Today, I'm thrilled to share our 5th inspiring and touching adoption journey. This time it’s a beautiful story of Tyler, her husband Cary, and their adorable 3 months old daughter, Isabel Grace. Isn't she sweet?
- A few words about who you are, what you do, where you live and what you are passionate about.
Hi y’all, I’m Tyler Koch. I’m a Southern girl, a Christian and currently a stay at home mom to my precious 3 month old daughter, Isabel Grace. I'm married to my amazing husband Cary. He plays football in the CFL, therefore making our life really fun, but also a tad bit crazy since his job requires us to move every 6 months. We spend football season living in whatever area of Canada his team is located, which is currently Hamilton, Ontario. Our off seasons are spent near family in our home state of Louisiana! I adore the beach, photo adventures, good books, spending time outside and playing with Juno, our puppy.
- When, why and how did you decide on adoption?
Although Cary and I have always been open to adopting, it wasn't until we were faced in an unexpected infertility diagnoses less than 2 years into our marriage that we started very seriously contemplating the option. When we were dating, we talked a lot about the desires of our hearts concerning a family. We were both in agreement that we wanted a large family and wouldn't wait long after we were married before having a baby. We also discussed adding to our family by adoption later down the road, and were both drawn to the idea. Not long after we were married, we decided we were ready to grow our family. We were giddy with excitement and totally naive about the difficulty ahead of us. After an exhausting year of trying to get pregnant, we were diagnosed with infertility.
We were absolutely devastated, heartbroken and confused. Over the next couple of months we tried fertility treatment, but it was unsuccessful and left us feeling even more defeated. It was during that painful time period that God began to steer our hearts toward adoption. At that point in our journey, we understood the depth of our desire to become parents. We began to accept that while the process might look different than we originally intended, adoption could still make our dream possible. We had some serious heart to hearts, did research, talked to families who’d been though the adoption process and spent time in prayer. Finally, we agreed we were ready and excited to pursue adoption. Once we fully opened our hearts to that decision, amazing things started to happen. We were filled with intense joy, purpose and peace concerning the future of our family. These feelings gave us confidence we were moving in the right direction.
- How did the process of adopting Isabel Grace feel to you? The paperwork, the resources you used, the timeline, the emotional rollercoaster, the wait, the uncertainty - everything and anything that can describe your journey.
Adoption is nothing short of a whirlwind. There are so many crazy ups and downs throughout the process. Some periods in the journey were exciting and wonderful, while others were extremely difficult and agonizing.
At the beginning of our journey, things moved fast and our sense of certainty and excitement grew daily. The process of completing paperwork was tedious and doing our home study was intimidating, but still we were thrilled to be taking concrete steps toward bringing our baby home. Once we had completed all the necessary steps to be certified, it became a waiting game for us. Waiting to be matched with our baby was the most difficult part of the process for us (besides the time period we had to wait out after our daughter’s birth mother signed the adoption papers). Finally, in November, after an emotional few months of presenting our profile book to birth mothers, a mother due in February chose us! This marked the beginning of an extremely joyous part in our journey. Our dream of becoming parents started to finally seem to be happening!
Over the next couple of months, we developed a relationship with our daughter’s birth mother and prepared for our baby girl’s arrival. Although it wasn't all roses from that point forward, things finally started falling into place and we had reason to celebrate. Many times throughout the adoption process, our inability to control situations was hard and simply sucked. In every stage of our adoption process, good or bad, our faith is what kept us centered. We pushed through together and held onto hope that in the end, the crazy journey would be worth it (spoiler alert, it totally is!). Also, we have been so blessed to work with wonderful adoption professionals from the beginning of our journey up until this point. The advice, encouragement and assistance of those professionals made a huge difference in our journey.
- When did you start sharing your plans with your family and friends? How did they react?
Once we starting seriously discussing our plans for adoption, we shared them with our parents. Thankfully, we have really wonderful families who have always been supportive of our desire to have children. They watched us try for over a year to have a baby and knew our hearts were desperately longing for a child. Although they were a little surprised at our decision to pursue adoption so quickly, they honored our decision and offered us all of their support and prayers throughout the process. When we officially started the process, the idea that a baby would be joining our family soon sunk in, and everyone’s excitement quickly took root and grew. After we began the adoption paperwork and started our home study, we officially announced our adoption publicly through our blog, The Adventures of Baby K.
I've always loved to express myself through writing. I felt like God was calling me to put my heart out there so that others could get a glimpse into the work He was doing in our family. I found it therapeutic to write about the highly emotional, exciting, daunting, hard and beautiful process we were starting. I’ll never forget the day we shared our first blog post announcing our decision to adopt. We were so nervous to share our story, but the response we received to our vulnerability blew us away. Hundreds of family and friends mourned our infertility diagnosis, celebrated our big news, encouraged us and began to pray for the baby that would soon join our family. We continued to have an enormous amount of support from family, friends and even strangers through our journey to bring Isabel home.
We are so thankful for each person who celebrated, encouraged and covered us in prayer in the most beautiful journey of our lives. Our blog has not only been an awesome way to include our family and friends in our adventure to bring Isabel home, but it’s also been a powerful channel for others to connect and even identify with our story in a meaningful way.
- How did the day of Isabel Grace’s birth feel? What happened?
The day of Isabel’s birth felt like a dream! We were in the delivery room and involved in her birth. There are no words to describe the miracle of watching our daughter come in the world…I will never forget the incredible feeling that came over me the moment she was born. Every hard moment, every question, all the disappointment and heartache just fell away as I stood there holding our newborn daughter… Finally holding the child I’d longed for and dreamed about for so long was nothing short of breathtaking and surreal. My heart was filled with the most intense love, joy and amazement; I knew my life would never be the same.
- After Isabel Grace came home with you, was there an adjustment period or did you feel the connection with her right away? How was it for your husband and the rest of the family?
We were so blessed to be able to develop an immediate bond with Isabel from the second she was born. We knew we loved her before she was even born, but when she arrived it just naturally flowed out of us. We knew from the moment she came into the world that she was our daughter. Even Isabel’s birth mother had such a peace and confidence about her decision because she witnessed the immediate love we had for her. The connection was natural not only for my husband and I, but also for our family. It’s so beautiful to see everyone so smitten with our sweet girl. It definitely took a few weeks for us to adjust to caring for our new baby, but our connection with her was instantaneous.
- How is life nowadays? Has adopting been what you expected so far?
Life is wonderful! After longing and trying for over 2 years to add to our family, we are happily enjoying this new stage in our lives. We've finally settled in a good routine with our beautiful daughter and are adjusting to life as a family of three. We are so in love with our baby girl. She is an absolute joy to our hearts! Adoption has far exceeded our expectations. While the journey was hard, the end result is more than worth it!
- Do you have contact with the birth mother? Would you like to?
Let me start out by saying how incredibly grateful we are to Isabel’s birth mother for making the brave choice to chose life and adoption for her daughter. We have an open relationship and are in regular contact with Isabel’s birth mother. This type of relationship is what we had hoped to have with our child’s biological family, so we feel very blessed by the relationship. We genuinely care for Isabel’s birth family. It gives our hearts great peace to know that Isabel’s birth mom is doing well and is happy with her decision to choose us as parents. It is important to us to communicate with her birth mom and to honor and maintain her place in Isabel’s life. Our prayer is that the relationship with Isabel’s biological family would continue to grow over the years. Our deepest desire is for our daughter would grow up to know how incredibly loved she is by all of us.
- Are you planning on having more children in the future?
Cary and I are definitely planning on having more children! We've always desired to have a large family. Since receiving our infertility diagnosis, we've come to terms that our dream is going to be a little more complicated to achieve than we could have ever dreamed. However, we know that God has placed the desire for more children on our hearts with a purpose. We believe that He will make a way for us to continue to grow our family, whether that is by pregnancy or by adoption. We have already started talking about, praying and saving for whatever is next for our family. For now, we are totally content loving on Miss Isabel and making sweet memories as a family of three, but we are also excited and open to whatever is next for us. At this point, we've learned to surrender our plans and walk in faith.
- And any other aspects of your journey you’d like to share with us...
Thanks for taking the time to read our story. I absolutely love sharing about all God has done in our lives this year. As you can see, we are thankful for adoption and are totally in love with our precious daughter! I would just like to end by encouraging everyone reading this, if you any inkling inside of your heart for adoption, prayerfully consider how you may be called to be involved in the process.
There are so many babies and children in the world in need of a loving home. And there are so many worthy ways to be involved with adoption, many of which do not require you to actually adopt. Maybe you are being called to adopt, or maybe you are just being called to help others who are in the process - I promise you - if you choose to be involved, your life will be forever impacted in a profound way.
And lastly, if you are currently going through the process, take heart and be encouraged… joy is coming! The wait, financial burden, and difficulties that often accompany the adoption process are heavy, but I can testify, your child is absolutely worth it all!
My husband and I are forever thankful that over a year ago, we decided to say yes to the beautiful, crazy, worthwhile adventure that brought us our daughter.
Thank you, Tyler for sharing your beautiful story! xo
P.S: Also, Katie's, Larissa's, Kevin's and Stephanie's beautiful stories.
P.P.S: Plus, my thoughts on the series.
(All photos via Tyler)