First off, I know I’ve written a few posts on Facebook and such regarding our infertility and shared a bit about my testimony. I do not believe in any way that my journey with infertility has defined me, nor is that the center of my life. However, it did consume me for years and due to my grief it is what my life felt centered around for a period of time. So, if it seems that I talk about it too much, I don’t intend to use it in a search for pity. Rather, I truly wish to bring honor to Christ in sharing what He has done in my life in and through infertility.
Just to give a little bit of background on my life, I grew up in a Christian home with wonderful parents who set a great example on loving the Lord. Around the age of 13 is when I truly remember falling in love with Him and deciding to live a life dedicated to Him. One of the commitments I made to Him was to not date anyone that I didn’t see myself marrying. I prayed for my future husband all of the time and wrote letters to him full of prayers and hopes and dreams for our future – the biggest of which was to become a mom.
When I was 17, Drew asked me to date him. I told him that I wasn’t willing to date anyone I didn’t see myself marrying. He agreed that he saw our relationship headed in that direction and we began dating. A year later we were engaged and then on May 25th, 2013, I married the man of my dreams. Leading up to our big day, Drew and I had discussed waiting three years before having children. After all, I was only 18 and we wanted to live our prime years as just the two of us without any added responsibility.
We were hardly back from our honeymoon before I told him that I wanted to have kids right away. There was something about the ability finally being there that created a whoosh of the baby fever and Drew didn’t hear the end of it and eventually had to agree.
Fast forward a year and I felt the ping on my heart that something wasn’t right. People were getting pregnant left and right and after a year nothing was happening for us. Anyone I had talked to said to relax, be patient – that it was normal for it to take a year to get pregnant. The most popular piece of advice I got was to quit trying. As soon as I did that, I’d get pregnant.
So we waited. And waited. As people were announcing babies everywhere (or so it seems to the seemingly-infertile), I was being targeted with questions of when I was going to have babies. I was one of the young, newlywed girls that people were anxiously waiting on to reproduce.
I’m going to pause here and be real with you.
Please… Do not ask people when they are going to get pregnant. Do not ask people when they plan on having more children. One in eight couples struggle with infertility. Whether it is a matter of waiting with procedures full of poking and prodding, or there is nothing you can do but keep trying and waiting, or it is impossible outside of a miracle, it is a painful, invasive, and lonely journey. It is no one’s business to inquire about, no matter how curious you are or how close to a person you may feel. In a way, you are inquiring about a person’s sex life, and I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t appreciate it if we asked about yours. It opens up a world of hurt and pain that is no one’s business to open.
I was asked dozens of times when I was going to have kids. One person asked me when I was going to get pregnant and after telling them I was trying, they told me to “try harder”. As if it was on their schedule. If only they knew how hard I was trying.
Bottom line. Quit asking.
Not only did these comments create pain in my heart, despite trying to be strong, they also made me feel isolated. I began shutting everyone out because all people wanted to do was fix me or question me.
Two and a half years after our wedding, when not knowing was now scarier than knowing, we went to the doctor. We were given our diagnosis quickly without any possibilities of getting help. We were encouraged to start researching adoption when we were ready. Outside of a miracle, we would never have biological children together.
The drive home was silent, neither of us able to speak as we processed the information. We had walked into the clinic that morning expecting bad news but we also expected some hope. We expected to be told our next steps for treatment, be told that it was going to be hard and cost a lot of money but that they would help us get our baby. We were not ready to hear that there was nothing that could be done – we would never conceive. I remember walking into the house, knowing I still had to go to work that morning, trying to wrap my mind around the news. I walked up to the bathroom, closed the door, and fell to the floor, unable to breathe from crying so hard and feeling like I would die right there from sorrow.
To someone who has not experienced this, it’s hard to grasp the intensity of this loss I experienced. It is not something that is easy to move past quickly with the choice of adoption being available. It is a huge, unexpected loss that caused me to feel depressed, worthless, alone, and unable to go on in life. Even though the statistics are 1 in 8 couples who struggle with infertility, the journey is lonely. Especially if you abandon Christ, which is exactly what I did.
How could a good God do this to a “good” person? Why the heck would He pick me? What was I being punished for? Would I really have been that bad of a mom? Was it the comment I made to my mom, when I was 13, about never wanting kids? I take it back! Please, God! I take it back!
My life became a sad, boring routine. Depression and a hatred for life set in. I worked 10 hour shifts at Digi-Key and then came home to eat pizza, party size bags of chips, candy, pop, and watched Netflix for hours. Day after day, this was my routine. I ended up gaining 100 pounds living like this.
Slowly, we quit going to church. I quit reading God’s Word and the only time I talked to Him was when I was screaming at Him about how awful He was. I began to abandon my morals and tried to “punish” God for hurting me like this. I guarantee that you would not have picked me out of a crowd and thought, “She’s a Christian.” I remember telling someone that I went to church and they said, “Seriously? And it didn’t burn down?”
My desire for children, through all this pain, was not going away, so in June 2016, I decided to call a private foster care agency in Brainerd to gather information about adopting out of the foster care system. The director there didn’t give me information about it but rather scheduled a visit to our house two weeks later.
By December 1st, we were licensed for foster care and waiting for a placement. I expected the wait to be quick due to the amount of waiting children, but the days turned into weeks, and the weeks to months. We got a few calls, but the need was either too great for our first placement or they just didn’t end up working out. We received a call about a sibling group of 4 kids first and I remember thinking they were crazy – especially because we told them we only wanted one kid, 4 years or younger.
At one point, a picture of 5 siblings began circling the internet that were looking for an adoptive home. They were extremely cute and I, in jest, texted Drew while he was at work and told him that we should call and find out more about them. To my surprise, he texted me back and said, “You know… Let’s do it. I feel peace about this.” This was a huge shock because, again, we were agreeing to one kid, 4 and under. The oldest child in this sibling group was 11.
By the time he had gotten home from work, we were giddy with excitement. We started assigning the kids their rooms, calling them by name, and even jumped the gun so much that we assembled a bed we had on hand. I emailed our case manager to see how we could go about adopting out of state and texted my mom to let her know we were pursuing this.
The next morning, I made the phone call to the agency, only to find out that they had received so much attention that they were no longer taking any applicants.
I texted my mom, devastated with yet another disappointment. I had thought for sure we were the only family crazy enough to want to adopt 5 kids at once and felt angry that the Lord had told me no again and shut the door.
My mom text me back, “Maybe God used that to open your heart up to a sibling group rather than just one child.”
Eventually, I began to seek the Lord again. I remember, on December 28th, 2016, I made a couple blankets so that I’d have something ready for any kids entering our home. Once they were done, I still felt the heavy weight on my heart that I just wanted to have children and the Lord still didn’t seem to be answering my prayers. I remember walking upstairs to the nursery I had set up, sitting on the floor, and I just began praying for any children that would enter our home. I prayed for peace for them during their trials and I prayed the Lord would prepare their hearts and minds to join our family. It was this night that I finally laid my desires at the feet of Jesus and put my future in His hands. Relying on my own strength to get me through each day was becoming an unbearable burden to carry. The more I relied on the Lord, just a little bit at a time, the happier I began to feel. Instead of sitting in front of Netflix for hours at a time, I got myself to the gym every day and began eating healthier.
Drew and I also had been working to become more financially secure so that I would be able to quit my job once we received a placement. On the day we had paid down enough debt to feel comfortable with me quitting, I told Drew that it would be so crazy if we got our call tomorrow because I would be able to actually quit my job immediately.
Sure enough, the next morning, we got our call. Four kids – a girl and three boys, ages 13, 7 year old twin boys, and a 2 year old. Peace flooded us as everything fell into place. That morning we were told of a van we could have to fit everyone, as we didn’t have a vehicle big enough for a family of 6 at that time, we felt financially ready for me to quit my job, and the idea of 4 kids brought us joy instead of fear. We said yes and from there God provided one thing after another for us, assuring us this was His plan. On top of the van, we were given bunk bed, toys, support, and prayer. We met our kids in May and began doing respite to begin the transition of them moving from their temporary home with their grandma to living with us. I did quit my job and got my dream of staying home in June. On July 30th, 2017 A, N, E, and R moved in and became a part of our family. I later found out that, on December 28th when I surrendered to the Lord the night I was praying for my future kids was the very day that my four kids had been removed from their biological parents home and entered the foster care system. There is absolutely no denying that the Lord’s hand was in the entire situation.
Now that I’ve made it out of the depths of despair and self-pity, I see how the Lord was working through it all. Looking back, I can see Him every step of the way, even in the midst of blatant disobedience. He never abandoned me as I tried to abandon Him. He stayed faithful and true to me, even when I was not to him.
I have learned that God did not do this to me. The fall of man brought sin into the world and the pain we suffer is a result of that sin. Mine and Drew’s journey with infertility is part of those consequences. It was not because I was going to be a bad mom and it was not because of some silly comment I made to my mom when I was 13. And it was not because I was not being punished for some unknown sin I committed.
John 9:1-5 says, “As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
But God did choose me. He chose me to carry this because He knew, through His strength alone, that I would make it through the valley and come out stronger on the other side. He chose me to do His will, whether I was compliant or not. He chose me, out of anyone, to be the mom to my four beautiful kids that didn’t ask for such unfair consequences to other people’s faults. He chose to use me as a vessel for His glory and to carry out his plans and purposes He has for my life.
One morning, as I set down my bible and Laura Story’s book, “When God Doesn’t Fix It”, I sat and sobbed. And I began to pray.
Want to know what I said?
“Thank you, Jesus, for choosing me.”
I never thought I’d be able to say those words.