The Johnson's - Dan, Jaime, & Declan

An inspiring story of love, family and adoption in our own community.

Jaime and Dan met here in Gilbert, Arizona where Jaime was born and raised. Two weeks after their first date, they were engaged. The true definition of “when you know, you know”. They were married soon after and began building their new life together. Dan served in our military, while Jaime served as the co-pastor at Life Community, the church she grew up in. They were happy, in love and ready to begin creating a family.

Before they knew it, 3 years had passed and although the two of them had built a family with each other, they hadn’t conceived yet. They always imagined that it would just happen as soon as they were ready, but it certainly wasn’t as easy as they thought.

If you’ve found yourself in the world of fertility, you know it’s not for the faint of heart.

But similar to how they felt about each other when they first met, they just knew they were meant to be parents and eventually decided they were going to do whatever it took.

Since IVF (in-vitro fertilization) is the most expensive option and is often not covered by insurance, the Johnson’s opted for less invasive treatments to start. They tried multiple rounds of medication, multiple IUI’s (intrauterine insemination) and still no success.

They were tired, but they didn’t give up hope and before they knew it, Dan has finished school and been offered an incredible job opportunity. So incredible, that IVF (the treatment with the highest price tag, but also the highest success rate) was back on the table.

They completed their first round and it resulted in two healthy embryos that would be implanted in Jaime and hopefully result in a viable pregnancy. Jaime and Dan opted to implant both at the same time to give them the best chance possible. And two weeks later, they received the news.

They were officially pregnant.

One of the embryos attached and based on the initial labs, everything was looking good. Until around 12 weeks when the Johnson’s returned home from vacation. After a traumatic and painful day, Jaime and Dan found out they were having a tubal pregnancy and that the pregnancy could not continue.

Needless to say, the loss Jaime and Dan felt that day brought them to their knees. They knew another round of IVF wasn’t in the cards, but the conviction that they were meant to be parents felt unshakeable. Throughout the process their friends and family has always asked them if they would consider adoption or fostering, but at that time, they were focused on having a biological child.

That being said, they knew God may have other plans and he would make it known when he did.

After they spent some time reflecting, they realized that they had a beautiful life that they needed to share with a child, one way or another, and Jaime and Dan attended their first foster meeting at Christian Family Care Agency in Phoenix. After hearing Jaime and Dan’s story, the agency did not recommend fostering, but instead told Jaime and Dan that private infant adoption seemed like a better fit.

While at first that was hard to hear, they knew that the goal of fostering was reunification, and their goal was to adopt. Before they knew it, they were pivoting again and diving headfirst into the world of private adoption.

Although private adoption seemed to be a better fit for Jaime and Dan, it was by no means a walk in the park. After being certified, they waited from November to June and were starting to feel discouraged.

Then, one hot summer day in Arizona around 4:00 pm, the phone rang. It was a pregnancy counselor at the agency.  She asked Jaime if she would be open to a Native American baby. Without hesitation, Jaime said, “of course!”

She preceded to tell Jaime that a baby boy was born the night before, the birthmother did not know she was pregnant and this morning, she made an adoption plan. After looking at a couple of different families, the counselor told Jaime that she and her boyfriend picked THEM. She asked if they could be there within a couple of hours to sign the paperwork and meet their new son.

Jaime thought the woman on the other end of the phone was kidding. But she leapt into action immediately.

Dan and Jaime got to the hospital as fast as possible and while the nurses were changing shifts, the pregnancy counselor gave them more of the backstory. The baby had no prenatal care, he was born at 35 weeks, but he appeared to be very healthy! The parents had already signed over consent. This was Dan and Jaime’s baby if they said yes.

It was the easiest decision of their life.

Dan and Jaime looked at each other in awe asking themselves, “is this OUR baby?”

They fell in love instantly and named their new baby boy, Declan, which means “Full of Goodness”.

They went home that night, made the most expensive Walmart trip of their lives and spent the night setting up the nursery so that they could bring their son home the next day. When they returned to the hospital the next morning, they had the opportunity to meet the birth parents and what started as a private adoption would soon turn into a lifelong relationship.

Jaime and Dan learned through their experience that things don’t always happen the way you planned, but if you just trust the process, it will turn out better than you could have ever imagined.

Baby Declan is the greatest blessing the Johnson’s have ever received and the three of them still live in Gilbert – happier and more in love than ever.

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