Our Forever Family Story

Sitting on the hilltop behind the elementary school my husband attended, he and I were playfully talking about how many kids we wanted. Seven. Both of us said seven and thought it sounded so doable, so simple! We fell in love fast. One of the things I loved most about Jackson was his tender heart. He had served a two year mission for the LDS church in Albania and it was evident that he loved an cared for the people there with everything he had. I knew he would love our future family that way too. That night on the hilltop was two months into our dating and then we got married 6 months later! We finished school and then decided it was time to start a family, but a year went by and nothing. Two years, three years, four years all went by and then five. Last year we had our 6 year anniversary and decided it was time to do IVF. After several other infertility treatments, we were told this was what we had to do next.
We had moved to Seattle, but had a doctor and clinic we were attached to in Utah that we decided to do our IVF through. It made for some difficult time apart from each other as I went back and forth for weeks at a time while Jackson continued working. But, we were hopeful and encouraged by the amazing results we had from our "batch!" 13 healthy embryo's were created and we were thrilled. All things seemed to be working perfectly for us, we even had positive results from our first attempt where we had implanted 2 of those embryo's. It was during Christmas time and we waited until we were with our families for Christmas to tell them the happy news that I was pregnant! It was such an exciting time as both of our families had been praying for us for years. But then I woke up one morning and it was over.
We were discouraged, but many of our friends had to do IVF a couple of times to get pregnant. Our next cycle, we did it again. Two embryo's and the trips back and forth to Utah. A nerve racking 10 day wait and I was pregnant! This time with no bleeding and I felt amazing. Again, it was such a happy time. I was at lunch with my girl friends talking about when my due date would be and how my pregnancy would line up close to theirs. Walking back to the car, I suddenly doubled over in pain. My left side of my abdomen felt like it was being stabbed from the inside. I went home and tried to rest, but it was getting worse. I called the doctor and they told me to get to the hospital and I was hitting my leg the whole way there to stop myself from passing out. Jackson met me there and held my hand as the technician did a 45 min. ultrasound without telling us anything.
I'm so grateful for the doctor that day who advised me to terminate the pregnancy immediately, but respected that I had worked so hard and let me have a little more time to do some blood work to confirm that this was an ectopic pregnancy. When the results came back a few hours later, I was ordered to go to the ER and to get an injection of methotrexate. It was over and I was broken. We cried for a long time and even though we had so many embryos and the clinic was already making plans for us to do a third round, we couldn't bring ourselves to even think about it.
We will never know why pregnancy has been an issue for us, but I'm so grateful. I know that sounds weird or crazy, but I'm so grateful for the perspective and thoughts and love and experience it's given me. It is the reason why we are here. There came a point even before we attempted IVF where I began to think that there had to be a child out there who wanted a mom & dad as much as we wanted him. There were so many signs along the way that added to mine and Jackson's realization that this is how we want our family to come to us. We wanted to adopt. We wanted to make that choice intentionally. Not because we ran out of embryos or because we had exhausted every resource to get pregnant. No, we want our child to know that we made this decision because we felt and believed that there was a child out there meant for us and who we would love and who would love us to. We believe in eternal families, that we can be together forever and that because of Jesus Christ we can love an adopted child as our own.
We began our adoption journey shortly after that difficult time with a lot of prayer and research. After about a month or two we felt undeniably sure that we wanted to adopt internationally from the country that Jackson spent two years of his life serving in. Over the years of our marriage, Jackson and I have traveled to Albania and I too fell in love with the people and the culture. So much hope and potential and goodness in the people there and it's stunningly beautiful with a rich and complex history. We also considered the unique opportunity we would have to build a strong connection to our child's heritage because Jackson knows the language and can speak it fluently. It's our hope to teach our child about where they are from and that they can develop a sense of pride for their heritage and a love of their personal adoption story.
May 1, 2017 was the day we officially began and on September 8, 2017 we were sent a photo of a darling 10 month old boy and the rest of his file came shortly after. Jackson and I are overjoyed to announce that we were matched with this sweet baby boy just this past week! He already has our hearts and we carry his photo with us wherever we go. We pray for him daily and together we pray for him nightly. We ask God to watch over him and to protect him, to keep him safe until we can get there. I can't explain the love I feel for this child that I've never met and only know so much about! I have one photo to hold, but it's the first thing I'd save if our house caught on fire!
Thank you for letting us tell our story. It's one we love and that we want to share because we believe with our whole hearts that this little boy is our miracle. We don't know yet when we will be able to go to Albania to meet him and bring him home, but we are preparing in every way we can. Anything you can offer to give helps us so much and fills our hearts with gratitude.
With love,
Jackson & Emily Owen


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