Like most mothers, Amber Jordan’s joy is evident as she holds her young baby, Willow June, in her arms. There is a twinkle in her eye, a smile on her face and softness in her touch as she and her baby connect on a deep level.
But unlike most mothers, Jordan’s journey to motherhood has been an 11-year path of ups and downs.
More than a decade ago Jordan was diagnosed with stage three colorectal cancer. She knew she wanted children, so Jordan consulted with a physician before she underwent cancer treatment. The physician gave her six weeks to go through in vitro fertilization (IVF) before cancer treatments would begin.
IVF is a complex, sometimes painful series of procedures used to help fertility and assist with the conception of a child. During IVF, mature eggs are collected from ovaries and fertilized by sperm in a lab. Jordan performed the IVF at Baylor University.
Jordan beat cancer but unfortunately could not have children.
Her faith and desire for a child remained strong, so in 2018 she posted asking for prayers in her situation on social media.
“I told my story and asked for prayers for either the door to open up and this actually happens or the door be closed, and I have peace with it,” Jordan said.
The door opened.
A childhood friend who lives in Pearland, Texas shared it with ladies of her church and made a connection.
“She gave me Ryan’s number, and I called her,” Jordan said. “It was like I have known her my entire life.”
Jordan traveled to Davis’ home in Texas and met with her and her family. They discussed scenarios on Davis becoming a surrogate for Jordan.
After the initial meeting, Davis’ father’s battle with cancer intensified and sadly, he passed away Sept. 2018.
Several months after Davis’ father passed away, Jordan reached out to her again.
“I talked to her, and she said ‘I’m ready if you are,’” Jordan said. “We hit the ground running in Jan. 2019.”
Not only was the IVF process complicated but also the legal process.
In the eyes of Louisiana, the woman who gives birth to a baby is the mother, so a surrogate could ultimately decide to break an agreement and keep the child, and the biological parents would have no legal recourse. Legally in Louisiana, Jordan would have to adopt her own child.
Under Texas surrogacy law, the intended parents, not the gestational mother, are the legal parents of a child born to a surrogate mother if all parties enter into a validated gestational agreement at least 14 days before the embryo is transferred to the surrogate mother.
Both Jordan and Davis decided Texas would be a better state to have Willow June. Jordan would not be allowed to have a surrogate in Louisiana because the biological father and her were not married anymore.
Through the process, the two families’ bonds grew and would become one family.
“She helped me bring her into this world,” Jordan said. “(Davis) is a beautiful soul. They are part of my family now.”
Davis, 38, and her husband, Michael, have one child together, Paisley. Michael has a son, Ashton, from a previous marriage.
Jordan described the pregnancy as “good” and attributed the smooth pregnancy to Davis’ calm demeanor.
“She is very laid back,” Jordan said. “Nothing really ever bothered her. We always had a really good friendship (during the pregnancy). It was just an awesome experience.”
Willow June was eight pounds, seven ounces when she was born 10 days early.
Jordan described the labor process as almost dreamlike.
“It was surreal,” Jordan said. “I couldn’t grasp this was really happening. I guess because I wanted this for so long. This is my miracle baby.”
As Willow June grows to be a young woman, she will be blessed. Like everyone, her life journey will have its ups and downs, but unlike most people she will have the love and support from multiple families who love her and helped bring her into the world.
Willow June: the miracle baby whose journey has just begun.