David and Marley know what it’s like to put their faith in something outside of their control. Just eight months before their wedding, David was diagnosed with Leukemia.
Despite cancer, and the devastating effects of chemotherapy, they had hope. In November of 2017, they were married. One month after that, David was in remission.
They enjoyed life as newlyweds. But in the back of their minds, they always thought about starting a family. They knew having biological children would be unlikely after chemo.
Infant Adoption with Joining Hearts
In January 2019 they took the first step toward infant adoption and attended a Joining Hearts information session. Joining Hearts offers comprehensive infant adoption services to Arizona families who wish to build their family through adoption. In some cases, birth mothers who have decided to place their child for adoption are presented with couples who are certified to adopt and waiting for a child. The birth mother is then able to choose where the baby will be placed.
After attending the information session, Marley was immediately ready to start the process. David wasn’t sure if the time was right. He said he would pray about it. The next morning during his Bible reading, he read:
When the fullness of time had come, God sent His son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption. As proof that you are children, God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts crying out, 'Abba, Father!' So you are no longer a slave, but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God...'Rejoice, you barren one who bore no children; break forth and shout, you who were not in labor; for more numerous are the children of the deserted one than of her who has a husband.'" - Galatians 4:4-7, 27
As people of faith, they knew God was directing their steps.
The adoption process was long and daunting for them. It involved paperwork, classes, a home study and more. David and Marley were officially certified to adopt in October 2019. They celebrated with a trip to Disneyland. Then they waited.
Uncertainties of Adoption
Near Christmas 2019 they received a call. There was a birth mother considering adoption. The birth mother decided to parent the child. Marley and David were sad that they wouldn’t be parents yet, but happy for the birth mother who would raise her child.
A few months later, near Valentine’s Day 2020, they got another call. They were being considered for placement of a baby. They got excited, began to prepare for a baby, then were devastated as they learned they were not chosen.
The emotional toll was crushing. They longed to be parents, but knew it was completely out of their control. All they could do was wait, and hope, and trust that God had a plan for them.
One Sunday in mid-March, David and Marley were at Mass and Marley was praying about adoption. She felt something, something she couldn’t understand. Later that day while they were making dinner they got a call from Joining Hearts. There was a placement opportunity for a baby girl who had already been born.
Getting the Call
Marley and David thought back to all of the previous calls, all the heart break and disappointment. This call felt different. They listened intently as they were provided information surrounding the pregnancy and birth. They were asked to take some time to consider all the information provided, and then call back with a decision. David and Marley didn’t really need to think about it. They knew in their hearts this was their daughter, the one God had intended for them. Less than an hour later they enthusiastically called back to say “yes!” At that time, they were told the birth mother was planning to sign the paperwork on Tuesday, and as soon as she did, they could meet their daughter.
Over the next two days, David and Marley cleaned the house top to bottom, shopped for everything they would need for a newborn, and prepared for their daughter. Understandably, they were still a bit nervous to tell friends and family. What if something happened and they weren’t chosen after all?
During the three-hour drive to the hospital in northern Arizona, they were uncharacteristically silent. They didn’t talk the whole way.
Meeting their Daughter
They arrived at the hospital but weren’t expecting security and COVID-19 precautions. It was still in the first few days of the pandemic. They walked in and said, “We are here to get our daughter.” The nurses erupted in excitement!
Marley and David met the Joining Hearts team in the cafeteria to sign papers. Then finally, the moment they had been hoping for had come, they went to the nursery to meet their daughter.
Their eyes met a nurse, smiling and holding a baby. Marley asked, “Is that her?”
It was! It was their baby girl!
Becoming a Forever Family
The baby was placed in a bassinet and wheeled into a room to meet her parents. Marley held her for the first time. Someone asked, “do we have a name?”
David and Marley looked at each other, then they looked at their daughter, they had been undecided but knew in an instant. David replied, “Her name is Amelia.”
The longing, the heartache, and the joyful anticipation had all been worth it. They were a family.
Amelia was not able to leave the hospital just yet. Her doctors were concerned because she hadn’t accepted any attempts to take her bottle. Marley and David would need to stay at the hospital with her. They didn’t know how long she would stay in the hospital.
Marley held Amelia and offered her a bottle. Surprisingly, Amelia began drinking her formula without hesitation. Everyone was pleasantly surprised. A nurse said, “Awe, she was waiting for her mom and dad!”
The next day, Amelia was released and went home with her mom and dad.
Because of the pandemic, both Marley and David were able to work from home and be there for Amelia. They got to witness every beautiful milestone together.
In November 2020, Amelia’s adoption was finalized.
To learn more about infant adoption, contact the Joining Hearts team.