Category Archives: Jennings Paige Adoption Stories

Around mid-2011, I got a text from this guy. It was all stiff and formal. Like “Hi Jennings. This is Dave’s friend, Ryan.” 😐 like that was it. But I was in this giggly silly mood that day, and my first thought was Hudson’s middle name is Ryan. This guy is named Ryan. So I texted him back, “Ryan!  Let’s get married!  That way my son’s middle name will match your first name! 😁👍🏻”

And then?  Nothing. Bitter silence. One heartbeat later when I didn’t see the …typing…dot dot dot… thing, I wrote him off as a humorless tool and went about my business editing photos. I always thought my friend Sabrina’s husband, Dave, was a funny guy, but his friend was sure boring. Oh well. Also, I had no room for men who weren’t awesome in my world back then.  I was 30 years old, still young and fun and full of good and bad ideas.  The politician was texting me at the same time wanting to take me out again, but I wasn’t really feeling it. Then there was the old guy I couldn’t seem to get rid of. He made me laugh, so I put up with the rest of it. In any case, I wasn’t desperate for any boring losers with no sense of humor. So I forgot about Dave’s square friend. Ryan Squarepants missed out. Too bad for him.
Hud’s middle name really is Ryan, though. I can’t tell you why I wanted him to have that name. I just liked it, and I liked the way it sounded with Hudson. Before I adopted him, and before he was born, I was discussing his name with his birthmother and told her I wanted it to be Hudson Ryan. She liked the Hudson part, but said she always liked the name Ryder. I wanted to let her make that decision and give him his middle name, but I am just not a mom to a Ryder. I insisted on Ryan, and she didn’t mind. I still think that’s a classy, smart-sounding name. It doesn’t really go with Hudson’s personality, but the boy has a good name at least. He was a year and a half old and had recently been abandoned by my first husband, who had some sort of mental breakdown before Hudson was even a year old. I was thinking of all that stuff during the short text exchange with Ryan. Although I wasn’t serious about the boring guy in San Diego, I was thinking how nice it is when a child is named after their father, and their father is a good dad. My kids didn’t have a dad, which is so weird considering how much trouble it was for my ex to adopt them and become their dad in the first place – but enough about Voldemort, this story is about Ryan and Hudson.
Anyway, three days later, my phone totally blew up with text after text after text. All from Ryan Squarepants, of all people. Turns out he texted me on the way up a mountain in San Diego where he and Dave were going to camp. He asked for my number and texted hello right before losing cell service for the duration of the camping trip.  He got my funny marriage proposal text and realized quite a few texts later that his responses weren’t going through.  So while I was writing him off as the lamest dude on the planet cuz he couldn’t take a joke, he was trying to joke and talk right back. His responses were really funny, actually, when I finally got them three (years) days later. They started in the middle of a 3-day-old conversation all chatty and full of lol’s and stuff. Normal.  The dude was normal. Then his texts became one-sided on his end and he texted that I probably wasn’t getting these messages. Then he started worrying about that (as he should have because he was already dead to me by then) and finally he set off on a five-mile hike to the top of a mountain peak somewhere around San Diego to see if he could get cell service to send the messages. He said it was a nice hike, but no luck on service. None of the messages came through until they drove back down the mountain to civilization and cell service.  As another fellow camping lover, it was easy to forgive Ryan for his silent treatment.  By the time I was done reading all of his messages, I changed my mind about him completely. He wasn’t boring. He WAS funny, and charming, and smart and nice. I liked him after all. A lot, as it turned out.
To make a long story short, he asked me out. We met at Disneyland and had the best first date ever. He moved for me, he proposed, we got married and he adopted the kids. Now, no kidding, Hudson is named after his dad, who he didn’t even meet until he was almost two years old. Now, all I need is some film clips to go with some photos of Ryan and Hudson together.  They look alike, too, which is super weird.  No one would ever guess our kids are adopted by looking, or that Ryan is actually the most recent addition to our family.  But life is strange and wonderful like that, isn’t it?
I have many a story about my funny little family. This is just one of them. I want to help you tell your family story. One day, it will make the very best memories for yourself and your family.  You need a Storybook Session, just to remind you what your family was like at this time in your lives.  You think you have all this time, but here we are 6 years later, and I honestly don’t have that many good pictures of Hudson and Ryan.  But this sequence….takes my breath away.  It was shot by the fabulously talented Toki Lee in Pasadena in 2014.  Hudson was 4 and Gracie was 8.  Their adoption became official the following year, but Ryan was the kids’ father from the day they met.  He was always meant to be the one.  This photo sequence is printed on a beautiful canvas in Hudson’s room where he can see it every day and know how loved he is.
Do you have an interesting or entertaining story about your family?  If so, we would love to hear it. Introducing new monthly storybook session giveaways for the family with the best story that we can feature on the blog or website. Text 805-490-1180 for more details. Win a free storybook session with me and a pro videographer and keep the slideshow!  Giveaway also includes a huge spending credit for anything we offer!

All of my children have come to me quite magically.  My mom gave me the birds and the bees talk about how babies are made when I was in third grade.  I learned all about it in health class, and since I was always obsessed with the subject of babies, I went out of my way to read books on obstetrics and childbirth and babies when I was young.  I always knew how babies were made, but it turns out that’s nothing like how I got my two babies.  I think my next baby will be just as magical.

So here’s my whole post, in a nutshell.  I was infertile.  I became friends with Sabrina, who recommended Dr. Hubert to me.  He became my doctor.  His efforts did not result in a baby.  I adopted Gracie Makana.  Four years later, Gracie’s birthfather made a half-sibling with another woman.  I adopted that baby – Hudson Ryan.  Sabrina’s husband’s best friend Ryan texted me one day when I was a single mom.  I liked that my son’s middle name matched his first name.  I fell in love with him and then I married him.  He’s adopting Gracie and Hudson.

I said before that infertility blows.  And it does.  But now I think, if I hadn’t been infertile, I’d be a sad single mom to my ex-husband Voldemort’s kids.  They’d be ugly, probably, and the girls would have endometriosis and the boys would have mental health issues.  I wouldn’t have met my best friend, Sabrina.  I wouldn’t have met Ryan or Gracie or Hudson or any of the people in my life….  It’s really a good thing I had raging endometriosis.  It was worth it.

When I adopted Gracie, I was already best friends with Sabrina.  She used a surrogate and ended up having triplets just before I adopted Gracie.  By that time, I was married to Voldemort and had completed two cycles of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and had had two surgeries to clean out my raging stage 4 endometriosis.  Voldemort and I borrowed a lot of money to pay for another cycle of  IVF and the cost of a private domestic infant adoption.  I was paying the fertility clinic and the adoption attorney at the same time, hoping to get a baby as fast as humanly possible.  I didn’t like the idea of waiting 9 months to grow my own baby.  I just wanted any baby, like yesterday.  So I was hedging my bets, see. As was always the case with my fertility treatments, we had problems right away.  The IVF cycle couldn’t even begin.  I developed a huge cyst inside one of my ovaries, that I lovingly named Pedro.  And this cyst, Pedro, looked just like an alien from Mars Attacks with a big head and small eyes and a mouth.


He was kind of a cute cyst, but I had to kill him.  We scheduled surgery #3 while I busied myself filling out adoption paperwork and completing the first steps of a home study.  I made a cute resume for our attorney to give to potential birthmoms, and I put together the world’s coolest Hawaiian nursery for my upcoming baby, wherever it came from. Five weeks after we met with the attorney and signed the retainer agreement, the lawyer called to tell us we had been chosen by a birthmother in Las Vegas, and she was 7 months pregnant and both bio parents wanted to meet us.  A week later, my ex and I were in Vegas at the Hilton Benihana, becoming friends with Gracie’s birthparents over dinner.  We found out our baby was a girl, and every single hope and dream I’d ever had for myself was fulfilled when Gracie Makana was born on January 8, 2006.

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We spent a week in Vegas waiting for our clearances, then all the papers were signed and we took her home to be our daughter forever.  Compared to my struggles with infertility and endometriosis, adoption was a walk in the park.  All my fears about the process turned out to be unfounded.  The birthmother never changed her mind or even scared me that she might.  Both birthparents signed the adoption papers 72 hours after the birth, right on time, with big smiles on their faces.  We got our interstate clearance, took our 6 lbs of love home to California, and lived happily ever after (well, at least until my ex turned crazy and became a homeless eternal victim and never recovered – but Gracie and I stayed happy and together the whole time). When we adopted Hudson four years after Gracie, his adoption was even easier!  Our adoption attorney called one day when my husband had just sold his company and we happened to have a few hundred thousand dollars that had just been wire transferred into our account, to tell me that Gracie’s birthfather had impregnated another woman, who also wanted to place the baby for adoption.  A biological half-sibling to Gracie!   That call came after I’d had 2 more surgeries to clean up my endo, three more IVF cycles which resulted in two ectopic (tubal) pregnancies that had to be terminated, and a blighted ovum pregnancy, which is when a pregnancy and embryonic sac forms in the uterus, but with no baby inside.  Those sucked.  Then I had a hysterectomy.  Then my ex sold his business, then I got this phone call.  Literally the same morning we got paid, the attorney called to tell me about this baby and asked if we wanted to adopt him.  Ummmmm yes???  We met his birthmother in Encino, where she lived until after Hudson was born.  We moved to Thousand Oaks 4 days before Hudson was born – on January 15, 2010.  We paid cash for his adoption (imagine that) and brought him home from the hospital at 6 days old. Easy!  And he is, by the way, the love of my life.  My cuddly mama’s boy who needs me and tells me every day “Mom, I wuv you sooooo much.  I will never weave you.”  haha.  He’s just a ball of love and joy, that one.Jennings Paige Horse Ranch Thousand Oaks 09

Now, they have a WAY BETTER father, too.  Ryan was the dad they always had coming to them, but none of us expected how or when or under what circumstances.  As Garth sings, “some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers”.