When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in it’s place. – C.S. Lewis
We weren’t the couple that felt called to adoption.
We weren’t even the couple that had a random conversation about adoption.
In that beautiful and heady arrogance of youth, we thought we had total control over when and how we wanted to start a family…., and very quickly we got pregnant with no thought that for other couples pregnancy could be a difficult venture to embark on. No no no. For us it was as easy as……. well,
My first pregnancy started without a hitch. I had been so sure going into my pregnancy that I wouldn’t experience some of the negatives that come with building another person inside your body. I was going to be the exception to the rule, the one that says, “You are now pregnant, say hello to morning puke sessions, weird cravings, random body aches and stretch marks.” I would conquer and glow like a beautiful and ethereal Beyonce, in as much as this pasty white girl could ever glow like a beautiful and ethereal Beyonce. And things went swimmingly for me in that first trimester. I glowed. I didn’t puke. Indeed, I felt as if I had developed legit superpowers, what with my heightened sense of smell and my sensitivity to pretty much everything. I was on the path to being able to pity my morning sickness plagued friends with a smuggy smirk and a, “Wow, that must really suck!” verbal comfort pat, all the while congratulating myself on how I just simply conquered this whole pregnancy thing.
Then that 20 week scan happened.
And it really sucked.
All of my illusions of perfection and power just melted into another hemisphere that I couldn’t possibly travel to. We were told that our perfect little girl was going to die.
There are countless numbers of emotions, fears, anxieties, hopes, prayers, bouts of angry pillow smashing and crying in the bathtub jags that I won’t share here, just know that they happened and our journey through grief is a whole other story. If you are interested you can find that story here.
We carried our baby girl to 36 wks, amidst her health problems and my many health problems that developed during my pregnancy with her (i.e., gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, etc). My amazing baby girl made it through that entire pregnancy and passed away during birth. To this day I am so proud of her and proud of us. Through the grief of losing her to the fierce love that she has developed in us, we are forever changed.
Needless to say, my confidence in my ability to control my world was seriously shaken by the birth and loss of our daughter. We forged ahead and easily got pregnant again 6 months after losing our Edyth, only to lose that baby via miscarriage at 8 weeks. By this time we felt broken, isolated, and so incredibly sad, all the while watching our friends grow their families around us seemingly so easily. And to add insult to injury… we developed what is called Secondary Infertility.
What. The. Hell
Needless to say, we were in shock. From one fertility appointment to the next. One invasive test after another. It felt like my body couldn’t take anymore, and truly my heart was just so darn broken. I needed healing before I could even think of how to love another child, biological or otherwise. But I felt my clock ticking (that darn bio clock!) and I was so afraid that God didn’t want us to have babies. That it was God closing my womb to make me miserable, because I didn’t deserve to be a mother. Dustin and I attended our first informational meeting with an adoption agency and walked away feeling overwhelmed and even more alone. The woman giving the meeting had four of her own biological children and her and her husband felt “called” to adopt a child from another country. There was no meeting of the minds about this scenario. Did all of these people sitting around us feel called to adoption? What does that even mean? We just wanted a baby to fill the hole inside us.
Which presents a problem. A big one. My heart wasn’t really ready to love with empathy and compassion another child that wasn’t my beautiful, but dead, daughter. Not to mention my really corrupt view of God’s love for Dustin and I.
We walked away from the adoption conversation and didn’t look back for another two years. In that time I was diagnosed with a thyroid condition that had some serious effects on my reproductive system. Basically keeping me from ovulating every month…, making a viable pregnancy that much harder to attain.
Again, we went down the rabbit hole of despair and hopelessness. Again, I grasped at adoption as the only way to make our family. It was my last resort. And I ask you, what child in the history of this universe, wants to be known as a last resort? I wasn’t intentionally being selfish…, but I was a broken and hurting woman in need of help and healing, I couldn’t see that my thought process was in need of repair.
I pushed for us to consider adoption again, but Dustin wasn’t ready and once again I saw my dream of building a family fizzle and float away, just like that weedy dandelion spreading it’s insidious seed all over my lawn.
I’m going to take a time out here to explain why I’m sharing the sad crappy stuff. I’m sharing it because it’s our real story. This road has been a bit bumpy for us, and I guess that’s due to the fact that it’s a life road that doesn’t have an end point yet, and it includes lots of stops to dirty roadside restroom breaks and dingy diners with grease stained menus. It’s our story. It’s painful. It’s beautiful. And all over it’s ear-marked with God’s grace, though I am not always able to see that.
For the first time, I started to get the idea that my frame of thinking needed some adjusting. More than that, I could see that it wasn’t just my frame of thinking that needed help. I needed help period. I couldn’t let go of the way I thought things should have been. My daughter should be alive. I should be healthy. We should be able to get pregnant again. This shouldn’t be hard. My “should’s” were blocking my view to any other possibilities. With a lot (I mean, A LOT) of trepidation I beat a path to one of the greatest privileges of our time. Therapy.
Therapy has been helpful, horrible, enlightening, healing, painful, life changing.
As I began to heal inside, I started to see the possibilities outside. I started to see that Dustin and I could be enough just as we were. That we weren’t forgoing a future and a purpose because we didn’t have children. We had a whole world open to us, for travel for adventure, for life. I could live. I didn’t die that day with my daughter, and instead of that being a curse, I started to see my life as a life worth living. I started to do the impossible thing of being thankful for my infertility. More importantly, I started to see that God loved us.., that we weren’t being punished. This wasn’t, and hasn’t been an easy transition and we are by no means finished with the yellow brick road yet, the Emerald City is still off in the distance. This road is fraught with sheer messiness. I’m messy. Dustin is messy. But we are messy people who have hope.
Adoption was firmly on the shelf. I knew that Dustin wasn’t ready and I told God that it needed to be Dustin that made the first step onto the adoption train, because I was tired of trying to be the engine that propelled us in this area. I don’t know if any of you out there are like me, but when I think I can’t have something…, I put it in a dusty drawer on a mental shelf that I don’t visit, so I can hopefully forget about that particular longing, or desire.
To desire in vain is a very desperate thing indeed.
I was really, really tired of desperate things.
Late last year Dustin came home from a Bible Study group that he’s been going to for about 10 years now, with a big grin on a his face. He started talking to me about adoption. Adoption! He talked about it being something he wants to look into and learn more about, and do. What?! I was so thrown by this sudden “I’m Ready!” that I went into a tailspin of doubt and anxiety. Am I ready? Is this even what I want? I don’t know…, I don’t even know! Immediately I started researching the internet like PMS on chocolate. I needed to know everything. The good. The bad. Everything. Unfortunately, you start looking for the negatives and you get way more cons than pros in your comparative list. There’s a lot of discouraging stories out there. But here’s the thing. You don’t know your story. I don’t know my story. This parenting thing comes with so much risk regardless of birth scenario. It’s love and love is always crazy risky.
Number 1 Piece Of Advice: Surround yourself with people who will encourage you. Not lie to you. Encourage you.
For us, those people are our family and closest friends. We started asking people to pray for us, to share phone numbers and emails of friends of friends of friends who have adopted and are willing to share their story with us. Everybody’s journey is so unique and truly life giving. Wether it’s a story that ended in the sorrow of a failed adoption, or in the joy of a child in their arms, hearts and homes…, they are all beautiful and made up of the stuff of life.
As my research continued, I started to believe that this adoption thing could be possible for us. That we could welcome a child into our home, life, hearts. The more stories I read and heard about adoption, the more I got excited about the privilege that is adoption. I get to do this! I get to be a part of this child’s story! I get a whole family I don’t even know yet! This is so freaking crazy! I started to let myself hope for a future with children again. I am amazingly humbled that my Edyth’s life and death pointed us to this. Adoption. We never would have thought twice about adoption if all these really crappy things hadn’t shown us that there’s this wonderful something at the end of it. We get to do this. We don’t have to. We get to. What an amazing gift.
We are at the beginning of our journey. In the fundraising stage. But we are excited, scared, and trepidatiously hopeful. Still afraid to hope and jump off the unknown cliff that is this journey through adoption, but so excited that there is this ledge with a vast and beautiful unknown waiting for us to leap into it.
This blog is to share our story, our triumphs, the practical side that comes with pursuing open adoption such as, finding an agency, raising funds, preparing for a home study, etc. We want to share this with those we know and love and also those we don’t know who may be embarking on their own journey of adoption.
It’s a blessing that Dustin and I have love to give a child. And a lot of it.
It’s a blessing that we get to be part of our future child’s amazing story.
It’s a blessing that there is an entire village supporting the home coming and raising of our child.
It’s a blessing that we will be part of a network of family that belongs to our child by blood. His or her birth family.
It’s a blessing that we get to fall in love with our future child.
It’s a blessing that we will get to share in our child’s purpose. Our child’s failings and triumphs. Our child’s life.
It’s a blessing that we are parents after all.