It's been a long time and an even harder road! We haven't been ready to update anyone yet because we needed the approval that we are eligible to adopt... AND WE ARE!
This obviously means that our attempt with the surrogacy was not only costly but heartbreaking. It just didn't work out so we decided to simply leave that option behind and move forward with something life changing, blessed and miraculous: ADOPTING A NEWBORN!!!
There are many complexities to adoption and to be honest, at first I wasn't sure how I felt about it. I was worried about boundaries being crossed, legalities not being respected and issues with biological parents overstepping into our world, but I quickly learned that as adoptive parents, you have many rights and much privacy. Your address, place of employment and last name is never even exposed in the contract, so that was very reassuring to know that we could feel confident with raising our child in a safe environment.
We have had to jump through a LOT of hoops like: getting finger printed, background checks, physicals, bank statements, tax returns and even vaccination shots for our dogs! It's very serious and extremely tedious but we passed! It was at this point that we felt comfortable making this exciting announcement! A stork even came 🤣!
Our best friends and God parents to the baby showed up to this photo shoot with props and ACTUALLY DRESSED UP LIKE A STORK! I have to say it was so fun and it gave us the opportunity to celebrate this news in both a unique and unconventional way! 🤣🤣🤣 A lot of times adoption falls between the cracks with the baby showers and announcements but it shouldn't! It's an honor and a long journey to get here!
The process will continue along and take a little time (probably between 2 & 6 months) because we need to make sure that we are compatible with the birth mother and of course there will be more paperwork! But the good news is that the hard part is over and we now get to start feeling excited about our baby-to-be. It could be a boy, and it could be a girl. All we care about is that they're healthy and God appointed! I just can't wait to have a baby shower and finally put our precious nugget in the long standing empty nursery!
We want to thank EVERYONE for your support; for everyone who grieved with us over Everest and donated to the surrogacy, or simply prayed for us. It was the most heinous and painful time of our lives but I think we can finally exhale. We can be a blessing to a birth mother who needs help, who needs an escape, and to a beautiful newborn who will be given more love than a heart can hold!
FUN FACT: Way more celebrities adopt than we realize! Tom Cruise, Hugh Jackman, Meg Ryan, Sandra Bullock, Madonna, Kathryn Heigl etc etc etc
The more adoption, the less foster care!
We will always miss our sweet angel, Everest Valor and we think of him often. Please keep up with our blog and we hope you will support us on this journey!
Wow, everyone! We have been through a lot in the past couple of months. With the Holidays here, we are feeling loss and pain but with our surrogate present, happy and excited! Talk about hopeful and mixed emotions!
As with many medical miracles such as surrogacy, there are unpredictable circumstances and we can't do God's work. We can only have FAITH. He's been working on our hearts while working on Shannon's hormones! But things are finally coming together and a date has been set officially!
Dec. 20th will be our embryo transfer! Our sweet baby will be put in her womb and we can only pray that it will stick!!!
So, once the procedure is done, we will be given results within 10 days. Fortunately we have two embryos but it would be wonderful if the first one sticks! We still don't know whether it will be #teamjustice or #teameden! Either way, a healthy baby for our family will be loved and adored.
We will keep you all posted but in the meantime, please pray for our hearts and spirits. We miss our son and are continually seeking healing. With healing, comes power! We are so ready to hold our baby in our arms and be done with all of the losses!
If you don't know about the loss of our son, Everest Valor, please visit www.storyofeverest.weebly.com or private message me and I'd be happy to share! He was a wonderful and beautiful 1 pound boy full of sweet, innocent joy! He lived for one week and we cherished every second!
Thanks for reading our journey and sending prayers!
RIP our angel in heaven: Everest Valor Saad
"PATIENCE IS THE COMPANION OF WISDOM"
BLOG UPDATE TIME!
So it's been about a month since we got the medical approval, the legal contracts done and the psych evaluations done! Signed, sealed, delivered! ✔️
Shannon has been doing awesome drinking her beet juice, eating pineapple cores and getting her body at its absolute best for the embryo transfer! "Clean eating" (with the occasional slice of pizza of course!)
It has definitely been somewhat hard for Joe and I to patiently wait for this process to happen because we are so excited! It's a bit of a tough season with all the babies at pumpkin patches or in Halloween costumes because it does make us miss Everest Valor so much but we know we will have a sweet little one to dress up next year!
Right now Shannon is being watched closely by doctors to get everything JUST RIGHT from her lining to her bloodwork, which usually takes about 3-4 weeks before take off. That means we will have a turkey baby and probably be doing the embryo transfer (meaning putting our fertilized egg inside of her) right around thanksgiving or slightly after. Gobble gobble!
As for us, we are just staying optimistic, prayerful and preparing emotionally for the excitement of the pregnancy! I personally am getting my heart and mind ready for the ups/downs and thrills of surrogacy. I have some work to do before this special babe comes! #hardworkingirl #godismystrength
On another note, we definitely have our names picked out!!! For the boy it's definitely:
JUSTICE KANE (Kane means warrior)
For the girl:
I believe that these names have a powerful meaning and these young sweethearts will grow up to be life changers, whichever embryo God decides!
We still want to thank all the people who donated so much! We have a long way to go and if you are touched by our story or want to hear about it from the beginning, the link is as follows:
RIP ALWAYS TO OUR SWEET PRINCE IN HEAVEN:
EVEREST VALOR Aug 24-Aug 31 2017
"Go eat your food with gladness and drink your wine with a joyful heart, because God has already approved what you do."
Oh my goodness! What a productive week!
Shannon flew in yesterday and we have been pedal to the metal with appointments! Yesterday she got medically cleared and this morning we spent 3 hours with a trained psychologist to make sure we are all on the same page. Though it was nerve wracking, we passed with flying colors!
Dr Kim said that the embryo transfer will be approximately November 1st, which means we have four weeks to pray diligently for a good outcome!
Fortunately, Dr Kim is very optimistic with the quality of the embryos and Shannon's health!
In the surrogacy world, it's recomended to eat lots of beets and pineapple cores! So Shannon will be loading up on those goodies and we will all be thinking "sticky thoughts".
We are still in need of support for this medical portion and the purchase of the fertility medications, which equates to about $5,000. We now have a way to thank you for being a part of our journey, which is either in the form of a shirt or a bracelet!
For the bracelet, you can donate any amount and we will send one to you within 2 weeks. All you need to do is pick your team: Team Justice (team boy) or Team Eden (team girl)
You can also receive a shirt by making a one time donation of $50 or more!
For any previous donors, please private message me your address and we will be happy to pop a bracelet in the mail. And yes, we do expect selfies!
We are so excited to share the next step with you and stream the video of the embryo transfer Live! Yay baby Saad!
In loving memory of our precious angel in heaven: Everest Valor Saad
"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."
**Want to donate AND win 7 nights in Costa Rica? Details below!**
SEPTEMBER UPDATE: Thanks to all of the generous people who donated, we were able to hire the lawyers necessary for the legal contract and pay down a portion of medical! That being said, the month of September has been a huge success!
Shannon, our surrogate, will be flying in to Houston in one week! We are very excited to get to know her a little better and get some medical things out of the way because before we know it, she will be back for the embryo transfer! She's equally excited to be our "baby mama" for 9 months! As she would say:
As for October, this is going to be a huge month! We could be potentially getting pregnant this month! There will be an initial appointment with our doctor to set up the "official" timeline of her transfer. The dates are based on lab work and ultrasounds. Shannon will need to start on fertility meds and then return to Texas for the embryo transfer shortly thereafter. We still need to raise money for both of these things: the meds and the embryo transfer procedure. The rest of the medical will be approx: $3,900 and the hormone meds are around $1,000.
I really want to take a moment here to say thank you to all who have contributed so far. Our faith has been very shaken this year and in our despair, you showed us compassion. You showed us kindness. Even on days when I am down and I wake up with a huge, gaping hole where Everest was, I know that I have people who love us and truly want us to get our precious angel baby. Everyone's prayers, support and hope have made a huge impact on my life. We want to thank you for completing us in Gods love.
As for the Costa Rica vacation! With every donation of $25 or more, you will receive a chance to win 7 nights free in Costa Rica. My mom and Chris have been generous enough to donate their vacation rental, which is 3 miles from the national park AND runs for $1,400 per week!
Click the donate button below to join the raffle and unite for the cause! #uniteforbabysaad
Stay tuned for an update on the visit with Shannon!
In loving memory of our prince in heaven, Everest Valor.
This week has been so eventful! For those of you who have been praying for us, God has been answering those prayers! Doors have opened and closed in a clear way that has really defined the path and lead us straight to Schaumburg, Illinois! (Details below)
We still don't know why God took Everest from us so soon but it has been my personal goal to stay faithful in spirit and prayer, without allowing my heart to grow sour or bitter. We know that God wants us to have the desires of our hearts and that He wants us to entrust ourselves in Him, so we are believing in His promises despite how we feel at times.
This scripture is for me and I'm living for it:
So in faithfulness, our prayers went upward and upward, asking God to provide comfort and help. Within a week, I was shocked to see I had several messages from girls offering to be a surrogate! Most of them came from a mommy's group where I had been sharing the story of Everest. That was the first sign that we knew God was involved. All of these were amazing girls and after considering both their health and availability, the right match became obvious. Her name is Shannon, and that is what leads us to Illinois.
Shannon is 32, healthy and has 3 kids of her own already. We are so excited to announce that she is 100% committed to being the best host for our baby that she can be! She had been following our story since the beginning and watching Everest's progress while he was here on earth. It pained her to see our immense sadness and she contacted me in compassion through my mommy's group. She had considered being a surrogate previously and was familiar with the process already. She's a loving, intelligent and resourceful woman who has always had a heart for infertility.
With this detail ironed out and with an embryo awaiting its grand debut, everything else has swiftly fallen into place. The right people with the right qualifications are in the wings and ready to shine. It's all a matter of the funds and the science now. This is where we are trusting in God.
A friend of mine had a beautiful stillborn baby boy and despite her fear, God gave her a baby girl to complete her family. Her loving words to me was that just like her deceased son handpicked their new precious daughter for them, Everest is in heaven handpicking our new baby to send to earth 👶🏻 That is the visual we are praying for and asking for!
We ask for follow up prayers and for donations because this process is costly and must be done right. We have eliminated unecessary expenses to cut the budget, but legally certain things must be done in accordance with the FDA.
Please know that 100% of what we receive will be applied to the costs of this process (lawyers, doctors etc).
We appreciate it more than you can ever know and your generosity is making our misfortune and sadness become a triumph and journey of faith.
We will keep you all in the loop, and follow up with more details soon!
In loving memory of Everest Valor, our angel in heaven
As many of you know, Joe and I have been on quite the fertility journey from 2 ectopic pregnancies, one miscarriage and eventually the $25,000 venture of IVF. We finally got our dream, a beautiful baby boy, though he came to us in the most traumatizing and heartbreaking way.
At about 6 months pregnant, 23 weeks, I developed preeclampsia and was admitted to the hospital. We were concerned but our faith did not waiver. My blood pressure was very elevated and there was protein in my urine, which definitely meant that I needed to stay in the hospital as long as possible to keep both the baby and I safe up to delivery. I was monitored closely and at various times told that I was developing HELLP syndrome, but the perinatologist was able to keep things somewhat under control with medications. I was insistent that I did not want my son born early but the doctors said not at the cost of my life.
***Sidenote: HELLP is unpreventable and still highly misunderstood in the medical world. It is life threatening and can cause many medical complications, such as morbidity, seizures, lung failure, renal failure, reputed liver hematoma, placental abruption and many more.
HELLP only affects 0.2-0.6% of pregnancies!***
After 7 days, the doctor drew labs, which were declining and my blood pressure increased. The doctor said my liver could no longer support the pregnancy and that I was in imminent danger. We had to deliver immediately. I knew something was wrong as well because of the intense pressure between my ribs-apparently an inflamed liver.
They wheeled me into the operating room and it was completely surreal, a combination of feeling elated, terrified and hopeful all at the same time. Joe and I sat together in 'cap and gown' as they began delivering Everest via c-section. I just remember tears streaming down my cheeks with the excitement of meeting him and the horror that he was only 23.6 weeks.
After they closed me up, we went into the recovery area and eventually got to meet him. Everest Valor, our one pound prince, was more beautiful than I could have EVER imagined. He was literally perfect. He had beautiful hands, feet, tiny little head of fine hair and overall innocence that I couldn't really even take in. He was so proportionate and delicate, just like a little doll and so soft to the touch. I was in awe of this little marvel of ours.
Everest Valor Saad
1 lb, 10 inches
The first few days, we learned later, was what is called the "honeymoon phase" in the NICU. Everest performed relatively well, with decent oxygen levels and blood pressure. He was wrapped up in tons of tubes and lines with fluids and medications but he was "stable".
After that, it was a steady decline. His oxygen, his blood pressure, his levels... he just wasn't maintaining and we started getting "the talks" letting us know statistics, possibilities and potential of death.
All the while, we were believing. Don't get me wrong, I was breaking down in tears and overwhelmed with emotion but my faith never waivered that God was going to heal my baby! He was going to show us His power by performing this miracle and I had no doubt though I was afraid. The days went by and he continued to go downhill. We were getting anxious but still had faith in His irrefutable ability to heal Everest and give us the desires of our heart.
By day 7, he no longer had a readable blood pressure. We happened to be in the NICU and the neonatologists informed us very lovingly but urgently that it was time. Everest could not fight any longer.
The pain and devastation was overwhelming like a bulldozer ran right through that NICU. We could not believe it and initially asked for chest compressions or more medications but alarms started to sound on his machines and everyone looked frantic. They said he could not recover and we needed to hold him NOW.
We sat down together beside his incubator with nurses urgently grabbing at all of his tubes and lines, handing him to me with the most saddened faces and tears. They seemed to feel as much empathy and compassion as people who had personally experienced this loss.
Both his eyes were tired but open and he looked up at us so sweetly. We kissed him and told him to go be with Jesus, and that we love him so much. We told him he was so very special and strong, and we thanked him for fighting. We asked him to visit us and to be the one to greet us in heaven. His eyes gently closed, the doctor confirmed time of death and we just sat there hollow, burdened with pain because even up until this moment, we believed God would resurrect him. Why wouldn't He? We prayed day and night, and we were faithful.
After awhile, they brought Everest to us in our hospital room. We were able to spend several hours with him, holding him and kissing him. These were the most adorning, precious and also traumatizing hours of my life. It was such a shock holding our beautiful son with such pride and anguish at the same time. I still can't fathom how or why any of this came to be.
Eventually they took him away and we were left with nothing but a box of keepsakes from his short time here on earth; a hat, his gown, his footprints, some balloons... As women were being wheeled into the hospital and out with their newborns, all I could do was cry in hysterics, feeling like such a huge part of me was missing. My body having been butchered, my breasts running with milk and my heart broken I could not and still cannot fully understand what the purpose of all of this was or how our sweet angel could not be with us any longer.
We have prayed much over this and we are choosing to believe that there was a reason and a purpose for all of this. We believe God is in control and Everest's life held more meaning than we can even know. I know that I was chosen to be his mommy. I can definitely say that his name and his sentiment brought so many people together in prayer and definitely strengthened our faith as well because we have to believe through this crisis that God is good! We have to believe that the bigger picture is what it's all about.
God has already put things in motion for surrogacy in the future and we have been praying for both the connection and the signs. God has already divinely given us a surrogate and this is one of the most complicated pieces! She is a young, healthy woman who has been following our story since the beginning. Please pray that God puts His hand of favor over us as we continue.
God has equipped us now and as we mourn we look to the future with the belief that God will use my remaining frozen embryos to bring us the child we have dreamt of. Everest is rejoicing in heaven as he watches us walk in faith with our new reality now. I know he is with us in spirit and I know he wants us to be happy.
Below is a button that says "donate" for the Gofund me that was set up to help us in our journey to have our miracle baby. If you feel compelled to give, please click the link below. We will treasure and appreciate this blessing more than you know!!
Thank you for all of your prayers and please continue to be with us as we grieve for our Everest.
"Whoever is trying to bring you down is already below you"
It has been awhile since I posted and much has happened lately to inspire a new topic that is not only prevalent to blended families but also stay at home parents.
Ive noticed in society, and among social media, there is a lot of taboo on being a "stay at home" parent or a "step parent"... which is just as much ignorant as it is blind. Even in my current loving relationship, there has been an absolute shift in power since becoming a stay at home mom, and also "labels" from others as far as raising my three "step" children.
For those parents who are being labeled for staying home, I feel an undeniable urge to remind our people how important and priceless our role is! Not only are we the most highly influential people in our children's lives, but we have sacrificed a lot of our own wants and needs to "stay home".
I dont know how some people could think any adult would want to stay home all day long, only to be cleaning up messes, breaking up fights, cooking meals that are largely choked down and fantasizing about having conversation with another grown up. It's not necessarily always the easiest job, and it's vastly under appreciated.
Not to mention the actual financial value to an individual who stays home. I mean, let's crunch the numbers!
So, even if as a parent you are only doing half of these items, your spouse or partner should consider themselves lucky! Your job is so crucial to the development of your kids, the consistency in your home and most of all, a gift to those around you. It's hard work and society needs to catch up on this concept! It's ignorant to consider this sacrifice anything less than selfless.
Secondly, there has been so much negativity cycling around about "step" parents. As in, criticizing the role, putting down the individuals value and making that person potentially feel subject to replacement. Even for me personally, I have had so many people look down their noses at the investment I've made, either calling me "crazy" or "warning" me about potential risks. Even in my own home, there have had to be reminders that I chose to step up and step in, when I didn't have to. I believe that certain people reading this blog need encouragement today!
You should know that your courage to become a step parent is valient. It is not a roller coaster ride that most people can handle. Why? Because it's hard!
Furthermore, even though you may never get credit from the biological parent, you're still going strong! I'm here to say, keep on keeping on! You will never get the accolades you deserve and it's especially hard being compared, but you are amazing and people see it! Don't give up!
Finally, your kids will know it one day. They're not your "step" kids in Gods eyes. Family is not defined by DNA but by love. It is human nature to look back on and trust in the people who were there for us, not just "related" to us.
So to all of my "stay at home" parents and "step parents", you just hold your head high! You are taking on the impossible and doing it by choice! If that is not strength and courage then I don't know what is! Don't let anyone take your crown, parents! You have worked hard to earn it and strive hard to keep it!
"Patience is bitter but it's fruit is sweet" -Aristotle
Mothers Day or Father's Day as a step parent is always hard. There is question about whether you will be acknowledged, whether or not your commitment is seen, whether or not the biological parent will be involved and how to approach the awkward day altogether. For me every year it's like, "I made it! Another Mothers Day here and gone".
In a lot of situations, step parents get all of the criticism and none of the credit. I remember for me, I would be the one to take the kids to the doctor but yet I wasn't authorized to access their health insurance so I'd come up short. I was the one who managed the kids' academics and sacrificed my time, yet I was blamed if a signature was overlooked or an assignment had gone missing. It's very difficult being the one who assumes all the responsibility and yet gets all of the backlash when something small comes up. It can be a brutal position to be in and somehow failures seem to outshine accomplishments when it comes to step-parenting.
The solace in putting in the time and doing the work is that it does eventually pay off if you stick with it. Not with every child or in every situation, but in most cases there will eventually be some recognition. As I'm seeing, after the kids leave the home.
My step son has been away to college for a year and there is a complete shift in our relationship. He calls me to let me know about his accomplishments. He includes me in most things he shares with his dad and he seems to appreciate things so much more than he did when he lived at home. We have certainly had our ups and downs but the transformation has been reassuring and I feel that despite any adolescent issues we faced, I did help to mold him into the well rounded individual that he is today. That is definite growth and a reminder that the time I put in to establish our family was worth the heart aches that came along with it or the shortcomings we face as a blended family.
It's like that good old fashioned quote:
So, for all you step parents out there... YOU are making it! Progress is in action as we speak.
I also want to take a brief moment to say that for all the women who have miscarried, this is your day too! At one time there was a dream and a life inside of you and though be it hard, on this day you are a mother too! Take heart.
Speaking of miscarriages, I am passed the safety point with my pregnancy! Baby heart beat is strong, lab work is great and my appetite is up. I'm now 11 weeks today.
The baby is the size of a lime, moving a lot (though I can't feel it) and all of its bodily functions are in effect. The baby is digesting food, urinates, sucks it's thumb, kicks, smells, and can do most other essential things we all do. Toothbuds have formed and if the baby is a boy, he is already producing testosterone. If the baby is a girl, she is already creating eggs that will one day become her own child! Fascinating stuff!
if you want to see my videos, please follow my YouTube channel at:
Thank you for reading everyone and I'll be in touch soon!
"For this child I prayed, and God answered my prayer." -1st Samuel 1:27
Amazingly enough, IVF worked! Of course I had hoped it would work & I believed that it could work but I couldnt have anticipated this feeling... IT WORKED!
Seven days after the embryo transfer, I took an at home pregnancy test. I knew it would probably be inaccurate but I just couldn't wait. A faint line showed up but nevertheless, it was there.
Four days later, I went in for a blood draw. If you go to YouTube and type in my name, Taylor Saad, the video announcement is one of the most recent videos I've posted. Sure enough, I'm pregnant!
For the last 3 weeks I have been going in to my doctors and having ultrasounds done. At this current moment, there is a fetal pole, gestational sac, yolk sac and yes, A HEARTBEAT! (video of heartbeat ultrasound also on YouTube)
Below is an image of what the fetus looks like right now & how big it is. All very exciting! Right now there is a high chance of successful pregnancy to full term, but the faster we get to ten weeks, the better.
In the following weeks, I'll continue to get weekly ultrasounds until they pass me off to an OBGYN. I'm so excited to start feeling kicks and seeing more detail on the ultrasounds!
Right now it's all tender breasts, hunger, bloat, occasional head aches and I'm still undergoing all the meds (including the nightly progesterone injection). Can't wait to get this ball rolling along!
We have chosen our Godmother & I've bought a couple of cute maternity clothes just in time for Mother's Day! This will be the happiest Mother's Day of all!
And of course we continue to pray for those who are yet to receive their miracle!
With the divorce rate at 50%, that means many blended marriages and "step" children to follow..Someone needs to voice this! It's tough! Nitty gritty! Hardcore and without exception of blame! This blog is to not just inform but solidify how difficult, awkward and how severe the power struggle can be as a "step-parent"