Many people seem to have a simple story in starting a family…others have a journey. For us, it was absolutely a journey—a process full of waiting, every emotion imaginable, and lots of growth. For those of you who don’t already know our story, here it is, originally written in 2012 (you can see the original post of our story here on my extremely talented photographer sister-in-law’s blog which she took some of the amazing photos below). Warning—this story is long…but good! Although everyone’s story is completely unique, we hope and pray that our journey encourages others who walk a similar road.
“What a journey we have been on. My husband and I had been married three years when we felt God was leading us to start a family. Like so many young married couples, you think that it will happen instantly—or at least within a few months right? That’s how it always appeared to happen with all of our friends anyway. Some of those friends got pregnant with no trouble at all. Month after month went by. Other bellies began to grow, but mine remained the same. At first, we tried not to worry too much about it. After all, you are only labeled the dreadful “infertile” after you have been trying for a year with no success.
When we hit that year mark, we were very emotional. Only a few friends knew we were even “trying”—and at this point, why tell anyone else. Instead, we kept the emotions stuffed inside, feeling that there was no one we could talk to. We both went to the doctor and had the basic tests ran. Nothing abnormal was seen, so we were then sent on to see a fertility specialist later that year. It was then that we began the crazy cycle of every test imaginable, monitoring our bodies, evaluating when is the “best time” of the month to try and conceive, and so on.
Coming up on two years was definitely the low point for us, individually as well as in our marriage. As followers of Christ, you try your best to seek the Lord with all of your heart and trust that He does have a plan and is always good. But, the flesh manages to creep in ever so subtly and before you realize it, you are living out sin. We began to worry, put our trust in doctors to “find” out what was “wrong,” and treat each other with disrespect. It was extremely difficult. We both handled things differently. I wanted to talk it out—talk about every detail all. the. time. Talk about exhausting! Being a big planner (no, truly a control freak) I wanted to analyze everything and find out the answer to the “why.” My husband was tired of talking about it. Instead, he stuffed his emotions deeper and wanted to pretend that we lived in a different reality. With no one to really talk to, we drained each other. Sure, we had some good days. But, for the most part, we lived on a roller coaster trusting God one minute and the next, feeling sorry for ourselves, being angry, and downright depressed. We were easily offended by all of the remarks we heard from well-meaning friends and acquaintances—”When are you guys gonna have kids?” “You guys are workaholics, don’t you want kids?” “Being a mom is the most important job in the world, do you plan on having children?” “You look tired, are you pregnant?” “You’re craving—you know what that means.” We wanted answers. The tests and doctor visits get expensive. So, not only do you have the infertility stress on your marriage, but now financial as well—and with nothing showing up, we were still left to be labeled as having “unexplained infertility.”
We reached a point where we just got tired. We were tired of “hiding” in our false “shame” of the label—we were tired of our pride. We started being open with others. We decided we were going to not “try” to conceive, but instead, enjoy our intimacy without it being a means to an end. God was gracious to us and encouraged us through other believers over the next year. We found out we certainly weren’t the only ones who had ever faced infertility. We began really evaluating our hearts and what we desired with a family. Did I long to just be pregnant or did I long to be a mother? We decided to meet with our friend and associate pastor to ask him and his wife about adoption as they had done so. He told me something that pierced to my heart, “If you feel so strongly that you are supposed to a mom, then you are probably supposed to be someone’s mom.”
After three and a half years of trying, God led us to adopt. We were truly excited about this being His provision for our family. We decided on an agency and sent in our beginning paperwork. We soon found out that the day we sent in that paperwork, we had conceived. We were overjoyed at this amazing Christmas gift. We thought we understood God’s plan now, but just a few weeks later, we lost our little girl, Olive. We were devastated with loss. We didn’t understand what the Lord was doing. How could we miss this precious child we never knew? The memories are as clear today as they were that rainy, cold Saturday in January. We were hurting more than either of us ever had, but we knew we had to make a choice. Were we going to praise the name of Jesus? Were we going to trust Him even in these circumstances? Only by His grace. He gave us the strength we needed in the moment to believe Him and trust that He was still sovereign and in control.
The months following, my husband and I each dealt with our grief differently, as we had with the infertility. I therapeutically trained for a half marathon—I wanted to run through the pain. My husband tried to hide his pain and tried to be strong for the both of us. One of the most healing things for us through this time was reading a book together by John MacArthur, Safe in the Arms of God. The book gave us a hope that we know we will get to meet our little one someday with Christ.
During this dark time, Jesus showed me He was enough for me. He was ever so faithful to me—He was my constant friend, my strength, my helper, my sustainer. For those of us that have to face infertility or the loss of a child, or any difficult journey for that matter, no one can walk the road with you—not a friend, not a husband, no one. There are only two people on the road, you and Christ. Praise His name for who He is and that He never leaves us.
Throughout that next summer, we started talking about adoption again. We also talked about all the tests we could look at again—what were the doctors missing? Maybe we could “fix” it and find the “problem” and get pregnant again. By October, we knew without a shadow of a doubt that were supposed to adopt. We started the process back up with the agency we had begun with just under a year before. We were so excited. Adoption is such a beautiful picture of how we as believers are adopted into God’s family because of Christ. We were honored to be called to adopt.
But, things didn’t move so fast with adoption either. After a few weeks, my husband’s fingerprints came back, but mine didn’t. We kept waiting. Then, we got a letter that mine had been rejected for poor quality and I would have to have them reprinted again. This went on two more times over the following months. Why was it taking so long? Why didn’t I have any prints? Completely strange, I know—I mean who doesn’t have fingerprints! Why did we have to wait at every turn? Finally, the beginning of March, our adoption agency called and said that my prints had been cleared permanently and that they could now show our profile to birth moms. We were ecstatic! Now, we could be chosen to be parents!
Two days later, I was late. I was never late. We thought there was no way this could happen again. I couldn’t look at the test. My husband had to tell me what it said. All he could say was, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” We were overwhelmed with every imaginable emotion. We were pregnant again! But, what about adoption? We were so confused. The adoption agency wouldn’t let us adopt while we were pregnant. We understood as there are so many waiting families to have a child of their own. Perhaps we will still adopt someday! But for the moment, we had to trust God. We knew we couldn’t live in fear that we would lose this child, too.
We had all of our friends and family praying for us. Even, people we barely knew were praying for this child. With each month into the pregnancy, we were grateful to the Lord. I had finally come to a place where I had been okay with never being pregnant and I never thought I would be again. So, with each heartbeat and kick from that little child growing inside of me, we were humbled by God’s overwhelming lovingkindness.
We wouldn’t change a thing about this journey. Each struggle and each trial caused us to grow, caused us to see the Lord’s face, caused us to love and pursue Him more. We learned what it means to exercise faith—and we know that the faith journey never ends while here on this earth. We don’t deserve God’s love or His blessings. He used these struggles to grow our marriage as well. We love each other more today because of what all we have endured and pushed through. He has been faithful to use every difficult challenge to break us and make us more like Him. He never wastes anything in our lives. Because of what we faced, we pray we never take our child for granted. We know what an undeserved blessing and miracle it is to have a child.
In 2011, five and a half years after we first began trying to conceive, our son, Oliver, was born. He is our miracle! God is so very good. It would have been enough had the Lord simply loved us and saved us from our sin. It would have been enough had He walked by our side through this journey. It would have been enough had He given us a healthy pregnancy. It would have been enough had we had the opportunity to be parents at all. With each act of grace, it would have been enough—yet, He continued, and continues today, to shower His love upon us. We are eternally grateful and pray our lives would testify to who He is!”
Our second son, Arthur is just as much of a miracle baby as our first son. In 2012, not that long after I first wrote this story, we found out that I was expecting again. Oliver was only 7 months old. I never would have “planned” on having kids so close together, or that our story would be written like this—but I would not change one thing! God knits together families perfectly. I am so grateful I serve a God who knows exactly what I need far more than I do and a God who longs to give me good things. He is the Good Father.
Today, my babies aren’t “babies” anymore and lots of things have changed over the course of the last few years. But, the greatest thing that came out of that dark time of uncertainty of our future is that I grew closer to Christ. He is the prize. It’s not about the gifts and the blessings—which are amazing, yes! But it’s about intimacy with Jesus. I don’t know all the reasons why in His perfect sovereignty He allowed us to go through all that we did. But, I am confident that one of the main purposes was for me to fall on my knees with nothing to cling to other than Him. He is waiting to supply for us each and every need that we have—and He is worth it!
Here’s a collection of photos from when our boys were born.