‘I never thought I’d be a dad’: One family’s parenthood journey

Editor’s note: This story discusses miscarriage and fertility struggles.

It’s estimated that about 140,000 children are adopted by American families each year. In August, Best Buy employee Mike Mamula and his wife, Shay, became one of those families with the adoption of their first child, Bodhi.

“In a million years, I never thought I’d be a dad,” Mike said. “I thought I was going to end up being the fun uncle to all my best friends’ kids.”

For Mike and Shay, the road to parenthood was a long one. The couple had been trying to conceive since 2017.

After countless rounds of tests on both Mike and Shay and many 10-hour, roundtrip drives to the nearest fertility clinic from their home in Rapid City, South Dakota, they decided to pursue intrauterine insemination (IUI) procedures. When those didn’t take, the couple explored in vitro fertilization (IVF).

IVF is not an easy process, nor inexpensive. The average cost of IVF in the U.S. is between $11,000 and $12,000 per treatment. While the cost would have usually held Mike and Shay back from pursuing IVF, they discovered Best Buy’s health benefits would cover up to $15,000 for medical and pharmacy expenses. Knowing that, the couple decided to go for it.

Shay became pregnant but, unfortunately, experienced a miscarriage shortly after. At that point, Mike said they were physically and mentally exhausted.

“I wish there was more focus on the men when it comes to IVF and pregnancy struggles,” he said. “Guys get left out, no one really talks about how you’re doing, or your mental state. It was a mental-heavy thing.”

Adoption becomes an option

After taking some time to mourn the loss of their pregnancy, the couple began to consider adoption.

“We’ve never been against adoption,” Mike said. “We know there are so many kids in foster homes who need that mother or father figure, but [our adoption journey] fell into our lap.”

It was around this time Mike and Shay received a call from a close family friend who had become pregnant. She was hoping to place the child in a loving home and knew Mike and Shay were hoping to adopt.

Fast-forward seven months, and Bodhi arrived seven weeks ahead of schedule. After a few weeks of monitoring Bodhi in the hospital, Mike and Shay were able to take him home the day before Valentine’s Day.

“It was the best gift ever. I don’t know how we were blessed with such a happy kid.”

Best Buy employee Mike Mamula

Since bringing him home, Mike and Shay are loving parenthood and watching Bodhi grow. They can’t wait to take him on trips in the future and see what kind of person he’ll become.

Bodhi’s adoption was finalized in August. Mike says they again received assistance from Best Buy during the legal adoption process thanks to the adoption reimbursement benefit.

Throughout this experience, Mike has been blown away by the company’s support. He says it was thanks to his general manager, David Synder, that he learned about the benefits available. David’s support also allowed Mike the flexibility and time away he needed to go through this fatherhood journey.

“This is important, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” David said. “I always want to do anything I can to help [Mike] or other employees with what’s most important: their family and life outside of work.”

Mike hopes other employees will take advantage of the resources and benefits available if they’re looking for ways to become parents.

“We couldn’t have done this without Best Buy benefits,” he said. “If other employees have the problems me and my wife face, there are options to get you that little one and help you grow your family.”

However you decide to grow your family, Best Buy offers benefits to support you and your loved ones. Click here to learn more about careers at Best Buy.