If you can believe it, our journey to this baby due in February started around 16 years ago when I went to Winkler Bible Camp for a week.
While I was there, I made a friend named Oon who was visiting from Nunavut. She was the first Inuit person I had ever met and I was extremely interested in her and her culture. I remember she wrote in my journal all the letters of their language, Inuktitut, and helped me spell out my name and friends name. She was one of the funniest, most loving, accepting friends I had ever made!
Fast forward 15 years.
Ryan and I had been struggling with infertility for 2.5 years. It was around that time that Ryan and I began researching and considering adoption to grow our family. A friend of ours had heard from a friend of theirs that there was a women looking for adoptive parents for her baby, and she lived in Nunavut. It was a very far fetched situation and didn't even have any contacts up North, nor had we started any of our adoption process yet, but there was something in my heart that kept pulling me there.
It was then that I remembered my friend Oon from Winkler Bible Camp 15 years ago (before the time of internet and Facebook) and I thought maybe just maybe she could help connect us to a birthmom. So I searched EVERYWHERE, I searched all of Facebook land, any type of social media land, I searched the highschool's website where I thought she was an exchange student, EVERYWHERE! I am a dang good creeper when I need to be (it's a real skill) but I couldn't find her ANYWHERE! (I did however find the journal from all those years ago, where she had written the Inuktitut language out for me which was very cool to find!)
Even though I had given up looking for Oon, we had decided we wanted to proceed with adoption. It was the day of our very first adoption meeting to start the process.....
Ryan and I were on our way to the adoption office, when I looked down at my phone and saw a message come in on Facebook Messenger from..... OON!
Her message was basically "Richelle! It's Oon from Winkler Bible Camp, do you remember me?! I've been looking for you everywhere for a long time and couldn't find you. But this morning I woke up and said 'Today is the day I'm going to find Richelle and I'm not going to stop until I find her'."
SHE HAD NO IDEA I WAS LOOKING FOR HER!!!!! NONE!
I was, of course, in typical Richelle fashion, FREAKING out and crying!!! Ryan and I were both stunned and we had to pull over in shock of what was happening!
I proceeded to tell her that I had been looking for HER, and that we wanted to adopt a baby and was hoping she could help us find our future birthmother. We were all crying and she told us she would love to help us, and that she herself had recently placed a beautiful baby girl through adoption. (Insert all the heart feels, tears and emotions here.)
Fast forward to today, a year and a half later, and 4 years into our infertility/adoption journey.
In the last year we've experienced what it's like to be 'chosen' for an adoption and then have it fall through. We've experienced what it's like to love so completely a baby that is growing in another woman's tummy. For 28 wonderful weeks, Anouk grew in our hearts and filled us with so much love, sensitivity and grace. Even though he didn't end up in our arms, I am so grateful for the time we had with him in our hearts. He has taught us so much.
And now, we're doing it again! And you guys will never believe it but this time, OON IS THE BIRTHMOTHER!!!! Oon, the friend I made 16 years ago, lost contact with and was miraculously reconnected to is carrying our baby!!!!!! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!?!?!!? Oh my goodness!
She is the most amazing, selfless, loving mother to her children and it is so beautiful to see the love for this baby growing in her now. Sometimes I can't believe how this story is unfolding, with so much Goodness and Love, sorrow and loss, forgiveness and Grace. It often feels so surreal.
It is an unmistakable honour to have the gift to raise an Inuit baby. We are so excited to celebrate their culture in our little family and community, to practice real reconciliation and to continue learning. Though I often feel so inadequate at the task, I am so thankful for Oon and her family and their desire to stay connected with us and baby, to guide us along the way.
We would ALL appreciate some prayer/thoughts/whatever you do, as we continue down this road and navigate all the challenges and gifts it has to offer.
February 2018 - HERE WE COME!!!!