In honor of November being National Adoption Awareness Month, Portrait of an Adoption is hosting the fourth annual acclaimed series, 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 people with widely varying experiences.
By Samantha Velazquez
My grandfather was adopted, and so were a few of my family members. I have always known that I would one day adopt, but I had the hardest time convincing my husband of that. He didn't think that he could love a child that was not biologically his own. I didn't blame him; a lot of people feel the same way. I even asked myself on several occasions if I could love a child that I hadn't given birth to. The answer was always a resounding YES.
My husband and I have a nine-year-old daughter together. When she was two-and-a-half years old, we decided we were ready to try for another baby. I was diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, and my husband was told that a good majority of his sperm were duds (low morphology).
We couldn’t conceive, and when we did finally conceive, it turned out to be an ectopic pregnancy. The loss was hard on us both, and we began to give up on having the big family that we had always envisioned.
We felt so alone in our struggle. When we did share our situation with those around us, we were told to "relax," or my favorite, "just be happy with the one child you do have." That stung. We were happy with her, but we wanted to give her a sibling to share her life with. When people said that we should “just be happy”, we felt like selfish human beings.
The fertility treatments were so expensive, and after six years of trying, we just couldn't afford to continue. Injecting hormones month after month in hopes of having a baby was starting to take its toll on me, on the both of us. The negative pregnancy tests each month were more than disheartening. My friends were having babies, and I was truly happy for them, but it was also really hard hiding my heartbreak as they celebrated their growing families. Their pregnancy announcements were bittersweet for me.
After several years of infertility treatments, my husband began to consider fostering/adopting. Somehow his thinking began to change, and I saw a glimmer of hope. I knew that God was touching his heart and giving it a tenderness that it had never had before. I made an appointment for us to go to a foster parent orientation. We went, but he still wasn't fully convinced. His heart continued to soften, however.
At the time, a good friend of mine was fostering an infant. She needed someone to care for him while she and her husband went on a much needed ten-day vacation. Well, needless to say, we fell in love with that baby! I believe that it was then that my husband realized that he truly could love a child that was not biologically his own. He loved that child more than he even realized during the brief time we cared for him. It was a fierce love that we will never forget.
My husband then gave fostering the green light. I was ecstatic! We completed our training and obtained our foster care license three months later. My friends threw us a baby shower, and everything felt surreal. Our first placements came on September 9, 2012. They stayed for nine days.
We loved having them around, and we were happy that they were able to return to family fairly quickly. We had a few more emergency placements that were reunited with family as well. We were so happy for them that reunification worked.
Then a newborn destined for adoption was placed with us. We picked him up from the hospital on 10/16/2012, just two days after his birth. We instantly fell in love. He was with us for three weeks when his caseworker called to tell us that the foster family that was caring for his brother wanted him too, and we knew it was in his best interest to go be with his brother.
We cried our eyes out, but we knew that God had a plan. He went to be with his brother, and we missed him like crazy.
I was even more emotional than normal, because the previous week I had found out that I was pregnant. Just when we had completely given up on ever having another biological child, God had given us a precious miracle!
A couple of weeks later, we got the call that changed our lives forever.
The foster family that our recently placed newborn had been transferred to could no longer care for either boy. The caseworker asked us if we would be willing to take both boys. The little one was just over a month old, and the big one had just turned twelve months. How could we say no? God's plan was unfolding in full swing, and we could feel the blessings rain down on us! Our little one was returning home! It was as though he had never left, so much joy.
Needless to say, my pregnancy was very exhausting.
The birth parents of our boys could not manage to rehabilitate. The birth father was in and out of jail, and the birth mom disappeared for long amounts of time. We felt compelled to gain trust with the bio grandparents, and so we took the boys to visit them on several occasions. They are wonderful people.
The bio grandparents actually had just completed the adoption of the first set of six siblings. SIX. The bio parents had essentially abandoned eight children total throughout the years. The bio grandparents just couldn't accept any more kids, and so that is how our boys ended up in our care. They wanted us to adopt the boys. We were happy that they received us well and entrusted us with adopting their beloved grandchildren.
Several months later, I gave birth to my biological daughter on 6/25/2013. It was wonderful. She was a breastfeeding pro.
After bringing her home from the hospital, I noticed that my youngest foster son was becoming more and more intrigued by her breastfeeding.
I knew I couldn't breastfeed him, because he was still a foster child, not adopted, and since he had never breastfed before, he probably wouldn't be able to latch on anyway.
He continued to show interest, though, and after getting the blessing from the bio family to attempt breastfeeding (when he was almost twelve months of age), I tried to nurse him. To my surprise, he took to it immediately. He had never been breastfed before! Somehow he was a natural.
The bio grandparents and bio dad were happy that I would be willing to give our foster son the gift of breast milk, as well as the bond that breastfeeding brings. Soon after the baby and I began our breastfeeding journey, his bio dad signed away his rights and gave us the blessing to adopt. The birth mom was still nowhere to be found, so we had to wait for the courts to terminate her rights, which happened not long after.
We adopted our boys on 2/20/14. We couldn't imagine our lives without them.
My now twelve-month-old biological daughter and twenty-month-old adopted son both breastfeed together. Yep, I tandem breastfeed my two kiddos. I understand that I am extremely blessed to be able to bond with him in this way. Our older son never showed interest in breastfeeding, and I am okay with that.
We love our baby boys so much. We couldn't imagine our lives without them. Having three kiddos in diapers does make the days feel harder and longer...but we are doing everything we can to soak in our blessings regardless. We have truly been blessed beyond compare.
Samantha Velazquez, works as a family home visitor for a lovely program called Healthy Families. The program strides to support families in need in the local community. She and her husband Raul have four beautiful children. Raul is a stay-at-home-dad, while Samantha tackles working full time and being a full time nursing student. Somehow she still finds time to breastfeed her two youngest kiddos. She is very passionate about her Christian faith and gives thanks for her many blessings on a daily basis.
This year's Adoption Portraits series is filled. You may send a submission for next year's series to Carrie Goldman at email@example.com. Follow Portrait of an Adoption on Twitter and Facebook
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