Wednesday, December 5, 2012

in her own words: a breastfeeding adoptive mama shares her story

I've known Elizabeth and Scott for several years. I remember when I first met Elizabeth at an adoption event. Her passion for adoption and motherhood were evident within moments. I was thrilled when they chose me to be their consultant and I had the privilege of seeing firsthand the amazing ways God would work in their adoption story by bringing Abraham to their family, their steadfast love for Abraham's birth family, and Elizabeth's commitment to breastfeeding their new son. Here's just a piece of their story.  For more of their amazing journey and crazy life, visit Elizabeth's blog, Finding Mercy.

I’m a stay-at-home mom of Evelyn, Annabelle, and Abraham, and wife to Scott. And while our little family draws a good amount of attention and awkward questions when out in public, my days are mostly filled with making snacks, changing diapers, and trying to not drown in the crazy that is life with a 4-year-old, 2-year-old, and 5 month old. 

Here we are.


God has written our family’s story.  It’s different than we planned, but it’s beautiful.

When I was 8 or 9 years old I met a family who had adopted a daughter from China. I remember listening to their story with awe and knowing that one day I would adopt a child. When Scott and I were dating and starting to talk about the future, he knew that choosing me meant choosing adoption.  It was still on my heart over a decade later. 

When it came time to add children to our family, we decided to start by having a biological child. We feel blessed that we were able to conceive and give birth to Evelyn and then almost two years later, Annie. I was also fortunate enough to be able to breastfeed both of them exclusively for their first 6 months of life and then both continue nursing until they were almost 2. It was important for me not only for their nutrition, but it was part of how I wanted to parent. I wanted to that intimate relationship of being able to soothe, comfort, and feed them from my own body the way God designed.

We decided shortly after Annie was born to begin pursuing adoption. We started the process to adopt from Ethiopia at the beginning of March. Three days after we signed on with our agency, the Ethiopian adoption program began to implode. If you've followed international adoption much in the last couple years, you know exactly what I’m referring to. The Ethiopian system grew too fast for itself and so the government slowed it down to almost a snail’s pace so that they could weed out the corruption that was coming to characterize adoption there. We were shell shocked. The timeline we had been given now meant nothing. No one knew if Ethiopia was going to completely close to adoption or what would happen. We tried to stay positive and keep moving forward, but we continually felt that it was not where we belonged.

After several people being brought into our lives and speaking to us in different ways (including Susan), we decided to switch to domestic adoption. Specifically, we wanted to adopt an African American infant. 

After completing our home study, we went active with our agencies at the start of the year. With the help of Susan and Christian Adoption Consultants, we were matched with Abraham’s birthmom at the beginning of May, and Abraham was born mid-June. 


Our story was unique though. I had decided that just as nursing was important for me with the girls, it was important to me for Abraham. I knew it would be a lot of work, but I decided to give it a try. Thankfully, Annie was still nursing when we were matched with Abraham’s birthmom.  On top of the nursing she was still doing, I started pumping nightly a year before Abraham was born. When we went active with our agencies, I started pumping in the morning as well. Then, when were matched, I added in several more pumping sessions a day as well as taking an herbal blend to help promote lactation. 

I spoke with Abraham’s birthmom about my plan prior to his birth. She was incredible about it and told me that I was welcome to feed him however I would like. So about an hour after his birth, we sat together in a rocking chair in the hospital nursery, and nursed for the first time.


We were the talk of the hospital nurses and social workers, but it was so worth it. So far he has been exclusively breastfed. There was one week when he hit a growth spurt and I couldn't keep up that we had to thaw some of those hundreds and hundreds of ounces I had pumped beforehand to give him in a bottle. It’s more than I thought my body would be able to do. Before he was born I said that I would just take it a month at a time and be thankful for every month that my body was able to keep up. I finally feel that we are at a point where I can say that we just may really be able to do this! I’m just now accepting of the idea that he may not ever need formula, something I never would have thought possible.


We have so much to be thankful for.  God has been infinitely gracious to our family and has provided in ways I never would have dreamed or thought possible. Adoption is so worth it.


Visit these links for more about Christian Adoption Consultants or Adoption Lactation Counseling Services or contact me for more information.

3 comments:

  1. Wow! Elizabeth this is amazing! I've been following your blog, and am SO inspired by this story:) thank you for sharing!!! love Katie

    ReplyDelete
  2. Tears in my eyes! I love hearing more of your perspective sis! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love that you made the effort to keep the milk coming for this new bundle of joy. Nursing is the best in every way, The connection, the perfect food. Now to feed him the rest of his growing up days with healthy, organic, non GMO food. Real food, not all that processed stuff. I was so good with what I feed my family till the teen years. I feel I could of insisted no junk in the house but the waffles and other non whole grain products did make it in the house.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...