Our journey in building our family has been harder than most people can imagine.
Here is our story:
When Christine and I met in San Diego in the summer of 2006, she was nannying full time. As a little girl, she knew she wanted ten kids when she grew up and always wanted to be a mommy. As soon as she was old enough, she started babysitting and continued all the way through high school. She went to Michigan State University studying Early Childhood Education and started her Masters in the same profession, while doing her student teaching. Halfway through her student teaching program, it dawned on her that the public school system was not in line with her beliefs towards education, so she decided to stop. She nannied for the next few years, which she was completely passionate about as she got to work with kids one on one, and she loved every single day of it.
Although I didn't profess to wanting 10 kids when I was young, I always loved children. I, too, babysat as early as I could and did it for several years. In high school, I worked as a clown doing face painting at company picnics and always did very well since kids were drawn to me; I truly enjoyed that job.
Moving back to the summer of 2006. The 2nd time Christine and I went out, we became inseparable and moved in together a few short weeks later. It was great to see how wonderful she was at nannying and working with the newborns and young children she got to work with. A year later, Christine decided that she was ready to start putting all of her time and energy towards building our own family and raising our own little ones. Becoming a mommy had been Christine's biggest and most consistent dream throughout her entire life and I had also known that I wanted kids, so she stopped working and we got to work ;).
Unfortunately, we soon discovered is wasn't as easy as everyone made it seem. One year turned into the next and we started looking at doing everything holistically we could do to get pregnant. We are not strong believers in the western medical-systems's often invasive options and we knew that these would be our last options. We sought out the best chiropractors in San Diego, saw an acupuncturist, did multiple Mayan abdominal massage techniques, visited a naturopath, etc. You name it, we tried it. For several years we tried everything we could find. During this time, we started facing the realization that we may not be able to have our own biological children. This was devastating, as it is to everyone that goes through this, but even more so since Christine's sole purpose on earth was to be a mom.
In 2009, we moved to Cleveland so that we could help take care of Christine's mom, who had been the sole caretaker for her mother with Alzeihmer's for close to ten years. Although we had been doing what we could to help them financially from San Diego, we decide we wanted to offer more support and made the move, knowing that we would find a way to make it work financially. We moved into her grandma's home until we got on our feet. It was great getting to be with her mom and grandma and sharing that time with them, especially since Christine had a very close relationship with her grandma. Once we moved to Lakewood and got our own place, her mom and grandma would spend two weeks on and off with us, until she passed away in May of 2010.
After some time went by after her passing, we restarted our baby-making efforts and finally decided we would try some of the Western medical approaches and met with some fertility specialists. I was fortunate to have a conversation with a client of mine, a father of triplets, who made a great impact upon on me as we started going down this road. One thing he shared with me was that we needed decide upon a stop-loss point in regards to time before we started down this path, as it can go on for years and the financial burden can truly be bottomless. Christine and I decided that if we did not get pregnant through these methods that we would then look into adoption. We started with 3 rounds of Chlomid and these proved to be far more difficult than we had anticipated. Christine's body and hormones were completely thrown off and we decided it was best to not keep going down more invasive measures.
This finally brought us to adoption. In retrospect, we wish we would have been open and aware of this option years ahead but everything happens for a reason. Christine had babysat two younger children of some family friends who were both adopted and their mother was our first point of contact. She got us in touch with the agency they had adopted through, 20 years prior, Adoption by Gentle Care. We went to a meeting in Columbus in September and quickly went to work on the mountain of paperwork for our home study. In fact, our social worker couldn't believe how fast we completed everything. What took many people up to a year, we finished in a couple months, which was the fastest she had ever seen it done in over 25 years of being a social worker! We did not take this lightly, after 5 years of trying and going through the mental hardships that accompany infertility, and accepting that she would never bear children, nothing was going to stop us.
In March of 2011, our profile went live on the Adoption by Gentle Care website and we were officially active! Although we knew that being open to interracial meant that it tended to happen faster than those who are not, we were still ready for several months wait at a minimum. Besides, anyone you ask will tell you adoptions take a LONG time. So a few days after we completed the hurdle of becoming "˜active,' I suggested Christine go to Florida with her mom for a week since she'd probably never have the change to have mother and daughter time like this again. Ten days after we became active, Christine was packing for Florida. Two hours before driving them to the airport, the phone rang. It was Adoption by Gentle Care! I ran upstairs, put the phone on speaker and quickly got Christine's attention! The news we had anticipated, but in no way expected to hear this soon (10 days) had come! Our daughter was born on the 25th of March and we were to pick her up the next day at Metro hospital in Cleveland!
On March 28th, 2011, our dream came true and we became parents at last, bringing home our beautiful, Eliana Monique Lambotte. To say we were delighted simply doesn't convey how we felt and the coming year was full of countless amazing days, which got better and better as time went on. We were very fortunate to have a great relationship with her biological mother, Tiffany, having monthly calls and sending each other letters on a monthly basis along with photos. She is a very loving mother with 4 kids already who simply was not in a position to raise another. We will always respect her so much for making the most selfless decision a mother could ever make; knowing that she would give her child a better life, one that she would not have been able to provide.
In November 2011, we went back to a seminar with our adoption agency, as we were ready to continue growing our family. A couple days after the seminar, we booked some tickets to Europe, so that we could take Eliana to Belgium and introduce her to my extended family. Literally the next day, Adoption by Gentle Care called us with a unique situation; Tiffany was pregnant again and was wondering if we would be open to adopting this child so that Eliana could be raised with her biological sibling. We were ecstatic, as the odds of this are extremely rare and were simply too good to be true! She was going to be due on March 15th, meaning we were going to have Irish twins (less than a year apart!). One thing we were very especially excited with this situation is that unlike Eliana's pregnancy, Tiffany would be able to have prenatal care. Christine took Tiffany to all her doctor's visits down in Cleveland for months since she did not have a car. They bonded by spending so much time together as Christine developed a strong connection with our son-to-be. Because of this relationship we had, we would be able to attend the delivery and would actually be driving her to the hospital when she went into labor, so as the date approached, we became more and more on edge, waiting for the call.
To top it all off, something completely unexpected came up in February, a month before Tristan was due. We were pregnant! After multiple, and I mean, multiple tests, we were certain it was positive (they couldn't ALL be wrong). This was the most unbelievable surpass! We were going to have 3 kids under the age of 18 months! WOW! We ran out, sold our SUV and bought a minivan, we weren't messing around.
The call came on St. Patrick's day at 5am, she was in labor and ready to go. We rushed in the car, drove down to Cleveland and took her in to Fairview Hospital. What I am about to share is incredibly difficult to share, as it begins the toughest, most unimaginable year that no parent should ever have to experience. While at the hospital, Tiffany suffered a placental abruption and Tristan died in her womb. She had to go on and give birth to him and then lost a lot of blood herself. As painful as losing our son was, we somehow had to muster the little strength we had between the both of us. We were pregnant, an absolute miracle that we never expected, and we knew that if we lost ourselves in despair that we would inevitably lose our baby as well. Because of this, we were never truly able to grieve for Tristan, until now.
So we did what we had to do. We pulled ourselves together and surrounded our baby with as much love and light as we could. We did everything, and I mean everything within our control. Christine met with a naturopath and a chiropractor and went on all the best supplements we could find. Overcoming her issue with taking vitamins, she often took around 20 pills a day, which was a huge feat for her! Out of 10 months, she literally missed her vitamins no more than 5 times, (out of 900 times at 3 times a day). She was committed to doing absolutely everything one should do to ensure a healthy pregnancy. We had an amazing 10 months which were complete bliss, getting to enjoy going through pregnancy, something we never thought we would get to experience! We had decided to wait to find out about the gender and could not wait to find out. The names were picked out, Malia for a girl and Cameron for a boy.
On October 25th, Christine went into labor. I have shared these details too many times to count and it does not get easier, and I am not going to share them here. Our son, Cameron, was born asleep on the 26th. Due to further complications, Christine almost did not make it herself and spent 5 days in the hospital after the delivery. The next days and months were unimaginable, absolutely impossible to conceive for someone who has not lost a child. In 2012, we not only lost one, but two of our sons. The outpour of support from our friends, family and clients was amazing and helped us pull through. Our little shining star, Eliana, most of all, kept light in our days when there was none around. We don't know how we would have made it if it were not for her.
Three months have passed and it has been the most difficult times that either of us have ever faced. We have recently decided to keep moving forward towards the most important thing we want, growing our family. We have opened ourselves up for adoption again and are looking forward to adding a new member very soon! This will not replace the two sons we lost last year and they will always have a place in our hearts and not to mention that we feel them everyday, but we know that we cannot stop working towards the things our hearts are most drawn to. We just want to share our love with some more little ones. We want Eliana to have siblings. We want to hear the cooing and giggling, we want to experience more zombie-like, sleepless nights. We want to get spitup on.
We thank you so much for sharing your time in reading our story. The purpose in sharing it with all of our friends, family, clients and all others who may be touched, is that our cost of adoption will be around $20,000-22,500. We were able to finance Eliana's adoption thanks to a huge grant we received for $13,500, which is no longer available. The other part was taken out of our house fund. In 2012, we had to pay for a portion of the adoption fees for Tristan, then were hit with the hospital bills from the 6 days in the hospital. We would gladly deplete our house fund again to continue growing our family, but we would like to buy a house:one day, to put our family into for good. Our goal through this fundraiser is to raise $20,000 to help us towards making Eliana a big sister and building our family.
Although you can donate any amount you would like, we have setup some tiers to make it fun!
DonationsSee top donations
- Silent Auction Fundraiser put on by Stow-Kent Playgroup
- The Orphan's Prayer
- Silent Auction Fundraiser put on by Stow-Kent Playgroup
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