The first Valentine’s Day dates back to the year 496. On this special day of love, many of us enjoy receiving gifts such as chocolates, roses and cards. Emily, who’s birthday happens to be on Valentine’s Day, would like a gift that’s not materialistic. While flowers and candy may be nice to receive on her holiday birthday, they are nothing close to what she desires.
Emily and her husband will soon be celebrating their 16th year wedding anniversary. The couple have spent many years of love and joy together. Like with any relationship, there have been struggles that have brought them even closer. Early in their relationship, Emily and her husband learned they were going to become parents to twins. As soon as planning began for their new life something happened. “They were 18 ½ weeks old” says Emily. “I woke up one morning and knew that something was wrong.” Emily and her mother then rushed to the hospital where her most frightening thoughts were confirmed. “I wanted them (the doctors) to give them as much time as possible.” says Emily. Once doctors knew there was a problem, Emily was taken by ambulance to a university hospital which she says was the “most terrifying longest ride of my life.” At the hospital she was placed in the Labor and Delivery unit. Still painful to talk about, Emily fought through tears as she told her story. “There was no stopping the first baby [from coming out]”, says Emily. Sadly, the first baby was not alive when it delivered. At that point Emily was willing to do whatever she could to save the second baby… even if it meant spending the remainder of the pregnancy on bed rest.
Unfortunately, there was miscommunication by the physicians. A decision was made without Emily’s knowledge or consent. The second baby was not saved which sent Emily into a tailspin. Even if saving the baby may not have been possible, she wishes her thoughts would have been considered. Later she could have filed a legal case against the physicians and the hospital but declined. It wasn’t about winning a case for her or her husband. What was most important were now gone. For the most part the staff empathized but the whole experience seemed somewhat “cold.” “I wish better for other women who may have gone through this.” Says Emily “The loss is hard at any stage.” Emily remained at the hospital for 3 days. Before she was discharged, she was able to hold the twins. She now has a few of the babies items kept away. Through it all, Emily’s husband “helped her with everything” she says. She knows that’s part of “true love” because he took such good care of her.
Years after the loss of the twins, Emily and her husband were happy to learn they were going to have another baby. They were blessed with a son. Although their family seemed complete, they knew they wanted more children. However, it was not possible. Several medical procedures and fertility treatments would have been needed and were too expensive. Through thought and prayer they decided to try another option of adoption.
“It’s a leap of faith” says Emily. “It just felt like God wanted us to adopt.” Emily and her husband started their adoption journey 2 years ago and are still waiting for a match. Adoption can be more complex and difficult than most people realize. There is extensive paperwork, “endless phone calls”, home visits, and interviewing which entails being asked very “personal questions.” It’s also about reading the horror stories of what some of the children have been through which can be emotionally challenging. Emily says the hardest part of the adoption process is the waiting. Every time a possible match may be close, they get hit with a disappointing curve ball. But, they keep trying. “There’s always hope and in the dark, there is a light” says Emily. When asked how family and friends have been since they began the adoption search Emily says “Most people have been supportive throughout the process, but some ask why it is taking so long.” Which can be discouraging. Being human Emily sometimes questions her decision to pursue adoption but she is still optimistic and knows there is “a plan.” “I know we are meant to have more kids” says Emily. Although she and her family are ready to open their home to another child, she’s thankful for what’s right in front of her. For a while, everything was the adoption, but I had to stop and not forget what I do have.” Emily and her husband are more than grateful for their son who is now 12. “He keeps me going” she says. He is supportive and excited about the possibility of having a brother or sister, but with the wait it has become a little challenging for him to believe it’s still possible.
When asked how she deals with the disappointments of trying to adopt and the grief of losing the twins, Emily says she keeps her “faith.” “You need comfort and you need to have something to believe in.” Emily wants “People to know who may be suffering from anything that they are not alone.” She says the adoption process has taught her (more) about herself. “It’s about helping kids. It’s about sacrifice, WAITING, and learning some patience.” Emily has gone “outside” of her “comfort zone and let strangers into” [her] “home to analyze the family.” Which proves this whole experience means so much to her. “It’s about the bigger picture, not just my dream of having a bigger family” says Emily. Emily plans to continue her search until they “finally adopt.” And, it won’t stop there. “I would like to find ways to shed more light on the brokenness of the system” she says. “Find ways to change laws or change the system for the better of not just adoptive family, but the kids… the biological family, and the workers. So much red tape, so much greed [and], so many hidden aspects.” Learning through this experience has brought Emily to consider becoming a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) social worker, or recruiter. Emily says she wants “to be IN the system on that end to help get things moving and get kids in Love homes!”
For now Emily and her family live in what she calls her ‘Homestead’ where she, her husband and their son take care of their animals. She also enjoys gardening and does photography to keep busy. Emily jokes and considers these things “cheaper than therapy.” Emily has so much love to give to any child. Although she has been through something traumatic she chooses not to dwell on her loss, but to learn from it and help others. “Suffering is not in vein” she says. Sometimes things happen in our lives that we do not always understand. Often there is a plan that may lead us to something we never thought possible and to something wonderful.
“Love only grows by sharing. You can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others.” -Brian Tracy