Sharing our adoption process, including what led to our decision, and what a whirlwind experience it was to adopt our precious baby boy, Josiah
Adoption was always part of our plan. We always considered ourselves an adoptive family even though we hadn’t adopted yet. Our “plan”, however, included having several of our own and then adding to our clan.
We were diagnosed with infertility in 2013. After a year and with the help of minor medical intervention we were able to conceieve our precious girl, Charlotte.
She was a super healthy pregnancy and made her entrance 5 weeks early and didn’t even have a NICU stay.
Fast forward a year later and we knew it would take a while to conceive again, so we visited our doctor to begin treatment again. When we went in for the appointment, to our absolute shock and awe, we were pregnant! 6 weeks along and I had NO idea.
When we went in for our 12 week appointment, we found out we lost the baby which was devastating to say the least.
We dusted ourselves off and began more medical treatments in January of 2017. Nothing.
We began more agressive treatments in January of 2018. Again, nothing except extremely dark, depressing, and unexplainable grief.
We had a choice to make. IVF or adoption. While I so badly wanted to be pregnant again, it was very clear adoption was our next step.
We had our first conversations about how to begin the process with a local attorney here the beginning of July. We decided to go ahead with the process, so we went to our old hometown of Florence, SC to have a family friend take some photos of us. I built our adoption website for an expectant mama to be able to see. We were ready. We jumped off one huge infertility emotional roller coaster to jump right on the adoption one.
I was visiting my best friend in my hometown August 6th and was upstairs working when my phone rang. It was Jordan. A baby had been born in the hospital right down the street from us. I screamed, my best friend rushed up the stairs to see if I was okay, only to find me freaking out and I mouthed to her “BABY” while my husband was talking to me.
I rushed home the next morning to get fingerprinted and start our background check process. We hadn’t even announced we were adopting, let alone done any kind of fundraising or start our home study process.
We were presented along with 2 other families. The mama actually chose a family friend and we were crushed. I just totally felt a weird, unexplainable connection to this sweet boy. I was confused. I was angry. I questioned a lot of things.
2 grueling weeks later, I’m heading to Columbia, South Carolina which is an hour from home to band rehearsal for our church. I’m crying hysterically, yelling at God the entire way there because I’m just so frustrated and confused. I take 2 steps into the building and my phone rings. It’s my husband. His words still ring loud and clear to me like it was yesterday:
“Well, we have a son.”
The expectant-mama-turned-birth-mama made the bravest decision to move on from the other family and choose us instead.
As soon as I hung up, he sent me this picture. This was the very first time I laid eyes on him, but at this point, I had had 2 weeks to fall in love with a boy I never knew; a boy that may never even be ours but I felt always was.
I screamed. I cried. I tackle hugged my friend and cried some more. Here in lies the issue:
I AM AN HOUR AWAY FROM HOME.
I jumped right back in my car and drove as fast as (legally) possible back home. Meanwhile, my husband and aunt are at the house in our attic frantically pulling out everything baby related that could be washed and used for OUR SON.
I got home, we explained to Charlotte as best we could that we were going to pick up her baby brother and we got in the car to go pick our boy up on his 2 week old birthday.
We had his name picked out since 2016 – Jonah Phoenix. We read about his medical history through an interview with a social worker and his birth mom. When we read his file, we saw his birth mom named him Kamryn Josiah. We looked up to see what the name Josiah meant and found this:
His middle name Phoenix meant “from the ashes.”
We decided to change our plans once again and name him Josiah Phoenix. His name literally means “Jehovah heals from the ashes.”
While he brought healing to our family, we are praying that there is healing with his biological family. Unfortunately at the moment, we have a closed adoption, but we are praying that one day it will be open. We love his birth mama more than she really even knows and are praying for restoration and healing one day. We are here with open arms when she is ready.
A few short months later on December 17th, we officially got to legally change his name from Baby Boy Doe to Josiah Pheonix Smith.
There are many, many details that I’m sparing for the sake of this post. Mostly because they’re special to us and I want to keep it that way. Also because adoption is part of our story, but it is also his story to tell and we want to protect that. There is a fine line with adoption stories because I don’t ever want him to grow up feeling like everyone else knows his story better than he knows his own.
Adoption is hard and messy and sad and scary, but rewarding and beautiful and worth every single penny and tear.
The most important thing to note, however, is that Josiah was not given to us to “fix” our infertility. He’s not meant to bear that weight and I will never EVER let him feel that’s the case. And even more brutally honestly, our battle with infertility is still a battle and it’s even been more dark and depressing and gut wrenching SINCE he has been home. I still ache to be pregnant. I still cry when I see pregnancy announcements. I still have an extremely hard time attending baby showers.
It in no way negates the fact that I’m grateful for how fast he came home – it was a little more than a month since we had our first conversation and only a week after we announced we were adopting that he was home with us! We didn’t even have a nursery design in plan, much less an actual nursery set up! Luckily, we were able to come up with a quick design plan and execute it and it turned out so perfect for him.
But it doesn’t change the desire I have to be a mama of more biological babes. We know there are more adoptions in our future. We also sincerely hope and pray there are more pregnancies, too.
Want to see something crazy though? It’s baffling to think this boy does NOT have our DNA. The picture on the left is Charlotte at 2 weeks. The picture on the right is Josiah at 2 and a half. CRAZY TOWN, y’all!
Josiah was absolutely made for us and was created to be ours. And he is. He’s just as much ours as if I carried him myself and I’m so anxious to learn and grow with him. There’s a lot we are still learning about adoption and know it’s a lifelong journey. We will make mistakes I’m sure, but at least we have a great, supportive community around us to help us along the way.