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Boy Meets Girl

This is where it all began….we locked eyes across the living room of a friend while attending a “Disciple Now” weekend in middle school. He had the sweetest eyes, and my crush began that day.

And that it remained, just a crush, for the next 8 or so years. Sure, we went to dances together, but strictly as friends.

Homecoming 1994...as friends only

Homecoming 1994…as friends only

Did I search for him at youth group events? Heck yes. But my future husband was too interested in basketball to have time for any girl…until college, that is. He met and began dating Stayton’s bio mom, and this tiny precious BOY came along soon after!

Stayton as a baby

Stayton as a baby

Fast forward a few years…to 1999. (What happened during that time, you ask?) Oh, just me going away to college, getting wrapped up in a terrible relationship, and Anthony going through a divorce…

Anyway, 1999…

As I was walking into the church where we both attended most of our lives, and he was walking out of it…

“Kara Watson…what are you up to?” he said.

“Oh, you know, college, starting Senior year, just broke up with my boyfriend. You?” I replied.

“I guess you heard that I’m divorced now?” [Anthony]

“Yeah…I’m sorry about that. Well, I’ve gotta run. Headed back to SFA today. Callie (his sister) has my email address if you ever want to write.” I replied.

Two weeks later: an email in my inbox. WHAT?!?!?

And it has been fun ever since.

Actually, it really has. Anthony is literally my other half. He is grounded where I am a dreamer. He is sarcastic where I am more, well, kind. He is edifying to me, and beyond helpful. Life has been wonderful with him!

Well, except that one part……
The part where we were giddy with excitement to tell our parents we were throwing our birth control pills to the wind!
The part where 6 months later all my friends were announcing pregnancies, and I wasn’t.
The part where 2 years later and every diagnostic test under the sun run…still no answers. I’m sorry, but “Unexplained Infertility” is not an answer. It’s the medical equivalent of saying that nothing is wrong. Which isn’t true.
The part where painful, embarrassing, invasive tests and exploratory surgeries happened…all with perfect results.
The part where my friends were announcing their second pregnancies, and I wasn’t.
The part where we moved away, and felt a fresh start begin, only for me to nosedive into the deepest depression of my life to that point.
The part where I questioned my worth and value and purpose.
The part where I gave up and shifted my focus to my career.
The part where my husband prayed for a change of heart and one last try.
The part where we began the diagnostics all over again in a new city…with the same answers.
The part where we decided for one last try…and conceived and lost.
The part where two months later, we conceived and lost yet again. Then a third time.

The part where I had depression, bitterness, and anger so deep that only God could pursue and win.
The part where counseling helped to heal some wounds, both big and small.
The part where my Bible Study girls prayed for our path to be made clear.
The part where Anthony and I had to answer the question:
“Do you want to be pregnant together? Or do you want to parent together?”

This question became another turning point in my life. For two weeks, Anthony and I prayed separately whether God had adoption in his plan for our family. Our infertility journey has now totaled 15 years out of the 18 we’ve been married.

My type-A self had written an index card with all the ways I felt God was leading us to adopt. Anthony made me share first. So with shaking hands, a nervous stomach and tears in my eyes I listed out my reasons. I looked at his face, and he asked me if I was sure. Because that was the same answer he had gotten through his prayer times too. We looked at each other and smiled, and I remember weeping and thinking, “I haven’t felt this much joy or relief in so long.”

Then began the research process. Foster? International? Domestic? Where do we go from here? Praying helped, but so did communicating with each other. What is your comfort zone? What do you envision our family to look like? Are we ready to have every. single. layer. of our lives out on display?

We decided domestic adoption was right for us. We wanted our agency to be local and affordable, but most of all, grounded in God. We searched our DFW agencies, and the closest, most affordable one just happened to be hosting an orientation 2 weeks later. We signed up! (Do you know how big of a deal this is? You can’t begin the paperwork without attending orientation at any agency. Most only do these twice a year or so and have waiting lists just to attend. We miraculously got in that easily.)

And so the story goes………
Paperwork and medical appointments and home safety standards and floor plans and TB tests and references and interviews and lab work and financial information and desires on paper.

Paper cuts and emotional breakdowns are the adoptive mom’s version of birth. You don’t know how hard it is until you have been through it.

From October through December 2011 we worked on our paperwork process, and January 4, 2012, we had our home study completed. By the end of January, we were approved by the board and became a waiting family.

Little did we know that the same week we began waiting, our son’s birth mom Haley called the agency and began counseling. Little did we know that our son was being fearfully and wonderfully made. Little did we know that God was slowly changing our hearts and opening them to love in a way we never had before.

During our wait, we attended the monthly meetings for expectant parents and met other couples like us. Couples who were in our boat. Do you know how nice that was? To finally find solace and peace in knowing we were not alone? It was wonderful. We also pressed forward with our lives. Stayton’s school and sports, me signing yet another teaching contract. Anthony finishing up his MBA…

The afternoon before the last day of school in 2012, our social worker called me. Anthony wasn’t home from work yet, and I thought it was another routine “How you guys doing?” type of phone call. But it wasn’t. Our social worker shifted the small talk and asked if Anthony was home yet. I said no, and we agreed she would call later. But miraculously, he pulled in the garage right as I was about to hang up with her. A whole hour early for no reason. I excitedly hollered, “Hurry in! We have been picked!” His jaw dropped and his eyes went big. “What?!”

We set up our match meeting for two days later, a Saturday lunch.

I was so nervous. What do I wear? What are we going to talk about?
I was so nervous I couldn’t eat or sleep.

During the match meeting, I couldn’t help but memorize her every feature, hang on her every word, cry when I saw the sonogram pics. I fell in love with her that day. Her bravery, her strength, her standards. Her personality, her humor, her love for her unborn son. She chose us that day. I still can’t believe it. She chose US.

And never in my life have I had such clarity and confirmation from God about any other decision.

Those next six weeks flew by–Nursery decorating, turning in my teaching resignation, sewing a new set of stockings, and getting to know sweet Haley.

July 20, 2012, our whole entire family shifted. We headed to the hospital and hugged Haley’s neck, and got to hold our newborn son.

And on July 23, 2012, my 34th birthday, I got the greatest gift from God. We brought our newborn son home.

And our family has never felt better. Our hearts have never been fuller. We have never been surer of anything before.

The week after our match meeting, I shared with a cousin of mine that I still don’t know “Why Me?” Why did we have to go through all of that heartache?

She looked at me, and with a single tear streaming down her cheek said, “You know exactly why. Because you were meant to be JAKE’S mommy.” And that is when it clicked. It was time to let go of my self-pity, my doubts and questions, and just rest in God’s plan.

God formed our family in such a unique way, and to be honest, I wouldn’t want it any other way! The hard times grew me, stretched me, and made our marriage stronger. I couldn’t imagine having any children but these two boys. And now that I’m in my 40s, I no longer pine for pregnancy the way I used to. Time and circumstances and lots of personal growth have changed me and made me into the woman I am today.

I pray that if you are caught in the harder years of infertility, or suffering losses, you gather solace and peace in knowing you are not alone. Women like myself have walked this road before you and will walk it with you if you’ll let us in. And let’s discuss adoption! Are you an adoptee? Considering adoption? Have questions?

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