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By Jody Kerzman

“The story isn’t going how you planned, but that isn’t a reason to stop trusting that the story has a plan “ – Ann Voskamp

Jessica Evenson’s story has not gone according to her plan. After two easy pregnancies, she and her husband Jeff decided to try for one more baby.

“It was 2011. Our son Rylan was born in 2006, and our daughter Jordyn in 2008, so we were ready for another baby,” recalls Jessica. “But we had some infertility issues and we were told it would be nearly impossible for us to get pregnant again without in vitro. We decided to take a step back and look at adoption. A month later, we were pregnant.”

Even though there were no medical reasons to believe anything was wrong with the baby, Jessica and Jeff were cautiously optimistic and didn’t tell many people they were expecting. The pregnancy was uneventful, until week 37.

“I didn’t feel her move one day,” remembers Jessica. “But we were moving into a new house in a new town and I just figured I was busy and didn’t notice.”

The next day, Jessica still didn’t feel the baby move, so she went to the doctor.

“They couldn’t find a heartbeat. We weren’t given a reason, we were just told she was gone. It didn’t matter to us anyway. We didn’t need to know all the ‘whys.’”

Jessica delivered baby Brynn on October 17, 2011. While they mourned her death, both Jessica and Jeff still knew their family wasn’t complete.

“We knew trying to have our own was out of the question. I had a debilitating back injury with my last pregnancy, and that whole pregnancy was really hard on me. It just wasn’t worth it and the chance of us even getting pregnant again was pretty impossible. Brynn was a miracle baby.

“I was kind of lost for awhile. I left my job, stayed home with the kids for awhile, and then started a different job. I just didn’t know what to do.”

Four years later, on the drive home from Brynn’s birthday celebration in Bismarck, the subject of adoption came up.

“We weren’t sure it was for us, but we did know we needed to explore it. We were very skeptical, but thought this is how we’re going to complete our family. Adoption was always on the table, even before Brynn.”

The couple met with an agency in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and on February 23, 2016 signed the paperwork to get the adoption process started. They were told the wait for a baby would likely be at least six to 12 months.

“Over the next month we started to get all of the requirements done but we were in no rush. One month later we learned of Camden. We met his birth mother a few days later and three weeks before he was born, we were officially matched. Seventy-seven days after we started our adoption journey, on May 10, Camden entered this world screaming at 9 lbs 1 oz and 21 inches long. His birth mother invited me into the room and I watched my son being born.”

From his very first breath, Camden changed Jessica’s life.

“Before he came into our family, we were pretty lost in terms of everything that had happened to our family. Doors just kept closing and nothing seemed to go our way.  Camden brought us hope, joy, and happiness. He didn’t replace anyone. He has shown us that God is good and there can be hope and joy, even after tragedy. He is the joy of our lives. He has brought smiles back to our faces.”

Camden’s adoption is an open adoption and Jessica keeps in contact with his birth mom. She sends her books of pictures every month and texts her every few weeks.

“It’s nice to have the communication with her, especially when there are questions about things like food allergies. We got together with her last fall and she got to see Camden. We want her to be a part of his life. He will have questions someday that I won’t be able to answer, so if she wants a relationship with Camden, we are willing.

“I admire her. It’s hard as a mom to understand how she could love someone so much that she chose a better life for him. It was hard when she left the hospital. I could see she loved him so much. It wasn’t that she didn’t want him. It was that she wanted something better for him.”

That she chose Jessica to raise her son is something Jessica celebrates every day. Camden wasn’t originally part of her plan, but she says he was an unexpected change of plans that has filled her heart and brought smiles to the whole family.

“Many have told Camden how lucky he is to be part of our family. I always tell them we are the lucky ones.”