I set eyes on her, I fell madly in love. We adopted her from Iowa and the laws there require a 7-day waiting period where her biological mother could have taken her back for any reason. I can tell you that those were the longest 7 days of my life.
My journey to motherhood was a rough road but it ended with our perfect child. I will forever be grateful to her biological mother who made the extremely difficult choice to place her with us.
Creating A Strong Family Unit
When my husband Keith and I started dating, our kids were 5, 13 and 15. We were both coming out of long-term marriages. Becoming a blended family is not easy, but I am pleased to say that we did it and I could not be more proud of us! Our kids treat each other like biological siblings. They fight, they hug, they play, they tease and they look out for each other. How did we do it? With a lot of togetherness and patience.
First of all, we both believe strongly that we are parents first – our number one focus is our kids. This shared priority set a solid foundation for our relationship and for our approach to merging our families. We never forced our kids to engage, but we did make sure to provide numerous opportunities for our family to bond, whether it was on vacations, holidays, or even work events.
At first they didn’t always want to participate, but over time they all joined in and now they actually look forward to family vacations and functions. When I say time though, I mean it took years. We did not rush into living together. We were together almost 5 years before we joined our homes. And it was another two years before we married. Now nearly 12 years in, we have created a beautiful, playful, connected family unit. Everyone has their own path and process – as long as you are open, flexible and loving you can make it work!