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I was you.

May 8, 2016

He gives the barren woman a home, 

making her the joyous mother of children.  

Praise the Lord!”

(Psalm 113:9)

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I know you are out there.

And I know what you are thinking.

I know.

Because I was you.

I know how much you have been dreading this weekend.

Mother’s Day weekend.

As if the fact that you remain childless, despite your best efforts, doesn’t already hurt enough…now you find yourself overwhelmed and surrounded by swirling sentiments about the joys of motherhood.  With each sentiment you hear, another dose of salt is poured into the open, gaping wound on your heart.

I know exactly how it feels to host a baby shower for a friend, as you struggle silently with infertility.  You want so badly to celebrate fully with them.  But, it’s hard.  So hard.

I know that it can take every ounce of your being to rejoice with your expectant loved ones who are rejoicing…when inside you are mourning and grieving over your latest negative pregnancy test.

I know what it’s like to feel as though everyone – eve.ry.one. – around you is getting pregnant, except for you.  It can be suffocating.

I know how isolating infertility can be.

I know what it’s like to sit at a table and piece together a baby scrapbook.  A scrapbook for the baby that you don’t have.  Rather, it is for the one you long to have.  You fill it with stickers and beautiful quotes and whimsical backgrounds.  By working on it, you are trying to convince yourself that someday the pages will be filled with the face of your long-awaited son or daughter.  As you design, adhere, arrange, and write, you find yourself whispering the same prayer over and over again. “Please, Lord, fill these pages soon.  Please.”

I know how hard it can be to wrap your mind around the fact that some couples who have no business raising children (and seem to loathe parenthood) are able to reproduce like rabbits…meanwhile, you and your husband sit and wait – month after month – for the opportunity to pour yourself fully into parenthood and lavish your child with love.

I know what it’s like to listen as undesirable test results are relayed to you over the phone from medical professionals, as yet another lump begins to form in your throat.

I know how costly the testing, treatments, and medications can be in the fight against infertility.

I know the questions that you have thrown at God lately.  I know that He has heard an earful from you in recent months.  I know.  (And, that’s okay.  He loves to hear from you…the good, the bad, and the ugly.)

I know how much you are hurting today.

I know.

I know because I once was you.

But, here I am now.

A decade later.

The mother of five beautiful children.

My quiver is full.

God has filled it.

And I never could have guessed exactly how He would accomplish that feat.

Just days before my husband and I found out that we were finally expecting our first child, I found myself walking through our neighborhood alone.  I was having an intense conversation with God.  As I spoke to Him, the tears began to spill from my eyes.  I didn’t care who saw me.  I didn’t care what conclusions could be drawn from seeing me walk throughout our neighborhood in such a state.

During that conversation, He spoke one simple word into my heart.

Adoption.

And when He did, an immediate sense of peace washed over me.

Yes.  Adoption.  I could see myself pursuing it.  I could envision myself adopting.

I was not just okay with it, I found myself getting excited about it!  For the first time in a long time, I felt a twinge of hope burst within me.  I told God that I would be willing to take whatever path He wanted us to take to find our children.

I wiped away the tears, and I walked home.  I shared my thoughts with my husband.  And he said, without hesitation, that he was open to whatever God had in store for us as well.

Peace.

Overwhelming peace.

Then, a few days later, I found myself lying face down on my bathroom floor.  In my hand was a positive pregnancy test.  A positive.  Clomid, the medicine that our doctor had prescribed for us, had worked.  As soon as I saw that beautiful + sign, I collapsed on the floor.  Over and over again, I just kept saying, “Thank you, God.  Thank you.  Thank you.”  Needless to say, we were overjoyed that morning.  Relieved, overjoyed, and grateful beyond measure.

Nine months later, our precious Sidney came.  Our dream had come true.  We were parents.

Two years later, with the help of Clomid (once again), our sweet Jackson came to us.

Not long after Jackson’s arrival, God gave me a little nudge.  He reminded me of the conversation that He and I had just before He blessed us with the news that we were expecting Sidney.  He reminded me of the word He had spoken into my heart.

Adoption.

On Valentine’s Day of 2009, my husband and I found ourselves having a conversation over dinner about the possibility of adopting our third – and final – child.  Our hearts were in sync with one another.  We both felt pulled to pursue adoption…to pursue what God had spoken into our hearts years earlier as we struggled with infertility.

Today, we like to tell people that our daughter, Grace, was conceived that night.  In our hearts, on Valentine’s Day, she was conceived.

About eighteen months later, shortly before our big trip to bring Grace home from China and into our family, we received the most shocking news ever.

I was pregnant.

No Clomid.  No treatments.  Nothing.

We were floored.

Six months after Grace’s arrival into our family, Morganne – our little sunshine – made her grand entrance into the world.

She was unexpected and unplanned by us, but she was most certainly planned by God.  She was our miracle baby.  She proved that God is the One who truly holds our family in His hands, not the doctors.  She was (and is) an absolute gift.

Four beautiful children.

We were so incredibly grateful.

And we were done.

Or, so we thought.

On Mother’s Day weekend of 2013, I woke up to find an incredible gift.  There was a long, red thread on the floor beside my bed…which led me all the way downstairs to a letter that my husband had written and placed in what has become known as our “China Room”.  In that letter, I read that – after months of consideration – he was feeling the pull to adopt again. The invisible red thread that connects those who are destined to be together was tugging at his heart, and mine, once again.  On that weekend, with that long red thread strewn throughout the rooms within our home, we decided to move forward with another Chinese adoption process.

What?  Five children?

God said to us, “Yes.  Five children.”

Exactly one year later, on Mother’s Day, little Haven was placed into my arms on the other side of the world.  He was the greatest Mother’s Day gift I have ever received.

Five children.

So, here we are today.  A family of seven.

There are times when I see our five blessings together, and I shake my head in awe and wonder at what God has done.  He has pieced together this family of ours in a way that I never could have guessed would be possible.

Life’s blows may throw us off.  But, they never throw Him off.  Never.

Some say that everything happens for a reason.  But, I don’t believe that to be true.  I do believe that SOME things happen for a reason.  But, not ALL things.  For instance, I don’t believe that God caused our battle with infertility…and I don’t believe that He is causing yours either, friend.  But, I DO believe that God can take any of the cruddy stuff that life throws at us and find a way to use it for good.

Our battle with infertility was not enjoyable.  Not one bit.  But, during that battle, God planted the seed of adoption into our hearts.  Had we not experienced that battle, would we have been as open and as receptive to the idea of adoption?  I don’t know.  Would Grace and Haven be a part of our family today, had it not been for those months of emptiness and hopelessness that led to deep, heartfelt conversations with God about the future of our family?  I don’t know.

Furthermore, had we not experienced the bitterness of infertility, I do wonder if parenthood would taste as sweet as it does to us today.  I feel as though God took those painful months of waiting to create within us a deep appreciation for parenthood that we might not have had otherwise.  You’ll rarely hear me complaining about my children.  And that’s by design.  Even on my roughest days as a mom, it isn’t hard at all for me to call to mind the emptiness that I once felt as young woman, yearning to be a mother.  For that reason, gratitude is my constant companion.  And because of that gratitude, I feel as though I have been able to fully suck the marrow out of motherhood.

Yes, God has brought good from the bad.  So much good.

He worked behind the scenes to bring about some pretty incredible twists and turns as our family began to form.  Though He seemed to be a passive spectator, at times, during our infertility battle, we now know that He was not.  He was actively working.  He was busy putting the pieces together, and busy preparing our hearts for the role of a lifetime.

Friend, this Mother’s Day weekend, as you find yourself being reminded time and again of the gaping hole in your heart, be encouraged!

Be encouraged as you look around you.

Look for the flowers.

During this difficult weekend, choose to focus on the flowers.  You shouldn’t have to look far to find them.  They are everywhere.  The hands of mothers everywhere are receiving them this weekend.

They are the symbol for Mother’s Day, and the most popular gift item.

I’ll say it again.

Look for the flowers.

Ask yourself, “How did they come to be?”

Down in the dirt, buried deep, seeds were planted.  Just as it would have been impossible for you to see all of the growth that had to take place under the surface for those flowers to bloom, it is also impossible for you to see everything that is taking place under the surface right now for your family to bloom.  God may seem to be silent right now…sitting idly by as you suffer.  But, He isn’t.  He is working.

Every flower that blooms was once an unseen seedling that grew and developed under the surface.

Your future family is no different.

I hope that as you look at those flowers this weekend – those bright and beautiful symbols of Mother’s Day – you will think about your future family.  Whether you can see it right now or not, there is growth happening.

Something will grow from all you are going through right now…and it will be you.

You.  You will grow from this experience.  Take my word for it.

How do I know?

Because I was you.

And, someday, you will be me.

Someday, you will look at the family that God has pieced together for you – in ways that you probably couldn’t have imagined – and shake your head in awe and wonder.  He will then give you opportunities to reach out to those who desperately need the encouragement that you now seek.  He will motivate you to share your story with those who are hurting, so that you might help see them through their own infertility struggle.

Someday, God will use your life experience to help someone else.  Someday, you will find yourself sitting with a beloved friend or family member, sharing the same message that I have for you today:

God is working.  He is for you, not against you.

So, be encouraged, friend.  Take heart.  Don’t give up hope.

I know what you’re going through.

I was you.

But, someday, you will be me.

You will.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Mary Jane permalink
    May 9, 2016 2:34 am

    How beautiful!

  2. Sue permalink
    June 2, 2016 3:55 am

    Thank you for such a heart-wrenching story of how God knit your family together. My husband and I have been married for almost 14 years without a single pregnancy or child. We are hoping to adopt in the near future. Your testimony gives me great hope to someday be on the other side of motherhood!

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