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Saturday, August 11 was our three year anniversary of Tyler's Happy Adoption Day! It is hard to believe that it has been three years already. I have been thinking so much about that day and the time before Tyler came home. So, here goes.....Tyler's adoption story. :)
Brent and I had been married for five years. We tried and tried to have a baby. We had a devastating miscarriage about a year after we were married. I was heartbroken but undeterred. We continued to try.
In September 2003, while living in Utah, we were asked to work with kids and adults with special needs for our church. We were a little bit apprehensive but excited. We went the first week and fell in love. It was amazing! It was a weekly get-together of approximately 200 individuals with all different types of special needs. They ranged in age from 12 - 80! There were so many wonderful people and we got to know and love all of them. One in particular was a boy named Willie. Willie was in his early 20's and had Down syndrome. The three of us clicked immediately. He was just a ball of energy and had a personality that could melt even the hardest heart. Willie kept telling me that he was praying for me to have a baby. He said that he wanted me to have a baby "just like him." That really got me thinking. A few months into it, I told Brent that I thought we were meant to have a baby with special needs and working with these kids was our preparation. At that time, I was still convinced that we were going to have a biological child. Adoption was still on the back burner for me. I prayed and prayed and opened my heart to any child that Heavenly Father was willing to send. I left it in His hands and asked Him to guide me in my endeavors.
A couple weeks later I came across a website about special needs adoption. It was like a switch turned on in my heart and I realized that this is what we were meant to do. This was my answer to prayers. Willie was right, we were meant to have a baby just like him. I remember calling Brent at work and talking a mile a minute about how I knew this was the right thing for us and we needed a home study and we needed to do it right this second. I was ready, it was time, God had answered my prayer and I was on fire! I'm sure Brent thought I was a little nutty. I honestly don't remember a word he said except that he told me to look into it. That was all the prompting I needed. I started making phone calls. I found an agency that would do our home study for us. Brent and I talked it over some more after he got home from work. We prayed about it together and separately and both felt good about things. I made the appointment for the home study and we set to work on our paperwork, background checks, finger prints, etc.
We had our home study done in April 2004 and I got to work finding adoption agencies that placed kids with special needs, specifically Down syndrome. Brent and I were open to most special needs but I know we had our hearts set on adoption a child with DS. I spent countless hours online and on the phone. I faxed our home study to many agencies. Late one night I came across the website for Adoption STAR. I emailed them and went to bed. The next morning I had an email from Sara. She said that they were working to find a family for a baby boy due in June. He had Down syndrome. She asked if we would like to be considered and if so, we needed to call her right away. I called and spoke to her and she told me a little more information. I faxed her a copy of our home study. She said that we needed to overnight our adoption profile to them so that they could send it along to the birth parents. The birth parents were hoping to make a decision soon. I sat up all night and created an adoption profile. That is probably one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do. I wrote our "Dear Birth Parent" letter, said a prayer and Brent and I overnighted it the next morning. And then we waited. And waited. And waited. On Friday Sara called to tell us that the birth parents had narrowed it down to us and one other family but they wanted to have the weekend to make their decision. I think that was one of the longest weekends of my life. Late Sunday night I told Brent that I didn't think they were going to choose us and I was okay with that. It was just a gut feeling but somehow I knew. On Monday morning the phone rang. It was Melissa from STAR. She said she had some news, that the birth parents had chosen the other family. I told her that I somehow knew and that we were okay. We asked her to convey our best wishes to the birth parents and let us know when the next situation came about.
I started looking again. I sent more emails, found more agencies, faxed more home studies. I kept thinking of this little guy and wondering if he had been born, how he was doing, what was happening. It was always in the back of my mind.
On July 31, I turned 29. I made a wish on my candles that our baby would come home soon.
On August 2 I received an email from Sara at STAR. She asked if we were still interested in a baby with DS and if so, to call her ASAP. I picked up the phone and called. She said that it was the same baby we had been profiled for in May. He was born on June 1. The birth parents had placed him with the family they had originally chosen. But, things had not worked out and the adoptive parents had decided not to parent him. My heart broke for them! I could not imagine how difficult that decision must have been. The birth parents asked STAR to contact us and see if we were still interested. We were thrilled!!
Things moved very quickly over the next few days. We spoke to the birth parents on the phone and really hit it off. We made travel arrangements and got our finances in order. We had the fun task of choosing a name for our son. We decided on Tyler Jacob Charles. We love the name Tyler. Jacob Charles was his name already so we wanted to keep it. Charles is his birth dad's first name and we really wanted that to be included.
Most of those nine days is a total blur. On August 10 we flew from Salt Lake City to JFK and on to Buffalo. We got in kind of late and got a few short hours of sleep. On August 11 we went to the STAR office. After mountains of paperwork, we were finally escorted into the nursery. Michelle brought in our beautiful little boy and placed him in my arms. I remember looking into his eyes and telling him that I was his Mommy. He was so beautiful! All the years of heartache and pain melted away and at that moment, it all made sense. Tyler was the one we had been waiting for. He was the answer to all our prayers. He was the reason we had to go through all the trials and pain of the past five years. And my goodness, he was so worth waiting for!
We spent the next ten days in Buffalo waiting for clearance to travel home. It was great! We had so much fun getting to know Tyler and bonding as a family.
Now Tyler is a happy, adorable, fun three-year-old. He is growing and learning so much. I can't believe how quickly the time has gone. I still thank my Heavenly Father every day for this little boy, this gift and miracle. I can't imagine how I ever made it without him and I am forever thankful that he is part of our forever family!!!