Luisa and Jarrett met when they were students at Loras College and married in 2013. Early in their marriage, Jarrett and Luisa talked about adoption as it held a special significance in Jarrett’s life with his dad being adopted as well as his three sisters.
“It’s something we discussed and were open to the possibility after we had children and we knew what we were doing as parents,” laughed Luisa.
Luisa admitted, though, that she had a lot of fears about adoption. “I didn’t dive into it. I wasn’t there yet. Jarrett, being the holy man he is, didn’t push. He knew that if it was God’s will, He would lead us on the journey,” said Luisa.
In May 2016, they were elated to learn they had conceived twin boys. When Luisa was 21 weeks along, she started experiencing some discomfort. She shrugged it off as typical aches and pains due to carrying twins, but later that evening she went into labor. Their circumstances were challenging because most hospitals aren’t equipped to care for babies less than 22-23 weeks old. Luisa and Jarrett turned to prayer and asked all of their family and friends to pray. After a series of circumstances filled with God’s grace, they found themselves flying to Iowa City where the University of Iowa Hospitals agreed to take them. Immediately after the boys were born, Jarrett baptized them while Luisa and the doctor held them in their hands. The doctors were unable to stabilize Joseph so Jarrett and Luisa walked him to Heaven.
They were blessed to spend six days showering their love upon Matthew for as long as his tiny body was able to live. When the time came, they too walked Matthew to Paradise.
A year after Joseph and Matthew passed, Luisa received an email from a mother of a close high school friend. She was writing to tell Luisa about a prayer experience she was having. She explained that she kept waking up at 2 am with a deep desire to pray for Luisa. While she was praying for Luisa, the message of adoption kept coming to her. She was scared to tell this to Luisa. She didn’t know how Luisa felt about adoption. However, the prayer experience continued to happen. She couldn’t ignore it any longer and felt God wanted her to share this with Luisa.
Luisa was grateful for the email. She pondered its meaning and asked God about it. However, Luisa and Jarrett were on a different journey at this time. They were seeking medical help and trying to figure out why Luisa went into pre-term labor and how they could prevent it from happening again if God blessed them with another pregnancy.
In 2018, the couple conceived again. They were able to see their baby’s strong heartbeat at a 7-week ultrasound. Everything was going well. Luisa was starting to show and her hormone levels were high. When they went to their 11-week appointment, they received the devastating news that their baby girl, Chiara, no longer had a heartbeat. Luisa and Jarrett were saddened and shocked. With tears in his eyes, her doctor hugged Luisa and offered his condolences. On their way out of the office, the doctor’s wife also hugged them and conveyed her sorrow for their loss.
There were no words; however, Luisa found herself responding by saying, “I know God loves us very much.”
“Those were the words of the Holy Spirit,” said Luisa.
They left the doctor’s office and visited the Adoration chapel of a nearby church. “While we were gazing upon Jesus, we were praising God and thanking Him for our baby’s life while grieving our loss and feeling very sad with sorrow,” said Luisa. “It was during this time of prayer when I heard the whisper of adoption in my heart. I turned to Jarrett and asked, ‘Honey, what about adoption?’ Jarrett’s eyes got really big and he said, ‘Really? I just had the same thought. I wasn’t going to say anything, though, since we are grieving.’”
Luisa said it was a joyous moment. In their sadness and grief, they felt hope. God had a plan for them.
Next week, you’ll read how Luisa and Jarrett heard God’s voice in part 2 of “The Gift of Adoption.”