With the adoption already arranged, Sarah Justice took the birth mother to a doctor’s appointment, where the ultrasound surprised her.
Not one. Not two. But three babies were on the way.
“What does that mean?” Sarah asked the adoption agency.
“Nothing,” officials told her. It’s one pregnancy, one adoption. The Justices would get all three, if they didn’t back out.
Sarah and Andy Justice had been married 3½ years when their local doctor sent them to a specialist in St. Louis.
For somewhere between $30,000 and $60,000, he told them, in vitro fertilization would give them a 10 percent chance of having a baby.
“We took that as a ‘no,’ ” Andy said. “So we started the adoption process.”
But that didn’t turn out to be so easy either.
After looking at their “Life Book” to see what kind of home Sarah and Andy would provide, some birth mothers wanted to meet them in person, basically interviewing them for the job of parenting.
Two or three times, a mother picked them.
“Then they changed their minds,” Sarah said. “It was very hard to get our hopes up like that and then be disappointed and have to start all over.”
After finally arranging an adoption, they wanted more children but didn’t want to go through that process again.
With triplets, they wouldn’t have to.
“Wow! This is great,” Sarah thought. “It’s everything we wanted.”
Born two months early and weighing only 3 pounds each, the babies were still in neonatal intensive care when Sarah left for her own doctor’s appointment.
He confirmed her suspicion. She was pregnant.
Maybe the adoption wasn’t necessary after all?
“We wouldn’t give up these babies for anything,” Sarah said, shaking her head.
“Besides,” Andy added, “maybe it’s all connected.”
With an adoption in place, couples can relax. Stress goes away. Conceiving becomes easier.
“We really felt this was something God wanted us to do,” Sarah said. “And sometimes, when you follow God’s will in one thing, it leads to the next thing.”
Toward the end of July, when the triplets were a couple of months old, Sarah went for a sonogram to find out the sex of the new baby. Then she called her husband to tell him.
“One is a boy,” she said.
Andy had been teasing Sarah about having twins. Now it was no joke.
“That’ll teach me to keep my mouth shut,” he said, laughing.
“No, really, we were very happy. Did we panic a little? Of course. But we were very happy.”
In a modest ranch-style home in east Tulsa, Sarah and Andy have gone from zero babies to five in less than a year.
Joel and his biological sisters, Hannah and Elizabeth, just turned 9 months old.
Abigail and Andrew are almost eight weeks.
Hannah and Elizabeth wear different bows in their hair to help adults tell them apart. And, along with Joel, they’ve been sleeping through the night lately, letting Abigail and Andrew get all the nocturnal attention.
“We don’t sleep much, obviously,” Andy said. “We don’t sit down much either.”
A dozen friends and family members have set up a weekly rotation to help Sarah while Andy goes to work.
Their congregation at Eastland Baptist Church keeps them supplied with cooked meals.
And while the babies average 40 to 50 dirty diapers a day — that’s more than 300 a week — Sarah and Andy haven’t paid for a single one.
“They’ve all been donated so far,” Andy said. “We’ve been very, very blessed.”
The twins were sleeping, one cuddled in her grandmother’s lap, the other in Andy’s arms.
Two of the triplets played quietly while the other napped in a crib.
It was quiet enough to hear the wind in the trees outside.
“Believe me,” Andy said. “It’s not always like this around here.”