In honor of November being National Adoption Month, Portrait of an Adoption is running a special series called 30 Adoption Portraits in 30 Days. Designed to give a voice to the many different perspectives of adoption, this series will feature guest posts by adoptees, birthparents, adoptive parents, waiting adoptive parents, and foster parents-turned-adoptive parents. Painful and beautiful, these stories will bring you a deeper understanding of what adoption looks like, allowing you to appreciate the many brushstrokes that comprise a family portrait.
The Reality Started To Set In That I Was Never Going To Be Pregnant Again
By Jodie Tallman
We always knew we wanted to adopt…
When Bryant and I were dating, we talked frequently about our “ideal” family plan: two biological kids and two adopted children…. as if life ever goes the way we plan? In 2008 we were blessed with a biological child. Her name is Kensington Grace and she is the biggest light of our lives!
Fast forward to August 18th, 2010. I woke up with extreme neck and head pain. As the days progressed my pain was unlike anything I had ever experienced. My vision started to become distorted and I could barely walk or talk. Long story short, I ended up in the ICU with a Vertebral Artery Dissection (“VAD”).
A rare condition that affects 1 in 100,000 people a year! During the six months of recovery, I spent many weeks in a quite dark room all by myself. Everything that I once knew was taken away from me including holding and spending time with Kensington Grace.
I did, however, have my life, precious family, friends, and most importantly, I had God! Through the pain, I cried out to God to heal me, to speak to me, and to rescue me from this situation. Although I spent about twelve weeks in extreme pain, he did just that!
Last year was the hardest year of my life, but hands down the most growing year to date. God also started to speak to Bryant during this time. We both felt that adoption might be something that God was bringing into the picture. We attended a few adoption meetings with open hearts and minds.
At this point we were very clueless about the entire adoption process and frankly, we felt quite awkward and out-of-place. We were very closed off to having an “open” adoption. (In “open” adoptions, the biological mother maintains some degree of communication with the adopted parents and biological child).
You could say we were coming from a place of fear and lack of knowledge. We attended two meetings where the birth mothers came to share their stories. We saw their heartache, their selflessness and now the peace that is growing from their heart.
Knowing they chose to place their child with hopeful adoptive parents was such a beautiful thing to see; unlike anything Bryant or I had ever experienced. As I wiped the tears from my eyes, we looked at each other and took a deep breath and had the same feeling. This is our path!
This past summer we kept talking and praying about adoption. Even though we were both on the same page, I needed to have closure in my heart so I made an OB appointment. I went into it feeling open, but not expecting to have the reaction that I did. As I sat on the table discussing my recent VAD situation and complicated pregnancy with Kensington, I became really emotional.
The doctor just looked up with very kind eyes and said, “I’m sorry Jodie, this is not a good idea.” However, she wanted me to get a second opinion with a high risk Dr. I walked out of that office in tears. I was surprised at myself. Why was I heartbroken when I always wanted to adopt and felt that was something we were supposed to do?
I immediately called Bryant and just couldn’t stop crying. What an amazing husband I have to continue to support me through this crazy journey we have been on this past year. He just reassured me that it’s all going to be okay and that he is so excited to adopt!!
As I wiped the tears away, I felt a peace come over me, but it was a roller coaster of emotions for a while. About a month later, we walked into that second appointment with the high risk doctor, and this time Bryant was with me.
Before that appointment our prayer wasn’t, “God please let us become pregnant again,” it was more, “God please give us peace, give us closure, show us our path.” He contacted a Neurologist and a vascular surgeon and they all basically agreed with what my OB said. “Jodie, this is not a good idea.” The risk for stroke or death is just too high…. We had the closure we needed. I did not cry once during that appointment, but the second we walked out of that office I just melted in Bryant’s arms.
All these thoughts were running through my mind. I will never feel the kick of a baby in my belly again, Kensington will never look like her brother or sister; there will never be a little Bryant Tallman running around in this world, I will never breastfeed again. Though I feel it’s unhealthy and ungrateful to let those thoughts take over, it was important for me to express how I was feeling.
The reality started to set in that I was never going to be pregnant again. I needed to get the maternity clothes out of the house for my own well-being. So I pulled a couple of the cute outfits to save for my sister-in-law Meghan and my best friend Candice to wear someday. I posted things on craigslist and a sweet woman called and came over to try on my maternity clothes. My heart was feeling sad before she came over, but she ended being the nicest woman. It made my heart feel so joyful to know that someone sweet was wearing my maternity clothes.
It’s been about several months since our final OB appointment. We don’t know what all the pieces are going to look like, but we are so thrilled with the opportunity to adopt. We trust that God is going to make this all happen through His provision! We are excited, a little scared but there is an overwhelming peace that God has something really special planned for our family. We are excited to share this journey with you. This is our heart.
By Jodie Tallman