It took many years of pain and heartache to finally become a mom.
My journey begins shortly after I got married to my husband. We were high school sweethearts and got married at the age of 20 after being together for 4 1/2 years. Heath went into the Air Force and we were stationed in North Dakota. Neither of us were ready to be parents since we were so young and living so far away from our families. We waited several years before trying to conceive. We knew it would be difficult since I was always irregular with my cycles.
It took us a few years to finally seek the aide of my OB-GYN. They immediately put me on Clomid to force me to have a cycle and to ovulate. We were shocked when I was pregnant on the first cycle of Clomid. I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes and was sent to a high risk OB. We did not get along at all... he did not listen to my concerns, nor the concerns of my hubby, mother, or MIL. He easily dismissed us. I had a feeling that I should be on insulin as my levels were consistently high, but he insisted that diet and exercise would work and insulin was not necessary. We listened to him and tragedy struck. Just 3 days after my ultrasound at 35.5 weeks, our daughter Kahlan died in utero. I woke up and she was not moving at all, so my SIL ( nurse) told me to call the doctor. I called them and they sent me to the hospital. When I arrived, they immediately began doing an u/s and could not find a heartbeat. We knew that she was gone. My doctors induced me at that point with pitocin as well as placing drugs right against my cervix. For 3 days, my body refused to progress past 1 cm, I was tired, and my body was beginning to fail. They rushed me into surgery for an emergency c-setion. Our daughter Kahlan was delivered weighing 5 lbs 8 oz and 18" long. Unfortunately, because it took 3 days for me to deliver, I had a uterine infection that kept me in the hospital for over a week and nearly killed me several times that week.
We mourned for quite a long time... then, my husband broached adoption. We had discussed it on our first date and both of us were adamant that we would adopt a child or two in our lives. I was not ready at that point because I was still in the midst of my grief. Several months later, I began to research adoption on the sly. I ordered tons of information packs from all over the country and presented to my husband. We began to investigate agencies and programs. When we were dating, we both had a heart for China, so that was our first choice. It was like a dagger to our hearts when we found out that we were too young according to their laws. We decided to wait the 2 years and save the money. I worked 2 jobs to help boost our savings account. Finally, the time came to begin the process. We had narrowed it down to 3 agencies... 2 in Atlanta and 1 in DC. After interviewing all 3, we knew that Bethany Christian Services was our agency.
On March 10, 2005 we began the long journey to our daughter. It took us 6 months to complete the documents known as our dossier as well as our homestudy. I finally turned in our dossier on 8/15/05 to our agency. We left for a cruise on 9/4/05 to celebrate dh's 30th birthday, our 10th anniversary and the completion or our dossier. When we returned we found out that our dossier left for China on 9/7/05, just 3 days after Heath's 30th birthday. Our dossier was recieved at the CCAA ( China Center for Adoption Affairs) on 10/10/05. The wait for a referral at that point was 6 months, so we anticipated receiving our referral in April of 06'. Time went by and the wait began to lengthen. When all was said and done, it took 17 months for us to receive the phone call that would change our lives forever.
The call came in at 12 noon on 2/1/07. I was at work when my phone rang and I heard the words that I had dreamt of for so long...." Claire, this is Sharon at Bethany... you have a daughter!" I was hysterically crying. I left work to break the news to Heath that he was a daddy. I got home and he was not at the house. I called him and found out that he was just a mile away at a friend's office after having lunch with them. I told him that he had a daughter and to come home. He was home within 5 minutes. I gave him the small amount of information that I had been given since our referral was not translated completely yet. The following day, we went to the agency and signed the acceptance papers and saw our dd's face for the first time. It was another month before we got permission from the Chinese gov't to travel. We left Atlanta on 3/29/07 for Beijing. We spent 3 days touring the city before flying to our daughter's province. Within 2 hours of landing in Guangzhou, we had gotten on the bus and gone to the Civil Affairs Office with 15 other families to meet our children. It seemed like forever before our name was called and we were handed a beautiful 17 month old little girl that we named Lillian Lin. Our adoption was finalized by Chinese law the following day and by US law 11 days later. Our trip lasted for almost 3 weeks. We arrived home after 26 hours of travel on 4/1/4/07.
It was 8 months after coming home from China that we found out that I was pregnant. We were terrified. I was diagnosed with hypertension while we were waiting on our referral, so I knew that I would classified high risk due to that condition. In addition, I was also diagnosed with GD again, but this time I had fabulous doctors and was immediately put on insulin, had weekly u/s, and non stress tests. I was on complete bed rest for almost my entire pregnancy. Between my mother and my MIL someone was with my daughter and I all the time. Finally, at 34 weeks 3 days, my OB sent me to L&D because they found out that I had Pre-Eclampsia. I was admitted at 3:30 pm on 8/4/08 and gave birth to my daughter Karli Rose at 6:29 pm via c-section. She was 4 lbs 8 oz and 17" long. She spent 3 weeks in NICU due to apnea issues. She came home on caffeine and an apnea monitor. They were our constant companions for 6 months. She is 9 months old now and is doing great.
My journey is now over... we have 3 girls... one named Kahlan Nicole that is in Heaven. She would be 6 years old in 11 days. Lillian Lin is now a vivacious 3 1/2 year old that loves to play dress up, ride ber bike and dances constantly. She adores her new baby sister Karli Rose. I can't wait to see what Karli's personality is like the older she gets..right now, she is a very happy baby and smiles all the time.
I am so grateful for all that the Lord has blessed me with in my life. He has taught me to appreciate the small things in life. I would not be where I am today without His love, grace, and gentle Hand.