“We were just going through the motions, like this is just something we do now. We had lost all hope. This is how our life is, but there will be no baby in the end.”
This was how Jen Beiers and her husband Bob felt about their adoption journey in the spring of 2014. They had every reason to feel this way. Years of disappointment, hurt and what seemed like rejection had brought them here.
And yet, this is a story with a happy ending.
Jen and Bob always wanted to adopt after having children biologically. They talked about it when they were dating.
When they were unable to get pregnant, their infertility treatments brought then to the point of having to decide.
Would they pursue in vitro fertilization?
No. They had always thought they would adopt, so for them it felt okay to move right into pursuing adoption. They had a friend who adopted internationally and thought that’s what they would do. About two years into saving money, however, they decided the cost was too high for them. Instead, they became foster parents.
They told DCS (the Indiana Department of Child Services) they were interested in a young child, under age four. What they discovered was that it was far more common for there to be placement opportunities with older children through the foster care system.
“We got a call in the middle of the night,” Jen says. “They said, ‘We have a four-year-old, but they have a 16-year-old brother.’ Maybe in the future, we thought, but right now to build our family it didn’t feel like that was the path we wanted to go through.”
That was when Jen and Bob connected with a friend from college who had adopted a child through Adoption Connections. They met with Executive Director Rebecca Bruce and felt like the agency was the right fit for them.
“If we were going to adopt, we didn’t want to put ourselves into a financial situation where we couldn’t provide the life we wanted to for that child. Adoption Connections was a godsend,” Jen says.
Jen and Bob entered into a new chapter on their journey toward parenthood when they became a waiting family with Adoption Connections. They had come from infertility to international adoption, to foster care, and now domestic adoption. For the first time, they felt they had a chance to be matched with a baby they could call their own.
That is just what happened. Jen and Bob were soon chosen by a birth mother. It was thrilling for Jen as she began to connect with this woman. Jen would go to all her doctor appointments, where the birth mom would introduce Jen as the baby’s mother. They planned a baby shower at the birth mom’s encouragement.
“The day we had the baby shower – that night – she sent me a Facebook message saying she had changed her mind,” Jen said. “I just stopped breathing.”
Jen struggled with thoughts that, looking back on it now, she knows were not rooted in truth. She thought the birth mother had changed her mind because Jen wasn’t good enough. A teacher, she was thankful this happened over the summer so she could grieve during the break.
“Bob was amazing through the whole thing,” Jen says. “He was my rock.”
A year later, the same birth mother contacted Adoption Connections to indicate that she had changed her mind and would like to consider Jen and Bob again to adopt her now one-year-old child. The agency dutifully contacted Jen and Bob, with cautious optimism.
They tried to go into the situation with eyes open. Jen was apprehensive, but Bob couldn’t help but be hopeful. He took it harder than Jen when the birth mother changed her mind three days later, on the day they were to pick up the child.
“The first time, my heart was open. The second time, his heart was open,” Jen says. “He was a mess.”
They joined Facebook groups about adoption struggles and found a community there of others who understood what they were going through. They understood that the decision to place a child for adoption belonged to the birth mother alone, but that didn’t stop them from having feelings of anger they didn’t know what to do with.
“The support groups could only go so far,” Bob says. “The experiences other people had were never quite the same. Some were suggesting that we should accept that it wasn’t going to happen. That was frustrating.”
Jen is thankful for the support she received from Adoption Connections in this difficult time. She recalls receiving waiting family emails just when she was feeling the most depressed.
“It seemed like it came at the perfect time. It was so uplifting – ‘We’re thinking of you.’ With some larger agencies you’re just a number. No one knows who you are.”
Jen and Bob tried to not to think or talk about adoption too much throughout the following fall and winter. When spring came around it was time to renew their home study – their eligibility to adopt – and that’s when it really felt like just going through the motions.
On July 4th, 2014, Adoption Connections contacted Jen about a new situation. The message she got acknowledged that it was a holiday, but did she want to talk?
“I called first thing in the morning!” Jen says.
Two weeks later, with guarded hearts, Jen and Bob met a new birth mother. It felt right. It felt like it was going to happen … but it was their third summer believing they were about to become parents. To protect the hearts of their friends and family along with their own, they told no one but Jen’s parents, her sister and her boss. None of Bob’s family had any idea what was happening, right up to the night the birth mom was to be induced.
Jen recalls that being at the hospital waiting for the baby to be born was a very odd feeling. She wanted to be happy but when she looked at the birth mom, she understood that there was sadness in the decision this young woman was making, a trial shared by her mother and cousin, there at the birth mother’s side.
“She gave me a big hug and said, ‘It’s okay to be happy,’” Jen says. “She was so thankful to us. That was something we never saw coming. Her mother just held onto me and said, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you.’”
Jen and Bob brought Tytus home in August of 2014 and finalized the adoption in November. At that moment, their journey to adopting their son ended. The journey of parenthood has finally begun.
The couple does not want their story to be a cautionary tale. Rather, they want it to be a source of hope for those who are waiting for their child.
“Everything is worthwhile,” Bob says. “The pain evaporates, like it never happened. I’m glad we saw it through and didn’t give up.”
“Your story is going to be different from everyone else’s,” Jen says. “Don’t compare notes. Don’t obsess over your profile book. Don’t get discouraged.”
Bob urges those still waiting to try to keep the wait in perspective.
“We waited just a few years, but we’ve got Tytus for the rest of our lives. What’s a few years of pain to have that?”