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Big Brother’s Jodi Rollins Reflects on 9-Year Journey to Adopting Daughter Rowan in Personal Essay: ‘Expect the Unexpected’ (Exclusive)

Big Brother's Jodi Rollins Reflects on 9-Year Journey to Adopting Daughter Rowan
Courtesy of Jodi Rollins/Instagram

There is a deep sadness and mourning a woman goes through when she is told she has little or no chance to have her own children. In the meantime, friends that never wanted kids get pregnant with the blink of an eye, celebrities get pregnant at the age of 50, people who don’t even want kids get pregnant — in short, it feels like everyone can get pregnant but you. This kind of sadness can keep you up at night, crying and angry at God, wondering what you did wrong in life to deserve this.

Related: Celebrities Who Have Adopted Children: Angelina Jolie, Thomas Rhett and More

It can be devastating. [For me], it was.

When I got cast on Big Brother [14 in 2012], I was a newlywed of seven months. My husband, [J Rollins], and I were in our early 40s, unable to have our own child. We had seen fertility specialists who told us we had about an 8 percent chance of getting pregnant even with IVF. But we knew if we if we chose adoption, we had nearly a 100 percent chance of having a baby.

Big Brothers Jodi Rollins Reflects on 9-Year Journey to Adopting Daughter Rowan Expect the Unexpected
Courtesy of Jodi Rollins/Instagram

We had no idea how we would pay for it. The average price of a private adoption is the cost of a luxury car. I fantasized about winning BB and using some of that money for our adoption, but we all know that didn’t happen [as I was the first competitor evicted]. It was going to have to be a complete leap of faith.

Related: 'Big Brother' Babies!

Friends and family alike weighed in, sharing horror stories and saying things like, “At your age? Wow, good luck!” Or, “Aren’t your stepkids enough?” “What race will you get?” And the most popular comment: “I knew someone who adopted, and the birth mom changed her mind and took the baby back! What if that happens to you?”

Of course, there were celebratory comments too, but so many people filled our heads with fear and doubt. We had our own doubts. What would it be like to raise someone else’s child? Will we bond? Are we too old? Should we even do this? I was afraid, but I knew I not only wanted to be a mom, I needed to be one.

I started repeating the phrase: “It’s God’s timing, not our own.” I would tell myself this over the next several years.

We dove into the adoption process and found it daunting — not just the cost, but the paperwork. There was so much of it! There were classes, book reports, multiple questionnaires about you, your family, your experiences and your deepest, darkest childhood memories. You had to be fingerprinted, interviewed, checked out by doctors and more. And then, just when you thought you were making progress, you would have to do a portion all over again.

Things came up that slowed our progress — work, my stepkids, finances, family, etc. We had to stop and start again while always reminding ourselves: “God’s timing, not our own.” When we finally completed all of the requirements, we could not believe it. The total time from trying to get pregnant to completing paperwork was nine years.

We saved for the adoption, but if it were not for the generosity of family and friends, we could not have done it.

About four months later, we were “matched” with a birth mom who was due in less than a month. It was such an emotional moment that I burst into tears when our birth mom said, “I choose you.” It felt like we had won the lotto, it was Christmas and our birthdays all at once! Nine years of wondering if this day would ever come had ended in an instant.

Related: Nicole Richie, Jamie Foxx and More Celebrities Who Were Adopted

Our daughter, Rowan, was born healthy and happy on August 6, 2021. We met her within two hours of her birth and took her home from the hospital three days later. Rowan feels like she was meant to be ours. Everything has fallen into place perfectly. It really was true: “God’s timing, not our own.” She is the happiest, most easygoing, adorable baby.

I think back to the fears and doubts I had. They seem silly now. I expected my journey to motherhood to be so different, but as they say in the Big Brother house: “Expect the unexpected.”

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