I am soooooo excited to introduce my sweet and amazing friends, Kelsi and Andrew Messer. You have probably heard me say that the adoption world is small. Just how small, you ask? Kelsi and I met at a vendor event for our businesses and since “Adoption” is in the name of my activewear shop, we immediately struck up conversation. I’m so incredible thankful for the opportunity to have watched God open their hearts to adoption and they have been such an encouragement to Nick and myself!
Read their story below and make sure to follow Kelsi on social media to watch their beautiful story continue to unfold!!!
We’re Kelsi and Andrew Messer and we are so grateful for Beka and Nick inviting us to share our story. It hasn’t been an easy road, has been totally unexpected, and yet it’s been so beautiful. Romans 5:3-5 has been my favorite verse since I was in high school, and it’s been the best verse to guide us through this journey. “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Our story is one of suffering, but of hope and a constant reminder of just how much God loves us and the hope that rests in Him.
Andrew and I have been married for three years as of March, and after about a year of marriage we started trying to conceive (TTC). Month after month passed with negative pregnancy test after negative pregnancy test. We hit the six month mark of TTC frustrated but convinced it would just take some time and resting in the fact that God has the perfect baby for us, on his watch. When one year rolled around, we were officially deemed as being infertile and I dragged my feet in scheduling the appointment at the fertility clinic. In April of 2018, I was diagnosed with a unicornate uterus which means that I only have half of my uterus and only one fallopian tube and ovary attached as they should be. It’s the rarest uterine abnormality and my chances of conceiving and having a healthy pregnancy is slim to none. In June of 2018, I had a laparoscopic surgery, as a high percentage of women with UU also have endometriosis. Surely enough, I woke up to that diagnosis as well.
Andrew and I started infertility treatments in August of 2018 by taking Clomid. We both knew we were really only comfortable with going as far as intrauteruine insemination (IUI) and our hearts were only half in on the infertility treatment journey. When we started Clomid, I reacted so horribly that to us it was an easy sell to stop infertility treatments. Prior to all of this, we had talked about adoption. I’m a Young Living distributor, and fell into an incredible community and team called the Happy Oilers where foster care and adoption is totally normalized and encouraged. It was the first time in my life I had been immersed in and near adoption and in hindsight I am 100% confident God placed this community in our life to guide us on our path.
While we were in the wait of discerning God’s plan for us in how we would grow our family, I happened to be at a vendor event with Beka. My ears were piqued when I heard the name of her business: “Activewear for Adoption,” and we struck up a conversation. Beka invited me to the Hope Conference put on by Beauty Amidst the Ashes, and Andrew and I went with open (but terrified) hearts, as we felt God stirring and calling us to adopt and not pursue further treatment. I think deep down we knew that was His calling for us, but we were dragging our feet and unsure of His calling. The Hope Conference wrecked us and we put our yes on the table to adopt then and there. As of January 11, 2019 we have signed paperwork to adopt a baby through domestic infant adoption.
There are many types of adoption, and I often get questions as to why we chose domestic infant adoption. Here is a brief explanation as to our choice: We have never once felt called to adopt internationally. For those of you who can do that, you are incredibly inspiring to us! After the heartbreak of infertility, foster care isn’t a road we are ready for yet because we don’t feel that our hearts are in the right place for that. Foster care is still on the table for down the road, but right now our heart is not open to reunification, which is the point of foster care. The types of adoption vary so widely, so if anyone ever has questions regarding why we chose what we did, please reach out, but also seek out information on the other types of adoption out there!
We ran into two couples at the Hope Conference who led us to the adoption agency that we are using: Quiver Full Adoptions. This agency is based out of South Carolina and has a high regard for ethics and the care of the birth family. They are small, totally wonderful to us in the wait, and we are so lucky to have found them.
Domestic Infant Adoption can be unethical. If you are considering adopting an infant, do your research! Specifically, you want an agency who is willing to breakdown all their fees to you, provides post placement care and therapy for the families that place, encourages open adoption, and places the birth family first. Ultimately, a healthy birth family will lead to a better adoption experience and will ensure that when they place their child, their decision is made of their free-will with no coercion in the process. It also ultimately reduces the rates of an adoption falling through.
We’re currently learning a lot about this process. It’s a constant balance of expectations v. reality. Specifically about coercion and how we as the adoptive parents are in a position of power in the adoption triad. The adoption triad is comprised of the adoptive parents, the expectant/birth family, and the adoptee. Since we are the party paying money, and ultimately the ones who want an infant, we are learning so much about how our excitement and position in the triad can actually be coercive to the expectant family as they place their child. Ultimately, we want the expectant family to place of their own free-will and without pressure from anyone involved. It’s our role to advocate on their behalf and make sure they are taken care of in an ethical manner. Until the expectant family signs their relinquishment papers, THEY are the parents. If they choose to parent, that is what they should do in the grand scheme of life, and it is our job to love them and encourage them on their path!
We have no right to any child until those papers are signed. At that point the expectant family switches to the birth family. We may or may not be allowed in the room when the mother is giving birth. We may not even be invited to the hospital. The first time we have our child we will be in a state we are most likely unfamiliar with while we wait for the ICPC to be completed. This is a law which allows us to travel from the birth state to our home state and each state has to communicate with each other to register the child’s guardianship with the government before we can return home. We’re planning on at least a 15 day stay in whatever state we adopt from before we can return home to Iowa. The first time we ever have a newborn, we will have to fly with it. Honestly, I think that’s what scares me the most about this whole process! Not the open adoption, not the wait, not the emotions, but flying with an infant! We’ll have periodic meetings with our social worker after placement and then around the six month mark there will be a termination of parental rights hearing, where we become the legal parents. This is when the adoption would be finalized.
We also want an open adoption as studies show that openness is so much healthier for everyone involved. It helps with trauma and with identity of the child and we are planning on making adoption part of our child’s story from day one. Many people have so many preconceived notions of what open adoption means, and all we know is that we are going to love first, pursue that relationship with all our heart, and always consider what is the best interest of the child as we navigate what that means.
We’re currently waiting to be an active family with our agency. Quiver Full Adoptions is a smaller agency and they stay that way to keep costs down and to focus on all aspects of the adoption triad. Once we get to zero on the wait list we become active. We are using the wait to focus on our marriage, to complete our home study and profile book, and to save more money! One of the other reasons why we chose Quiver Full Adoptions is because of their heart for debt free adoption. In the wait we are saving and fundraising in the hopes that we can do this totally without debt. I’m going to share a few ways you can pray for us on this journey:
- Prayers for patience as we wait for our perfect child
- Prayers to set aside expectations as adoption is so very different from the normal process of having a child
- Prayers for the expectant family, for their strength and health as they walk a pregnancy and consider an adoption plan
If you are considering domestic infant adoption, there are a few social media accounts I highly recommend: Adopt Well, Lifetime Healing, LLC, and BigToughGirl. I recommend following our agency on social media as well! Quiver Full Adoptions has also launched a podcast of the same name and it is so enlightening. If you are in the Des Moines Area, you HAVE to come to the Hope Conference in November, put on by Beauty Amidst the Ashes.
Finally, please connect with us on social media to stay up to date on our journey! I post quite frequently on instagram at: @essentiallybooked and all posts go to my Facebook page of the same name.
Shoot me a message on Facebook or Instagram with any questions you may have! You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for listening!