Hannah's Heart
Catholic Infertility
Support Group
Jacksonville, FL



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Andrew and Julia

We started our adoption journey around February of 2003, nearing our third wedding anniversary.  We’d known long before our marriage that we weren’t going to be able to have children naturally, so adoption was our only option. We’ve both long expressed a desire for many children, so we hope this is God’s will for us, too.

 

We had wanted to start our family very soon after we wed, but we kept experiencing unexpected layoffs.  So even to have waited as long as we did up to that time was tough.  We reached a point where we had to decide that we needed to just plunge forward with trying to adopt, and not let the hurdles become road blocks. 

 

We completed our homestudy - the process of paperwork and interviews, in depth background checks and medical evaluations - in the Fall of ’03.  That was a big first step.  But we hadn’t been idle.  At the same time as we were turning in requirements and attending classes for our homestudy, we were trying to become foster parents through the Department of Children and Families (DCF).  Our intent was to try to “foster to adopt” children via DCF.  The homestudy was costing us roughly $2,000 and we’d heard adopting a child through DCF, although a long wait, was free.  It all came to a rather abrupt end when our caseworker told us that we could not pursue both foster care and adoption concurrently, especially if we were trying to adopt by other means, such as through an agency, or an attorney. We were frustrated, because we had already done all the coursework (10 weeks) and paperwork, and yet what we really wanted was to try to find a child that could become a permanent part of our family. 

 

This lead to a very long discernment to pursue something called embryo adoption. In the first part of 2005, after much prayer and expense, our babies, in the form of 17 adopted embryos, arrived in Jacksonville.  They’d been created by a couple from New Jersey who didn’t want them anymore.  Julia began a regime of hormones for several weeks and we tried to get pregnant with them in March and then again in June.  We were unsuccessful both times.  It was an emotionally and physically painful time for us.  We were disappointed the babies didn’t result in lives births and we grieved their loss.  It was much like suffering a miscarriage.  But, somehow it wasn’t difficult to acknowledge that this wasn’t how God intended for us to create our family.  We picked up the pieces and started again.   

 

God lead us to Xavier in March of 2006 through one of those instruments He fashioned best – mothers.  Julia’s Mom, Margaret, is friends with a woman named Colleen Garson who helps to run the Woman’s Help Center of Jacksonville. Colleen knows an attorney named Mark Miller who does adoptions.  Julia’s Mom, on her “campaign” to become a grandmother, (after patiently waiting for nearly six years) petitioned us to call Mark with the hopes that he might be working with a Birth Mother who would choose us to adopt her baby.  We were hesitant.  Our savings had been pretty drained from the previous years’ embryo adoption.  But Julia phoned Mark rather promptly and he happened to be working with a Birth Mother who was in the unenviable position of having just had the adoptive couple back out on her, and she was due in a month!  We think that Mark didn’t have to tell her that with out also being able to tell her about us.  God is good.  Two days after that first phone call to Mark’s office we were meeting our Birth Mother and 12 days later, on March 28th, we were meeting our son. 

 

Xavier’s Birth Mother, Diane, was sooo good to us.  From the moment she told us she’d give us her baby boy, she wanted our input on every decision she had to make up until the birth.  Once we were all at the hospital awaiting Xavier’s early arrival, she invited Julia to be in the delivery room and cut the umbilical cord. According to our attorney, this never happens.  What a gift!  Diane reassured us every step of the way that she would not change her mind about giving him up. Trying her best to quell our fears, she even went so far as to encourage us to phone our loved ones immediately after Xavier was born, when we would have waited until she’d signed over custody.

 

Diane asked to hold Xavier twice after he was born.  Once to “meet” him and once to say “good-bye.”  We were present for their introduction, as it were.  Imagine our astonishment when we heard her say things to him like how fortunate he was to have us as his parents, how blessed his future was going to be, etc.  Of all the things she could have said to him, she chose to talk to him about us, his new life, our new family…the family she’d just helped us create.  We were moved to tears. Diane also wrote Xavier a beautiful letter that we are to read to him when he’s old enough to begin to understand what it means to be adopted – we will.  Andrew read the letter aloud to the two of us when we were just a couple days home from the hospital.  It was so touching that neither of us got through it with out great emotion.

 

We must mention that before receiving our Gift, we begrudged every dollar she said that she needed in that short time, but after we held Xavier in our arms for the first time, no amount of money would have been too much to give Diane.  What a tremendous sacrifice she made in giving him up!  How miraculous life is!  How amazing it is to be given that gift by anyone, but for us, someone who was a complete stranger to us.  We know that we had to have faith for all this to transpire, but we can only begin to envision the faith Diane must have to trust that we are bringing up our son as best we know how. We can only hope and pray that every adoption experience we have is as wonderful as our first.



To read the next chapter in Andrew and Julia's story, including the adoption of their second son, Felix, please visit their Adopt a Miracle website.