Dec 15, 2017

Say Yes and You'll Figure it out Later - From Infertility to Adoption, Please Meet Mary Beth

Saying NO MORE to fertility treatments and closing the door to children sparked this overwhelming need to push different alternatives to the spotlight. I have a voice and I am stubborn as Hell, so why not use those gifts to bring awareness? 

I am a firm believer that the term FAMILY comes in all different shapes and sizes, and I will continue to speak out about those topics that I am passionate about.

That being said, I wanted to introduce you to a dear friend of mine, Mary Beth. I met this fabulous woman and her family about a year ago as they eagerly awaited the arrival of Jude, their fourth adopted baby. She graciously said yes to sharing her story on this blog, and I urge you to read her interview from top to bottom.

So grab some coffee (or a cocktail) and settle in. You're gonna want to read this until the very end.

Without further ado.....Please meet Mary Beth!

Q: I only gather the cream of the crop to add to my tribe of friends. Please share what makes you and your hubby so awesome?!

A: It is an absolute honor to be featured on Forever Orchard. I am a faithful reader, fellow infertile, and have found a lot of comfort in this tribe of women who just understand. Josh and I have been married almost 8 years and have five sweet babies.

Our family is built through adoption.

Adoption has always been a part of our ‘Plan A’. Although, we just assumed it would be a mix of genetics and adoptions. My body has always refused to hold my babies inside (thank you massive fibroid tumors) and along the way, we ran into a young girl who needed a family for her baby and we said YES instantly. The last 6 years has been a series of giant yeses that have built our family and changed my husband and I forever.

Q: Where did you meet? Was it love at first sight? Spill your love story...

A: We met on eHarmony, even though we have lied for YEARS, telling people we met on a blind date. We were matched on March 9, 2009 and started talking via emails and phone calls until we officially went on our first date on March 20th.

I LOVED him instantly.

I had absolutely no chill about that (even though I thought I was trying) so much so that his sister named me bee’s knees because she said I thought he was the bee’s knees. Truth - I still do. He is one of my favorite humans ever and I can’t get enough of him.
On our very first date, I told him that birthing babies was likely not in my future and I asked him grilled him about his views on adoption. He was all in and I adored him for that. I can be an intense person (clearly, if I was casually mentioning my infertility on our first date), but he seemed to be able to roll with it and loved me for it.
We had the most intensely passionate dating relationship. It was an absolute whirlwind and 7 months later he dropped to his knee and asked me to marry him. In true Mary Beth form, I grabbed the ring out of his hand and shoved it on my finger never even acknowledging his question. I wanted to be his wife, end of story. We basically ran to the altar and got married one day before our 1 year dating anniversary on March 19, 2010.  

Q: Did you always want to be a mom? Or did something spark this epiphany?

A: I was the little girl who would snap her bike helmet around her waist and pull her shirt down over it to see what I would look like pregnant. I wanted babies. ALL THE BABIES.

So let the baby making begin! Once we were married I threw all my energy into figuring out how to make my body work. I ordered all the books, interviewed a dozen doctors, and tracked my temperature/ovulation like a pro. At that point, I had about a dozen major surgeries already to remove massive fibroid tumors.

I wanted to be a mom so badly that I literally fantasized about finding a baby on the side of the road.

Every single day that my arms were empty felt like another nail in the coffin of my infertility.  After our first miscarriage, I started seeing an infertility specialist I trusted and just knew would be the answer to our problems.  

Q: Trying to become a mom isn't always easy. Please share some of the hurdles you overcame prior to considering adoption.

A: As mentioned before, I had several surgeries leading up to trying to start a family that led us to believe this would be difficult. Each of my children’s births and adoptions were also marked with more battling to keep my reproductive organs intact while also building my family through adoption.

I would endure a round of IVF and adopt a baby, rinse and repeat...I think I always knew in my heart pregnancy wasn’t going to happen for me, but I had to do everything in my power to say “we tried” and “I can live with myself knowing I did my best.”

But it was absolute bullshit. I hated every minute of IVF and the emotional rollercoaster that it was. I was an angry, sweaty, fatter-by-the-minute, hot mess. I found myself getting more and more frustrated with my life and my people, and I knew it was time to stop.
But, because I am not a quitter, I plowed ahead until my doctor scheduled an appointment with me and had me meet him in his office...but this time was different.  It wasn’t in one of the normal exam or ultrasound rooms. I walked back to his office like it was a death march.
It was.
With tears in his eyes, he told us that we had reached our limit and that he would be considered a bad doctor to keep taking our money with absolutely no hope that any of our perfect little embryos would stick. He was so kind. 
If I’m being perfectly honest, I was relieved. No more needles. No more 6 am appointments. Stick a fork in me, I am DONE. I cried for a straight 24 hours, but it was a mixed bag of grief and relief. 

It was the permission I needed to be done stabbing myself for something I knew in my heart wasn’t meant to be, while at the same time the invitation to freely love my life again and the beautiful babies I already had in my arms. 

I was given permission to unleash a whole new version of ME that I had never really had to give because I was always living in the vortex of trying to conceive.

Within a few months, the bleeding was so severe that I scheduled a hysterectomy and forever closed the door to giving birth. I felt the same sense of grief and relief when I woke up from my 5 hour surgery. The insanity was officially over.

Q: Did you always know you would end up adopting? Please tell us the highs and lows in choosing this path.

A: I have two adopted brothers so I have literally always known this would be a part of my future. I felt urgently that I had to be a part of the solution to children who needed a home and a loving mom. I am so thankful now that God gave me that passion because I am well aware that without it I wouldn’t have ever been a mother.
The road to adoption is so similar to infertility treatments.

So much is out of your control.

You have no idea what will happen. But you also know in your gut that if you can just muster up the courage to see it through, it will be the biggest blessing in your whole life.

I would be lying if I didn’t admit that it hurts so deeply that I didn’t get to know my children inside of me or feel them moving for the first time. There will always be a sense of loss for me around that even though I wouldn’t trade my kids for anything. I missed a lot of firsts with them.  They all came to us as newborns, but there are a lot of firsts adoptive parents just don’t get to experience.
One of the greatest joys to me, though, is that these little ones are exactly who God made for me. I know without a doubt that this was meant to be and that I was always and forever meant to be these children's mother.
That is so incredible that I get chills up and down my spine when I think about it.
Love makes a family and I believe that down to my toes.

Q: Would you please share your biggest joys about each of your children?

A: Hannah is almost 6 and is an absolute delight. She has a silly sense of humor and is smart as a whip. She loves to draw, bake, and play with her siblings. She is gentle, sweet and so caring. She loves ballet and singing along to Hamilton (which she begs me to take her to see every single day).

Eden is 3.5 and is SO. STRONG. WILLED. She is spicy and sassy and SO beautiful, it’s dangerous. She loves playing with dolls and is our little foodie who regularly eats what we are having, instead of the kid food that you would assume she’d want. She loves animals more than humans and can often be found outside in the yard with her puppy, Abbey. She is currently in ballet, but will for sure move on to hip hop as she can shake it like nobody's business.
She is the kind of kid who looks me up and down, head to toe, and says, “I can take you.”
And she can.

Gabriel is our adopted son who passed away at 34 weeks in utero. He was perfect and I cannot believe I don’t have him here with me. I got to hold him and name him and talk to him for about an hour after he was born and he has been with me every single second since then.

He is my gentle feather and I know without a doubt he watches over us and knows how much we loved him and wanted him.

I never imagined after all the loss we suffered, that we would ever bury a child. His life has profoundly changed me and he will always be my boy I cannot wait to meet again.

Jude is 9 months old and he is a total rainbow after the storm. He is easy going, silly and loves to laugh. He loves food and his sisters and crawls around like he owns the place (HE DOES). He is bright eyed, charismatic and he has brought us such immeasurable joy we cannot imagine life without him.

AND  BABY GIRL is coming in January!  

Q: You and Josh are seasoned veterans at this point, eagerly awaiting your 5th earth-side arrival early 2018. Please tell us how this last one came about and did anything throw you for a loop?

A: OH mylanta. The party don’t stop at our house!

A few months ago, Josh and I were having a hypothetical conversation about what we would do if any of our kids’ biological mothers had a baby and asked us to consider adopting a sibling. Anyone who would ask us about our family having more kids would get the standard answer,

“We are done pursuing adoption, but if God dropped a situation in our laps, we would never say no.”

I think we were both secretly hoping that the train didn’t stop at the three living kids we had to hold and love, but we knew we were also a pair of lucky jerks who were living out a dream come true.

We ended the hypothetical conversation by saying, “HELL YEAH we would never say no to that!”
Right along par with our love for the unexpected plot twist, that very situation presented itself the next day.
Jude’s birth mom was expecting and wanted to know if we would consider adopting his biological sister. Duh. Without an extra penny to our names and no real idea of just how we would make this happen, we said yes and have never looked back.

To quote Tina Fey, just “say yes and you’ll figure it out later” which is exactly what we are doing.

Q: Adoption, like fertility treatments, is both mentally and financially draining. How have you coped and how has the community gotten involved?

A: Mentally, we are still a mess. HA!
We are still wrapping our brains around having babies that are 10 months apart. It’s like twins, but one is almost walking….so we are pretty much just getting really comfortable with the idea that we may never sit down for the next 5 years. But we are honestly and truly so profoundly honored that we get to parent another little one, and the joy that I know she will bring our family moves me to tears.
I don’t know that I will ever be able to just pop into Costco again, but who cares?!
I get to have another baby!

Financially, it has been a hit for sure. Adoption is extremely expensive, much like infertility treatments, and there aren’t punch cards for being frequent flyers. Our friends and family have rallied around us in ways I never even imagined, donating to our tax deductible foundation and finding ways to take what they have and turning it into so much more for our family.

It has blown our minds that people are so behind us that they will sacrifice to help bring this little girl home.

Q: As a former infertility warrior, backed by a tribe of like-minded women, how can we help your cause?

A: Bottom line for me, your thoughts and prayers mean more to me than anything. This is one of the biggest tests for me emotionally and physically and I just want to do it with grace. I don’t for one second take it for granted that after all my pain and struggles, I still get the title of MOM and I want to honor that by being the best I can be.

When we were waiting for our Jude after losing Gabriel, I bought a candle at the dollar store to light for Saint Jude. He is the Patron Saint of Lost Causes. We had picked out the name forever ago, but something about the way that St. Jude looked on that candle brought me hope and sparked some real joy in me for the first time in a long time. I would light that candle anytime I was feeling discouraged or sad as I waited for my living son. When Jude was born, I felt the pieces of my heart start to mend and I started to feel wholeness again after enduring so much loss.

I know many of you are in the same boat. Our stories don’t share the same details, but they do share the same sentiment. We have worked our asses off for something we never imagined could or should be this hard.

After sharing this with a friend, Etsy shop owner of Leland’s Corner, she created a bracelet in honor of all of our lost causes.

This bracelet is a reminder not to give up on yourself or your dreams.

They matter and sometimes we just need a reminder to keep our eye on the prize as we endure through the pain.

You can buy the St. Jude (oil diffusing) Bracelet and 100% of the sale will go directly to our adoption fund.
Buy a bracelet for yourself or a friend who needs that reminder and know that you are helping baby girl come home as well.

I'm not crying...YOU'RE CRYING.
You guys. Isn't she amazing!?

My bracelet is in the mail and I cannot wait to wear it proudly and witness this new addition to Mary Beth's home in the coming months!!

Thank you, my lovely readers, for continuing to support this blog and share my voice.

And THANK YOU, Mary Beth, for posting such a raw, emotional, and BEAUTIFUL story.
You are loved beyond belief. XO


  1. This is so flipping awesome. She is one of my favorite people in the entire earth. Love this, great job girls!!!!

  2. So Crying right now!!! Beautiful family and such a heart-warming story! Thanks Tia.

  3. What a beautiful, raw story! Mary Beth has blessed children's lives in numerous ways. She has a beautiful family.