We are so excited to announce that we matched with an expectant mama in late July! We were contacted by a mama very early in her pregnancy, something we were not expecting as a part of our story- but it has been so special. We have been so blessed to get to know her and her family and grow an amazing bond with her.
Baby Herron is due the first of February and we CANNOT WAIT.
Hey friends and family! IT'S BEEN A MINUTE....
Wow- I cannot believe that it's been since May that we have posted an update. Honestly, we have had SO much happening in the last few months, it's been hard to catch our breath. In order for you to understand our journey thus-far, we thought it would be best to spell out all that has been happening in chronological order starting where we left off in May.
May- Remember when we announced our adoption in April and said we were officially taking a break from IVF and fertility treatments?! Well, once again, God laughed. Two weeks after we announced our adoption, we got a call from the Business Manager of our fertility practice, Midwest Fertility. He was calling to tell us some grim and very stressful news. You see, when we signed up for IVF, we entered into a risk management agreement with a third party "lender". As you know, IVF is not sure proof and many couples require multiple cycles to achieve a successful pregnancy. To put it plainly, one IVF cycle is around 25k so we needed to be wise with our money.
When we started IVF, we looked at our diagnosis and decided to enter into a three-cycle risk program at a slightly higher cost. In this program, you pay a third party (Attain Fertility) for a bundle of three IVF cycles. You do not directly pay your fertility practice. If you get pregnant on your first cycle, then you are withdrawn from the program and cannot use the consecutive two cycles. It's like gambling. SO... we decided to pay the extra money to get the "best bang for our buck."
Here's where it gets interesting...... in late April, our practice called us and told us that Attain Fertility (part of IntegraMed) filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and had liquidated all of our money, and our remaining IVF cycles were lost. We got screwed.... Midwest (and our doctor, Dr. Bopp) were devastated for us and their many patients that also lost their cycles and large monetary investments. There was nothing Midwest could do to get our money back from this third party program. We looked into lawyers but ultimately, we would lose.
So, that meant that unless we forked up another 25k to our fertility practice, we had no more chances of having biological children in the future. By a sure act of God, our fertility practice was so kind to honor what we had previously contracted with Attain Fertility by gifting us a free stimulation round, but we had to do it as soon as possible. You guys, this meant Midwest Fertility felt so sorry that Attain took our money and ran that they gave us a free IVF round at 100% cost to Midwest. We did not pay a dime..... Do you know how crazy that is in the medical world!? It's unheard of.
In summary, we knew that most of our summer would be spent doing IVF and trying to produce more healthy embryos for a chance at biological kids further down the road.
June- June was an amazing month for us. We were stir crazy from quarantine so we loaded up Bear in the car and drove down to Florida to work remotely for about two weeks. The change of scenery was amazing and we were able to unwind from the stress of being cooped up for most of March, April and May. When we got back from Florida, we started prepping for IVF again. About 60 hormone injections and a lot of tears later, we were ready for July's egg retrieval!
We also started (and finished) our baby nursery! It's a neutral mountain theme and a labor of love! I have been truly "nesting" as they call it.
In adoption news- June was spent applying and also turning down many adoption situations. For several reasons, these situations were just not a good fit. It was HARD to be so close to potential babies (some already born), and know that God was telling us to say no and wait for another situation. We said no to probably five situations, and other times we were simply not chosen. June was BUSY. We talked to so many expectant mamas (and some scammers) that it felt like a part time job. We would be presented with emails about "baby due next week- URGENT REQUEST" and we would get so excited. We would imagine every situation and how it would all come together, just to be softly reminded by God that this wasn't the baby He had for us. It was hard but there was a peace in it.
July- In July we celebrated our third wedding anniversary and experienced some of our biggest blessings to date.
We also completed our third round of IVF (the free round gifted to us by Midwest Fertility). I want to point out that when COVID started, fertility practices were shut down nationally. These doctors lost a tonnnnn of money during those months. In no way did our amazing Dr. Bopp owe us anything when Attain filed for bankruptcy. But God was moving....
Dr. Bopp and the staff at Midwest have such amazing hearts that they gave us another chance at a miracle... and we will forever be grateful. At the end of our third round of IVF, we are happy to report that we have FIVE beautiful and genetically tested embryos. We have FIVE beautiful chances of having bio children later on in life. Right now our "embabies" are frozen in a lab and we can return to them when we feel ready to pursue fertility treatment again. Right now, all of our attention is focused on adoption and it feels so good to FINALLY give my body a much needed rest.
In early July we were almost overwhelmed with how busy our adoption situation was getting. We prayed for God to give us a miracle or a sign for our anniversary. For many reasons, I can't disclose details as to what is happening in our lives but please know that we are amazed with the way it is all being worked out. Our current situation is unconventional even for the adoption world, but it is special and beautiful.
August- August was the due date of our miscarried baby. Ironically, on our due date, we were surprised with really exciting news. God is in the details and I can't wait to share them with you all someday soon!
Similar to how pregnancy after loss would feel, adoption after loss and infertility is hard. Sometimes it is scary to talk about exciting things happening because you are so used to heartbreak that you almost expect more heartbreak. Sometimes it feels certain things are "too good to be true," so you just keep your head down until you someday have a baby in your arms.... We have really been trying to let joy be joy, and enjoy the journey.
September- We are really looking forward to September. We have big plans and exciting events coming up.
Again, I apologize for being so cryptic but adoption is tricky and sharing too much can put certain situations at risk. For now, please continue praying for baby Herron, our expectant mama and our adoption. We have a long way to go and we continue to feel every prayer.
As a side note- our puzzle piece fundraiser is STILL a go! We finally received the puzzle from China in July. We will get around to putting it together with all of your names shortly :)
THANK YOU!!!! To start, we are still so floored that we are already here. We honestly thought fundraising what we have would take several months to a year. We feel so blessed and are forever grateful for your support in helping us get this chance at bringing home our baby. We prayed that this process would show us God's faithfulness and goodness again and it has! After walking through the desert for so long, we needed reassurance that God was with us (although we know He always is). Our faith has always been strong that God's hand is on our story but when we sit back and look at what has happened with our adoption so far, we are in ABSOLUTE AWE. God loves adoption and we know this through His word: James 1:27 "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
So I'm sure you are wondering where we are at..... We are officially live and are waiting for a match with a birth mom! It has been so exciting!
Please note that we are keeping some details of our adoption private but we feel like we want to share some of the details of our situation so that you all can be praying with us. We are answering three of the most common questions we get below:
How long will it take?: Man- if only we knew! Typically, our agency says to expect 6-12 months for a match with a birth mom. There are a few things that have happened so far that lead us to believe that it could be much sooner than that, but we are also not getting our hopes up. By now, we are pros at waiting and waiting and waiting, but we would be lying if we said every day didn't feel 20x longer than normal because we are just so excited and expectant of good news.
What is encouraging is that our agency places an average of around 18-20 newborns a year. They typically carry a case load of about 12 waiting families at one time. Right now, we are one of five waiting families. One family is on hold because of COVID. The second family had an expired home-study they are working on. The third family has a preference of an Indian or Hispanic birth mom, and the fourth family is waiting for a boy and they have two children already. We get super excited when we hear this because it sounds like we might be chosen quickly out of this bunch- BUT we know we need to be realistic and patient. Adoption takes time, and although we would love a super quick match, we need to be very realistic. Sometimes we catch ourselves saying "our baby is probably already out there somewhere forming in someone else's womb, we just haven't met them yet."
We have learned through all of our struggles that having realistic expectations helps us better deal with disappointment, so we are choosing to be cautiously optimistic. If you could pray for our hearts on this, we would so appreciate it!
How far along will the mom be?: For our protection, our agency likes to work with moms once they are out of the first trimester. As we know personally, one in four pregnancies ends in a miscarriage, so our agency waits for a healthy part in a birth mom's pregnancy to look for a potential match. What is crazy is that the birth mom could be at any gestational age. She could be 14 weeks, 26 weeks, 39 weeks or she may have already just given birth in the hospital when we get a call to match (yes this happens most of the time and we were shocked too!) SO- we could have some time to prepare for the baby or we could get a call like "there's a birth mom who just gave birth in XXX state and they chose your profile, can you hop on a flight?" Crazy right? I (Aubrey) am a huge planner so learning to let go of all of that has been so out of character for me but I'm somewhat loving it.
One thing we did to prepare was go out and buy some of our nursery furniture. I know we don't really need furniture for a baby but it certainly helps the "nesting" process. Our other friends have been saving their baby stuff for us for about a year, and we have been working on our registry. Our next step is a car seat in case we get a crazy call that there's a baby needing a home ASAP.
What kind of relationship will you have with the birth mom?: This is one of the most tender parts of our adoption. With each exciting step in our journey, there is a mama out there walking through the steps of making extremely difficult decisions. We cannot begin to understand the magnitude of decisions she will have to make. We cannot begin to realize what her reality is as she chooses this path and what difficult situations she is walking through that are leading her our way. We want to acknowledge that although our family will be growing through adoption, another family is going to be suffering a loss.
Mother's Day was hard this year but also full of promise. When I found a quiet moment in the day, I thought about the mother across the country that is or will be carrying our future baby. I would imagine Mother's Day was hard on her as well. In that small way, we will always be connected. To be honest, it is hard for us to sometimes be so overjoyed that we will be welcoming a baby into our family, because we are also trying to understand the incredible loss that our birth mama will be feeling. There is loss in adoption, and grief. We have felt only an inkling of this grief through our miscarriage, but the magnitude of her loss is and will not be lost on us.
Our dream is to have an amazing relationship with our birth mom. We would like to come alongside her throughout her pregnancy to support her and also love her well through life after she gives birth. As much as we already have so much love for our coming child, we have the same love for his or her birth mother as well. Without her, our story would not be what it will be. We have been praying for her for SO LONG. Can you pray for her too? We already know that she will be brave and selfless. How can we ever thank her for the sacrifices she will make in order for us to be parents? Adoption is one of the most selfless acts in the world. The love a mother has for her child when she chooses another life for them is courageous and awe-inspiring. A mother's love is unconditional and knows no boundaries. We will be forever honored to have her as a part of her life as we accept her child into our home.
I (Aubrey) keep having dreams that our birth mama is actually a mama of an older age. I dream that she has several children already, and gets pregnant by surprise. For whatever circumstances, she is unable to raise this child and decides to place them for adoption. We will see if these dreams are correct and what God will do!
To sum it all up- we are SO EXCITED! We are prayerfully waiting with our palms up and open to whatever God is bringing our way.
Stay tuned! Our next post will be an update of our puzzle piece fundraiser- which is already over 75% there! Amazing!
With SO MUCH love,
Aubrey and Matthew Herron
We completed our home study! A home study is a long process of working through heap loads of paperwork and interviews with a social worker and adoption agency in order to determine a couple's ability to parent a child. Now that the home study is complete, we can finally announce this journey with you!
We are officially only waiting for finances at this point. For the first round of payment, we will need about $13,000.00. This payment will help us to be able to submit our family profile book (Aubs already finished this) and go "live" in order for an expectant mama to match with us. Once we are in the waiting pool to be matched, anything can happen. We could be matched quickly-within months or it could take a year+. We expect the situation with COVID and also abortion clinics being closed down to increase the demand for adoptions in 2020.
We are choosing to do a newborn cross-cultural adoption, so we will most likely be matched with an expectant mama from a different ethnicity, race or culture. We also do not have a preference on gender. Usually, the fewer preferences we have on an adoptive child, the faster it happens. We have specifically chosen an agency with cross-cultural adoptions as the heart of their mission. An expectant mama will match with us behind the scenes, and we will come alongside that mother to support her and usher our child into this world. The whole process is wild and exciting! We can't wait to see what all happens. Thank you for following along with us!
-Aubs and Matthew
Aubrey: When I was 19 I found myself in a tiny little church in The Gambia, Africa. Before that moment, I would say that my life fit perfectly into the little box I had imagined for myself. I knew I wanted to fall in love later in my twenties, get married, and have a couple of babies so I could live my dream of being a mama. During the church sermon, the pastor was preaching in the countries’ local language, so I did not understand anything that he was saying. Thirty minutes into the sermon I found myself gazing onto a baby in the pew in front of me. For some reason during that moment, a random thought came to my mind which was…”Would I ever consider adoption?” In that same instant, the pastor that had not been speaking any English, clearly pronounced one verse in English that I did understand- John 14:18, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” I would say that was the first time in my life I really felt the Lord move me, and by move I mean shake me to my core and rattle the foundation that was my life. I also felt a certain comfort, like a promise that I would and could adopt. God assured me that day in the tiny, hot, church that He haq a plan for me, and He was in control of it.
That same summer I came home and fell in love with the boy next door....
We had been in touch for a year prior, but we lost touch when my dad got sick and I wanted to focus my priorities on family. A few coincidences and some not so subtle pushes from our moms later, we found ourselves on our first official date. I know it’s cliche and corny, but I knew on this date that we were going to spend our lives together. He completely stole my heart. I loved every piece of him, every inch of his wild, outgoing soul. On our first date he asked me to share some things that he did not know about me yet. Of course I talked about things like my favorite color, favorite ice cream, and that I wanted to go skydiving, but I also shared with him my heart and how I wanted to adopt.
Matthew: Our parents are neighbors so I had been trying to get her attention for months. Things finally worked out and we were able to get together for a date. After dinner, we went on a boat ride at sunset (I'm romantic, right?). She told me about the summer she had just had in Africa and about how she wanted to adopt someday. At the time, it seemed crazy to me, but it helped me start thinking about the process and also know more about Aubs' heart.
As we dated and would talk about our future family, Aubs would always say stuff about adopting. It was a constant discussion on if we saw ourselves adopting or having biological kids first. We reached out to a few agencies and started researching, and we were intimidated by the financial part of everything. We decided we would do it eventually. It took me awhile to come around to adoption in general, but after awhile, I could see it too. I knew our family would be a mixture of biological and adopted kids.
When we got married, I had a career change and switched to middle school teaching. Immediately, I could see the need for kids needing adopted here in the states. A lot of my kids had terrible home lives, and I could feel God pushing me in that direction. At the same time, a lot of countries were closing down their adoption programs. We reached out to a few agencies in the first few years of our marriage, but it didn't go anywhere and we didn't feel ready. Because the international programs were getting harder to do, Aubs and I agreed that when we would adopt, it would be domestic. We both really wanted our own kids first, because we knew adoption would be a hard thing to go through. We thought we would wait until we were older to go through that challenge, and we wanted to have all the money saved up. Little did we know.....
Aubrey: Matthew is everything that I could ever imagine a dad should be. His passions in life revolve around loving children well and helping them be the best version of themselves. He lives his life with this sort of freedom to be yourself and he invites people around him to share in that freedom, and to live in a way that allows oneself to be who God created them to be. He can make anyone laugh, and lives each day so entirely present in every moment.
It was clear to me that God gave me Matthew not only to share in marriage but also to share in eventual parenthood and all of the battles we would have to fight to be parents one day. Although we knew that adoption was going to be a part of our lives one day, I would say we generally ignored it for the first few years of our marriage. We really wanted our own biological children first (we also thought they would come easily), and we thought adoption would be many years down the road, so we almost immediately started trying for a baby when we got married. We kept it a secret for awhile, because we wanted to surprise our families. We would plan out every holiday on how we would tell them in fun ways. It never came.
Two years of trying later we were diagnosed with a really rare and shocking form of infertility. Getting that diagnosis, really only strengthened our desires to be parents. It’s a carnal desire, and every day it only grows stronger. We went through several months of trial drugs and tests and nothing improved, so we were told we really could only conceive with IVF. IVF costs a lot of money, and we found ourselves walking through a miscarriage and two rounds of failed IVF before we really stopped and said, "maybe this shouldn't be such a big focus in our lives, maybe this isn’t what He wants us to be doing right now."
We had to do a few months of praying and grieving. Full transparency- we ABSOLUTELY want to do IVF again someday, but it is so clear to us that God was closing doors for a reason. It didn't make sense, we were young (25 and 27) and responded really well to IVF treatment. It didn't make sense why nothing was working.
When we first started fertility treatments, our doctor said there were two buckets. One was financial, which can always somehow be replaced- and the other was an emotional bucket. When you are emotionally drained from trauma, continual bad news and sad experiences, it's hard to want to continue on. After our second failed transfer, we noticed how drained our emotional bucket was. Also physically, I wanted my body back. My life had been subject to medication and treatment schedules for months. I had been on fertility drugs for almost a full year. It was grueling on my body. (TMI- but my caboose is still sore from giving myself shots twice a day for weeks on end.) We needed a break in every way.
After we spent some time processing and leaning into God's presence, we felt the quiet push to turn our hearts to adoption again. We started researching domestic newborn adoption and everything sort of fell into place! We connected with an agency and flew through our home study. We can't wait to share more about the adoption details as things progress!
Matthew: When we came to a certain point with IVF, I could see Aubs hesitate to keep going. She needed a break. I could tell she needed to have hope in something else. She always had half of her heart set on adoption anyways, so I could tell she needed reassurance that it was okay to stop trying with IVF and focus on another dream for now. She likes to achieve and she is extremely competitive. So I think to not easily succeed at IVF, was crushing for her.
IVF was overall just hard. It was really really hard on her and I both, but I hated seeing her go through the pain everyday. I hated having to give her all of those shots. I hated watching her try not to blame herself when we lost our son, Shiloh. At that point, we would do anything for a child, and even though it didn't line up with our original plan, I could see what God was doing.
I know you might be questioning why we don't just keep trying with IVF as many people eventually do bring home a kid. There isn't really a great way to describe it other than it's what God wants us to do right now. Right now we are supposed to be right here. We are supposed to be adopting. There is a kid out there waiting for us. There is a reason that God has laid adoption on our hearts for years. Heck Aubs even has a tattoo dedicated to our future adoptive child that she has had for years. It's going to be a wild ride, and we are excited to see it all play out.
Aubs and Matthew
Written by Aubrey and Matthew Herron