I’ll admit; this is probably the hardest thing for me to write about. When it comes to my emotions, I like to bury them deep, especially when it comes to painful topics. So, it has certainly taken me a while to get myself to a point to sit down and write this. And still…it isn’t going to be easy. I’ve really known all my life that I would never naturally have a baby. I don’t know why I felt that way, but I did. I had a lot of problems in my younger years with irregular cycles and as I got older, they got farther and farther apart. I worried in silence, and the doctors never offered me any solution but to take birth control (which didn’t seem to make any sense to me). So, I just ignored it for a long time.
I finally talked about it when my husband and I got engaged. I sat him down and told him. At the time, I don’t think he took it too seriously. I think he believed I was over-thinking things and exaggerating. We got married on Valentine’s Day 1999 and began our life together. He was 27 and I was 28. We went about our lives, working, buying a house, collecting stuff, and not thinking about it. After about two and a half years, when I turned 30, I started thinking it was time we start thinking about a baby. But we didn’t seek a doctor for quite some time.
Finally, we realized it was going to require some testing and help. This is when I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) from my doctor. Syndrome? What did that even mean? But there was hope. I was to take some meds, monitor my temperature every morning, do some ovulation tests, etc., and come back monthly to be monitored. The first few months were hard because my charting was not turning out as expected. So, the doctor increased the dosage. I’m the first one to avoid any kind of medication because I am so sensitive to side effects. Oh, I felt awful taking this, but I continued. This time, my chart looked exactly how it was supposed to. I was so excited to come back and get an ultrasound. The disappointing news was I didn’t even ovulate.
I told myself I wasn’t going to be an emotional basket case. I was just going to follow the doctor’s instructions without expectation. That is impossible. You spend too much time on this chart and temperatures and tests to not be very emotional throughout the process. The doctor told me that I was a case that was going to require a fertility clinic. But, as someone with PCOS herself, my doctor warned me that the drugs (daily shots) were going to be much worse than what I was already taking and told me how her own husband made her quit them after only one month because of how “crazy” they were making her. Add to that the cost of $2500/month and I was just crushed. I had to take a break from it for a little while.
We eventually decided instead we would adopt through DHS. It took several months of background checks, home studies, and classes before we were approved. Then we waited and waited. Finally after about a year (and by this time I’m 32), we were given the option to be placed with two boys, ages 4 and 6. We said yes. Within a month, we had the two boys in our home. It was both a wonderful time and a very trying time. We were unprepared. As much as the classes try to teach you, it’s an experience no one understands until going through it. We failed. After a year, we decided not to adopt.
Looking back, we realize we made so many mistakes. We both had so much guilt for failing, too. Our thoughts have always been with those boys as we completely turned away from adoption, fertility, or any other talk of children for years after that. My husband still carries their pictures in his wallet, and I have kept all the pictures and their life books for when I can get them to the boys. It was another silent sadness we now carried with us into the present day. (Recently, I was fortunate to find out that both boys were adopted when I made contact with the older one. That has given us some peace all these years later.)
A few more years go by, and during this time, my husband gets saved. Yes, he was an atheist (a nice one), but nevertheless, an atheist. So, even though I got saved as a child, I had spent much of my life apart from God. By my husband getting saved, it brought both of us to the Lord. We both believe that our loss and failure with the boys set him on a journey that ultimately brought him to the cross. What a blessing from such a tragedy. As a result, we found a good church home and some great friends. Even then, we didn’t talk with anyone about this. There was more suffering in silence. As far as anyone knew, we just happened to be a childless couple married six years by this time. So, we dedicated ourselves to serving the Lord and helping others.
It was not longer after, we found out about a local ministry, Crisis Pregnancy Outreach (CPO), from another church member who had adopted through them. It was 2006 by this time and we agreed to go with this friend to a meeting. Many different people adopting were giving their testimonies, and one couple told of their failed adoption in which they were raising their baby and the bio father came back into the picture and ended up with custody after they had him for quite a while. That completely terrified me and I left thinking I cannot endure any more losses. I can’t do it. By the way, I’ve heard so many people say that there are unknowns in a pregnancy (and there are) and unknowns in life (of course) and they equate it to the adoption process. But, I don’t think it really compares.
This journey felt hopeless to me. It was beyond me and out of my control. And because of that, I avoided it. Like I said, we dedicated ourselves to serving the Lord, but for me, I never trusted the Lord. I did most everything in my own strength. So, choosing to go through the adoption process now would mean I need to learn to trust the Lord in whatever happens including a potential loss. It took another two years.
During this time, we got a phone call from my mother who heard about a lady about to have twins. She had found an attorney to help her locate an adoptive family. It was very short notice so I wrote a one page “life story” and sent it in. She chose three families to interview and we happened to be one of them. I was nervous, worried and excited. We fasted and prayed for three days and I was certain that this was God’s answer to our prayer. We could in one moment have our family complete.
We were the second couple to meet with her. She seemed nice and things went well. We had church friends praying for us during this meeting as well, so I just knew this was it. We saw the third couple arrive as we left. The next day we found out she had chosen the third couple. Once again, I was crushed. I was so sure about this. I told the attorney I needed to know what was the deciding factor and he told me that she was leaning towards picking us after we left and he agreed that we were also the best fit, but then the wife of the third couple begged her and pleaded with her to pick them so she did. It all seemed very unfair. But, it was done and we were back again, facing this ever-so-vast emptiness in our hearts.
Why, I kept wondering,”was the Lord doing this? To be honest, I was quite angry about it. I remember so many Mother’s Days, thinking if children are a blessing and heritage from the Lord and a reward, then what was God saying to me? I felt punished. But, I never told anyone but my husband what I was thinking. I knew it was wrong, but I had no way to feel differently about it.
Despite that, in 2008, married nine years and at age 37, I remember running into the church member, who now had two adopted children through CPO, and thinking to myself, “What am I waiting for?” It finally dawned on me that by trying to protect my heart from another potential loss, I was also pushing away any potential blessing God might have in store. So, while I was bitter and angry with God, I finally realized that I had a role to play, which I had been avoiding. We almost immediately made a life book, got our application filled out, and went to the very next meeting turning it all in to CPO. And the real test of faith began.
Click on this link to read Part Two