A decision to adopt
A decision to adopt - my friends' courageous journey
Thanks for reading A decision to adopt - my friends' courageous journey. Telling their story is an intensely personal thing, and I have the utmost love and respect for them for sharing it with me and for allowing me to share it with you. I'm sure you'll end up loving Anne and Eric as much as I do after hearing their heartbreaking story about trying to start their own family. I've been privileged to know these two people for over 20 years now - and, two people more in love might not exist.
Anne and Eric met when they were both very young, and the decision to marry came quickly. I remember thinking that they were too young to take the plunge. Little did I realize that they had a true love affair. A love affair similar to the one Anne's parents have experienced for over 30 years. A love affair my own parents experienced for over 65 years. A love affair that I'm lucky enough to have found late in my own life. A love affair that others may only dream about.
Please join me as I delve more deeply into the story about Anne and Eric coming to a decision to adopt a child. After many years of trying to conceive and the loss of three children, it's a decision that can become a reality with our help - introducing LittleOne Sweets, Anne and Eric's new baking business designed to raise funds to pay for the adoption.
Update July 2013: Anne and Eric just were awarded the NZMG Foundation Award Grant to aid them in affording an adoption. One step closer! Way to go, Anne and Eric!
All proceeds from this Squidoo article will be donated to Anne and Eric's baking business - LittleOne Sweets
Some good books on adoption on Amazon.com
Although I chose not to have children, I can still empathize with those yearning for a family of their own - those like Anne and Eric. The below books about adoption are all good reads and recommended for anyone considering adoption.
Note: I know it's not even close to the same but I have 5 adopted rescue dogs. These dogs, while not children, were all homeless and down on their luck. I've long realize how grateful adopted dogs are and can only image how rewarding adopting a child can be.
Anne and Eric's road to adoption
Some background on a dynamic couple
As way of background, Anne was diagnosed at age 4 with Wilm's tumor, the most frequent cancer that affects children. Her cancer was detected at stage 3B which is fairly advanced. Anne had her left kidney removed, and underwent 18 months of chemotherapy and a month of radiation to rid the cancer. Thankfully, she remains cancer free to this day.
Fast forward to Anne and Eric
Anne and Eric were married in 1996, when Eric was in the Marine Corps. As a young couple, they dreamed of starting a family and immediately set out to do just that. But, fate was not on their side...Eric was deployed overseas several times, creating long periods of time when the newlyweds were away from each other.
Three years later, in 1999, Eric was transferred to VA, and the word was he would not be deployed from there. But by 2001, conception was still out of their reach, so they started in on their quest to seek answer about why Anne was not conceiving - Anne was concerned that her childhood cancer was preventing a pregnancy. After many appointments with fertility experts, it was determined that there was no reason she couldn't conceive or carry a child. A large sigh of relief followed but, then again, nothing was happening still...
So, after undergoing further testing, it was found that Eric had a very low sperm count; a situation referred to as 'severe male factor'. Sadly, as much as Anne and Eric wanted a family, the odds were stacked against them conceiving naturally. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) with Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) was their only choice for starting their own family. And, it was a very expensive choice.
I consider this Squidoo article the most important I've ever written. But, I have one other article that is now second most important. Please come read my article When death looms - the signs and symptoms of the last moment on earth.
IVF may lead to pregancy for some... - ...but not all
Depending on the infertility reasons, IVF may not be an answer to the dream of starting a family. But, the below books on Amazon may give you more information about this very expensive procedure.
More on the journey to the decision to adopt
Anne and Eric's epic continues
After Anne and Eric delved deeper into the costs involved with the procedures and medications necessary for a chance at a viable pregnancy, they felt that their dream of having a child would never come to fruition. Disheartened and feeling that they would never be able to afford IVF, they set aside the dream of having their own family for several years.
At the end of 2008 Eric was offered a temporary overseas position with his company. After much discussion about the risks involved, Eric accepted the position mostly because the additional pay would help fund the nest egg for a try at IVF. So, in January 2009 Eric went to work in Kuwait while Anne stayed in New Bern, living apart for 8 long months in the hopes of being in a better financial position to achieve their goal of having a child. Now, if you ask me, this was dedication to a cause. The fact that they put their own lives on hold to work towards attaining their dream of a family of their own tells me that these are the qualities that make wonderful parents. If anyone deserved a child, this couple did.
Thankfully, Eric returned unscathed from his overseas duty, and in April 2010, Anne started hormone injections to prepare her body for an egg retrieval and, fingers crossed, an embryo transfer. Shortly thereafter, two gorgeous, 8-cell embryos which the cytologist deemed perfect were transferred to her womb.
After celebrating a positive pregnancy test two weeks later, it looked like the tide had turned. The dream was about to be realized! And, the dream got even better when the first ultrasound revealed that twins were anticipated. However, after carrying the twins for 16 weeks to the day, Anne experienced some bleeding and landed in the ER where it was found that the fluid surrounding Baby A was decreasing - a dire situation at best. Just two days later, Baby A had passed away and their hopes for a family shifted to Baby B.
It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons. ~Johann Schiller
Information on miscarriage
Couples who suffer a miscarriage are frequently not given the support we'd give to parents who lost a child. A loss is a loss, regardless of if it's a miscarriage, stillborn or the death of a child.
The hopes for a family of their own dwindles
During Anne's ER visit, a UTI was diagnosed, but it wasn't just a UTI; the UTI was affecting her one remaining kidney. And, devastating news was received the next morning when Anne miscarried both of their beautiful twin boys, Byron and James. Anne and Eric were not only in shock, but their dream of a family seemed even farther away.
After a period of emotional and physical recovery, and with the financial help of Anne's parents and a personal loan, another try at IVF was performed in February 2011. And, two weeks later, right on their 16th wedding anniversary, the news came that Anne was pregnant again. This time, the pregnancy was going along like clock-work; right by the book - they were thrilled!
A sigh of relief was issued from husband and wife as they passed the 16 week mark - 1 week past when they had lost dear Byron and James. A nursery was prepared, and newborn clothes were purchased with anticipation of bringing baby Mason home one day.
And then, again, devastation and more heartbreak loomed.
At 21 weeks 5 days Anne's water broke. She was immediately rushed to the hospital where they were told that baby Mason was still doing well and, with extensive bed rest, the fluid around the baby should replenish. Regardless, preparations were put in place for a premature birth.
After just three days of bed rest, the tide went out again along with their hopes and dreams - Anne and Eric learned that Mason's umbilical cord had prolapsed, and baby Mason was gone - he had joined his siblings Byron and James in Heaven. Anne and Eric decided to induce labor, and Anne delivered a gorgeous stillborn baby in the early hours of Saturday July 9th. Pictures were taken, they told him they loved him and would never forget him, and goodbyes were said. The extent of their grief cannot be put down in words - it was bone numbing, and continues to be to this day.
Fast forward a few months...
Time heals all wounds so the saying goes. Soon Anne and Eric found (and continue to find) ways to deal with the numbness of losing their child. Their grief exists to this day but, as their strength grows, they've learned to deal with the loss the best way they can. And, the incredible urge to be parents never died. There are still some good days and some bad days - days when Anne and Eric's pain is visible on Facebook as their friends and family follow their story.
Eventually, the question was raised: could they risk another loss of a baby? A tough decision for sure and a courageous decision was made to forgo any further IVF and turn their hopes to adoption. And, that's where they are today.
But, similar to IVF, adoption is a very expensive process; a real shame considering the amount of homeless and unwanted children in the world. The end result was that Anne and Eric still had to raise funds for an adoption. What could they do to raise the $40 or $50 thousand dollars needed? A plan was hatched...
Enter LittleOne Sweets
It's been well known amongst Anne and Eric's circle of friends and family that they love to bake and give away their homemade creations. My 95 year old Mom and I were the happy recipients of 3 different types of truffles earlier this year when the couple dropped in for a night. And, can I just say that the Oreo Truffles they make are amongst the easiest and best cookies on earth?
So, on November 7, 2011, Anne and Eric decided to start their own baking business and LittleOne Sweets was begun. Anne and Eric have a unique marketing plan for their new business - instead of setting prices for their homemade baked goods, they only ask for donations. Whatever you wish to pay, you'll receive your order right in the mail or, if you're lucky enough to live by New Bern, NC, you might get a personal delivery.
To date, Anne and Eric have made delicacies such as cakes, cupcakes, cheesecake, pumpkins rolls, fudge, cookies and the list goes on and on.
The cake in the picture is their very first character cake. You can see by the quality that they've found their niche. Please come friend LittleOne Sweets on Facebook or visit their website (in the process of building) at LittleOne Sweets.
Here's your chance to have your say - A poll for my readers
I'm always curious as to if I get through to my readers. Anyone may answer this poll - you don't have to be a Squidoo member to vote.
Will you order goodies from LittleOne Sweets? BTW, the picture is of 4 layer German Chocolate Cakes...did I tempt you?
The rose cake
This is one of my favorite treats made by LittleOneSweets! The inside is chocolate and vanilla cake with icing in the form of roses. Just beautiful for any occasion.
Pictures from LittleOne Sweets - Click any picture to enlarge and see the descriptionClick thumbnail to view full-size
Please leave me any comments you may have about this article. Every comment is mulled over thoroughly! And, with your support of LittleOne Sweets, we all hope that Anne and Eric's long held dream of parenthood will one day become a reality.