My story starts simply; I fell in love with a man. Who at one point in his life, before me, fought for his life. He was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. His fight for life was hard - because of this fight his chances of naturally producing biological children were slim. I remember him telling me, his voice cracking with fear. His hand in my hand as he told me. I remember laying on the dock that summer night as we talked and prayed about our future. God was moving mountains then. It all started on a boat dock. We promised each other many things that night. That night we promised, no matter what, we would always fight the hard fight for our family together. I didn’t know then the power of those words and what they really meant.... I do now.
Our wedding day came; it was quite seriously the best day of my life to that point. We pledged our love and devotion to each other. We celebrated with 300 of our closest friends and family. But when it was all done I was finally married to my best friend.
Like many couples, after we were married and settled we started to chat about kids. Our desires were to have a large family. We prayed HARD that God would direct our paths. The first two years of our marriage were filled with doctor appointments - needles - shreds of hope following each appointment- medications - despair - month after month having negative tests - tears. So many tears. At the end of the day it was him and me, hand in hand trusting God.
We remember it clearly... that moment when God hits you with a 2x4.... it was during what we would classify as the most awkward doctor appointment of our life. The doctor sat in front of us explaining how he could surgically and microscopically attempt to remove parts of my husband to possibly start us for the next step.
We walked hand in hand back to our car laughing - we laughed so hard the tears were streaming down our faces. There was no way we were moving forward with what this doctor was purposing. We had prayed numerous times that if God wanted us to end what we were doing to make it very clear! Following that appointment, it was clear to us that where we were was not where we were supposed to be. So now what??
As hilarious and uncomfortable as it was, there was something that still lingered... the feeling of wanting a child. The pain of infertility set in strong for me. Infertility stole so much from me - it still does. During this time, it stole not only my hope, my joy, but it also stole a part of who I am… a part of who we were. I could not attend baby showers - you don’t understand I could not physically attend them. I blocked people from my life. I cried every time someone complained about being pregnant. No one knew what I was going through. Grant and I would escape frequently - we’d go on vacation just so we could have an excuse to shut off our phones, stop seeing people in our lives. We started to unintentionally distance ourselves from the people we love the most. Even today, as I write those words of truth the pain stings... my heart is breaking and the tears are flowing.
The pain of infertility is something that is raw and STRONG. Even today I don’t know when the feelings will creep up and steal my emotions – it can happen at any point. Infertility was something that we needed to face. We had to grieve and grieve we did.
So there we were with our arms in the air to God. We were upset, hurt and feeling defeated. We boldly spoke to Him. We knew our next step was going to be when He directed it. So what did we do? Something every insane couple does, we visited/chatted with 12 different adoption agencies. We got really good at firing the questions and asking the hard stuff. My introvert of a husband got a big, passionate voice. We knew we were in for the wait of our lives. And so it all began. We quietly, without telling people, started the process of a Home Study. People ask us today why we did it without anyone knowing, why we didn’t let people in on this piece of the process. What I can tell you is that we needed this to be our time. It was a time that was so personal, it was something so surreal and yet so exciting. Paperwork, who in their right mind wants to fill out all of that paperwork!? I did. He did. We did. To put into words why we wanted a family, what our faith looked like, how we thought we would raise our children, it was personal, it was something that we needed to write out, we needed to convict ourselves to.
When someone comes into your home and starts asking you questions and those answers get written up into a formal report that pretty much everyone sees it’s like laying there on the table with your legs in the stirrups for the world to see and judge. At any point someone who read this report could have said “nope, they’re not worthy to be parents. Deny them.” And it would have all been over. We were raw. We took a break from the paperwork and we focused back on us. We secretly went to the police station together; no joke it was a part of a lunch date we set together. We sat there and complied with the fingerprint master as I called him. We started to tell our family and finally we announced it to the world. We were an active family ready to be shown...and the wait began.
Infertility took a lot from us. It crushed us, made us feel defeated, took away hope, stole dreams we had, it stared at us every single month. But it also gave us so much more. As we began the adoption process we vowed to focus on our marriage. We were intentional about how we communicated. We’ve grown stronger and stronger ever since then.
Infertility gave me a sisterhood. There are women who share shoes with me. I love each of them. They are a part of me now.
Infertility gave us a perspective that I think only 1/3 of couples have. Y’all 15% of couples struggle with infertility. It’s heartbreaking and really expensive. But ultimately infertility made me a mom. The picture you see is the moment when our social worker handed us this baby boy. Most people look at this photo and see my tears. They instantly think about how in that moment my tears were for me and for my family.
I have to admit something. Those tears, they were for the brokenness that is adoption. You see as our Social Worker handed me this baby boy I instantly became a mom. This little boy immediately took on our inheritance. He inherited our last name, our worldly possessions, he became ours. He would become a part of the kingdom of Heaven with us. He was ours. But that is all because a woman - gave birth to him and placed him for adoption. She left a hospital with empty arms and a broken heart. This is not how it is supposed to be. She should have walked out of that hospital with him, not me. This was not and is not lost on me. The tears I shed in that moment were filled with guilt, joy, sorrow, peace, and brokenness.
My prayer has been and continues to be that for those who are in the thick of it – the place that is so hard, that I remember so well - that peace overwhelms you. That as you see the next pregnancy announcement it does not crush you for days. That you and your spouse are growing together and not a part and that if you’re in a place of needing something or someone to speak out. This pain is so real. Jesus loves you in this pain. He is there for you and He’s set people up to also be there for you.
Adoption made me a mom. Brokenness made me a mom. Some day, God willing, I will get to hug the neck of the woman whom I love so deeply. But for today I love her silently, without her knowing. That woman is my hero – she deserves the world. I could never do what she did that day and continues to do. I love you E, you’re my hero and some day, when you’re ready, I cannot wait to tell you that.