For Jennifer Finn, a 39-year-old mum with a beautiful 3-month-old son, the road to motherhood was anything but a straight line. Jennifer began trying to expand her family in mid-2017, shortly after she and her husband tied the knot. However, after trying for six months, she still wasn't seeing a second line on her pregnancy tests. Eager to figure out what was going on, she made an appointment with her doctor.
"We had no idea the journey we had ahead of us! I found out I had diminished ovarian reserve, or low egg count," Jennifer told POPSUGAR. "Throughout the year to follow, in addition to seeing a few different fertility doctors and trying various fertility drugs and treatments, I also tried everything else under the sun to get pregnant."
And that's no exaggeration. Jennifer tried everything to increase her odds of conception. "I tried acupuncture, Qigong, Chinese herbal tea, Mayan abdominal massage, meditation, reiki, and changed my diet many times — eliminated coffee and alcohol — and tried supplements like Maca, prenatal vitamins, and royal jelly," she said. "You name it, I tried it."
As a TV producer, keeping up with her appointments as well as a "litany of treatments" was extremely difficult. And not being able to talk openly at work about her fertility struggles compounded her stress.
"I didn't feel like I could share my infertility with coworkers because I felt so much shame and fear and it seemed like I was the only one going through it," she explained. "But my job was the only thing that seemed to be able to take my mind off my empty ovaries, so I focussed on work and neglected everything else in my personal life."
"I realised that what I had been longing for was to become a mom, not necessarily to become pregnant."
Jennifer's struggle to get pregnant led to a lot of introspection, and she slowly learned to let go of the things in the universe she couldn't control. "Infertility proved to be an opportunity for me to learn about my fears, perfectionism, and urge to control," she said. "I worked a lot on letting go of the outcome and surrendering to what was meant for us." She continued to try to conceive for a year via medicated and unmedicated IUIs, and eventually she and her husband had to decide whether or not they wanted to try IVF, but there were a few hang-ups: not only were Jennifer's doctors unsure if IVF would work, their insurance didn't actually cover the procedure. And given the price of such treatments, it wasn't a decision to make lightly. Rather than go down that road, Jennifer floated the idea of adoption by her husband.
"A little after a year of trying to conceive, I brought the topic of adoption up to my husband, not knowing how he would react," she explained. "Surprisingly, he responded very quickly and right away, and said, 'Yeah, let's do it.' Once we discussed further, we realised that both of us felt a pretty strong calling to adoption and I realised that what I had been longing for was to become a mom, not necessarily to become pregnant."
"There is both so much sadness and so much joy all wrapped up into adoption, and at times, it feels like my heart might break at the thought of what our birth mom is giving up so that we can have a family."
Once Jennifer and her husband agreed to go the adoption route, they dove into the process head-first. "We quickly started the adoption process with a lot of newfound hope and excitement," she said. "In August of 2018, we began working with an agency. It took a few months to complete the initial paperwork, create our adoptive parent profile, and complete our home study. Then in October of 2018, the agency began sending our profile out to prospective birth mothers."
After seven months of waiting, a woman who was due in a few short months agreed to lets the Finns adopt her child.
"We got to know our son's birth mum very well over those months and we feel extremely lucky to have formed such a special bond with her. There is both so much sadness and so much joy all wrapped up into adoption, and at times, it feels like my heart might break at the thought of what our birth mum is giving up so that we can have a family. But she, too, was drawn to adoption. We try to stay educated on all three perspectives of the adoption triad (adoptee, birth parent/s, and adoptive parent/s) so that we can answer any questions our son may have one day."
On Aug. 28, 2019, the Finns welcomed their new son into the world standing right beside the baby's birth mum. "I got to cut the umbilical cord, and when the doctors laid him on my chest, he immediately looked up, directly at me, with his big blue eyes," Jennifer gushed. "He did the same thing when I put him on my husband's chest. We have loved him deeply, from the bottom of our hearts, since the first moment he laid his eyes on us, and it would make no difference if I birthed him myself."
With three months of motherhood under her belt, Jennifer is encouraging others to consider adoption through her Instagram account, A Mama in Progress, where she chronicles what her day-to-day life is like.
"I have been lucky to see the blessing of adoption throughout my life, in my own family and with several of my close friends who were adopted themselves or are adoptive parents," she said. "I have never had any doubts that the love between parents and children does not have to be biological to be deep, real, and unconditional. But I know there are people who have never been witness to the powerful gift of adoption. I hope I can be one more person to offer a positive, miraculous story to hopefully help take a bit of the fear away. I want to share my story, to help other women going through infertility feel less alone, and to help encourage others who may be considering adoption."