Many parents who longed to complete their family with a daughter or a son have done so through the special blessing of adoption. After all, at-home gender selection methods may not really increase your chances of conceiving the desired gender; and high tech methods can drain your savings with no promise of a pregnancy. Think about adoption - it might be the answer you're looking for. It was for this mom of 3 sons, who shares her story of here.
To Find Karina
By Amanda Neumann
It was another negative pregnancy test. This was my twelfth failed attempt and I cried in frustration. My husband on the other hand looked at it as one more stay of execution. He had been through three pregnancies with me before and he knew what came with a positive test. Mood swings, nausea, heartburn and then, of course, his six-week death sentence after the birth, followed by leaky breasts and an exhausted wife. Needless to say he wasn’t thrilled with the idea of another pregnancy and frankly, neither was I.
So, why was I so anxious to have another baby? Well, the answer was simple. There was something missing in my house. Actually there were lots of things missing. There were no dolls, no kitchen sets, no barrettes or hair bows. No girls!! I was outnumbered four to one and it was lonely. Now I know, there are lots of women out there who have all boys and love it. They embrace the trucks and the Power Rangers and never look back. I was not one of those women. And even though I loved those three boys with every breath of my body, I longed for a daughter.
So there I was, every month, doing my best to sway the odds. I found a website where there were other women like me and we shared any and all information on what worked and didn’t work when trying to coax that elusive XX sperm into our waiting eggs. We timed intercourse several different ways, changed our diets, and took certain vitamins, called upon every gender prediction calendar that we could find. And if that weren’t enough, we even tortured our husbands with hot baths, tight briefs and our stinky vinegar douches. Some women got the results they wanted, while others were blessed with their second, third or even fourth boy. Month after month, most of my Internet friends became pregnant, had their ultrasounds and gave birth while I kept plugging along, trying every new idea that crossed my path.
Ironically, getting pregnant for me in the past had never been a problem. A month or two of fun and Voila, the blue line showed up on the stick and I was on my way. I gave birth to my first son in 1996 and the day he was born was without a doubt the most amazing and joyous day of my life. That little boy made me a mommy, which was something that I had wanted to be my whole life. Growing up in a house full of sisters, I knew nothing about boys. But I quickly learned. I became an expert at changing his diapers without getting nailed (people with boys know what I’m talking about), I found out all I had ever wanted to know and more about front loaders, excavators, and dump trucks. I discovered that baby boys are able to tug and pull as hard as they want to on their packages (much to the horror of their fathers) without hurting themselves. But most of all, I learned that boys love their mommies with a fierceness and protectiveness that blesses me every day.
So boy number two showed up in 1998 and then boy number three in 2000. With the arrival of my third son I soon realized that my chances of ever having a daughter were slim to none. My husband and I had agreed around our fifth date that four children was our absolute maximum and that meant that I had one chance left. Oh, the pressure!! So what had begun as an easy task of making babies soon transformed into intense anxiety and fear. What if I did get pregnant and it was another boy? How would my son feel knowing that he was supposed to be a girl instead of one more boy? What would my life be like without ever having the chance to raise a little girl? Who would attend the Mother Daughter Tea at church with me? The thought of never getting to plan a daughter’s wedding, help pick out her wedding dress or have my husband walk her down the aisle was such an overwhelmingly sad thought for me that I became consumed with the sorrowful thoughts that plagued my brain.
Looking back on it now, I realize that it was no wonder that I was unable to conceive. I was so uptight and nervous the whole time and worrying about it every moment. I was constantly taking my temperature and planning my next move. Each disappointing month that went by created a higher and higher anxiety level until it grew out of control. Every time I saw a mom with three boys and a girl my hopes would soar and then I would see a mom with four boys and they would be dashed. Buying birthday presents for my nieces was an unbearable chore and watching my sisters-in-law braid their daughters’ hair would send me into another room with tears streaming down my face.
After all of those months of torture, I finally broke. I couldn’t do it anymore. The day after yet one more negative pregnancy test, I sat with my husband at a Mexican restaurant and started sobbing into my tortilla. More than anything, I wanted a little girl and I was completely heartbroken at the thought of never having my dream come true. It was at that moment, my husband tells the tale, that he realized how important having a daughter was to me and in trying to comfort me told if that if the next one was a boy that we could try for a fifth. A fifth!! The perfect answer!! Wait a minute. My brain started spinning. What if the fifth one was a boy? Then where would I be? The total lack of control that I had over the whole issue was exhausting. It was hopeless. I wanted a guarantee, 100% money back and I wasn’t going to get it.
It was then that a small light bulb flickered on in my brain. The more I thought about it the more it seemed like the perfect answer. I nervously approached my husband with the idea of IF the next one WAS a boy then maybe we could consider adoption for the fifth. With my sanity in mind, he cautiously agreed and we merrily drove away from the Mexican restaurant inspired with a new plan.
Well, the next month came and went again with no baby and even more than that came the thoughts of life with five children. Was that what I really wanted? Did I even want to take the chance that I could go through all of the trouble of pregnancy and birth only to decide to adopt another baby? Why not just cut out the middleman, so to speak, and get straight to the adopting part. Apparently my husband had been thinking the same thing because a few weeks later he approached me with that very same idea.
The more we thought about it, the more it made sense and the more I felt at peace. After all of the years of worry and wondering, my dream of a daughter could really come true with a 100% money back guarantee. And while it hurt to put away the idea of ever having a biological daughter who looked like me and had her father’s good sense, on a warm August afternoon, we officially made the decision to adopt. So, with a sigh of relief, I put away my thermometer and pulled out the condoms.
We began our home study in September and decided on International Adoption as our chosen route. Domestic wasn’t practical considering we already had children of our own. We narrowed our countries down to China, Guatemala and Russia and then finally decided on Russia. The next few months were spent filling out tons of paperwork and convincing our families that we weren’t crazy. I began to pray for my little girl every night. I prayed for her health and safety. I dreamed about her and thought about her all of the time. Was she born yet? What did she look like? She began to feel very real to me and I even started venturing near the girls clothing section for the first time in six years without the huge knot in my throat.
Then came Thanksgiving. My period was due along with the turkey and only the turkey showed up. That’s right, I was pregnant. To this day I don’t know how it happened. Of course, I know how it happened, but we had been careful with our newly purchased condoms. We had also been nice and relaxed now that the pressure was off, to which I’m told, goes a long way to making a baby.
So there I was, pregnant and halfway to adopting a baby on the other side of the world. What a dilemma! I had never been so happy and so sad at the same time before in my life. Finally, I had the baby that I had wanted for so long and I was so happy. But in the back of my mind was still that question. Was it a boy or a girl? The thought plagued me once again like I knew it would. Then there was the other baby that I had grown to love so much in the few short months that I had been thinking about her? How could I walk away from her? Yet, how could I be pregnant with one and fly across the globe to bring a second one home and have two babies at once? It was a really tough time for my husband and me, because we knew that we could not have a new baby and go through with the adoption at the same time. We sadly decided to forgo the adoption.
Then I sadly miscarried my sweet little one at 7 weeks. I was completely heartbroken. I had never miscarried before and the experience was one that I would never want to relive. But that little angel blessed me in so many ways and taught me so much during its short little lifetime. I loved that baby so much and I knew in my heart that it didn’t matter whether it was a boy or a girl. But after I lost the baby, I also discovered once and for all, that I had most definitely made the right decision about adoption. I did have a daughter out there and I loved her more than I could say. To know that I was able to continue on with the adoption process was such a wonderful feeling and we picked up right where we had left off. I had a renewed spirit and a determined heart. My daughter was waiting for me and I’ll had had to do was go out there and get her.
Christmas came and went with thoughts of our daughter and then in late January, I got the call that turned my world upside down. A 5-month-old baby girl in a Russian orphanage needed me to be her mommy. My husband and I jumped on a plane a week later and met our beautiful daughter for the first time. As they placed that tiny little girl with the big blue eyes on my lap everything clicked into place and was perfect. She was everything I had hoped she would be.
My dream had finally come true and I had a daughter to call my own. We named her Karina Nicole and officially adopted her into our family forever on April 16, 2003. The whole process took less time than a pregnancy and didn’t leave one stretch mark or an episiotomy scar.
Karina, age 5 months, in the Russian orphanage
So now, my little Karina has been home with us where she belongs for about eight months and we are having the time of our lives. My boys adore her and pretend that she is their Princess Leia. My husband has a sweet little girl who calls him daddy and has him wrapped around her little finger. And as for me, now I have Barbie, Strawberry Shortcake and Tinker bell all living in my house and life couldn’t be sweeter.
Happy 2nd Birthday, Karina!