The other day I was sitting in a coffee shop and a grandmother walks in with a little blond boy, her grandson. He was probably 2 years old and smiling from ear to ear as he toddled around in the main room.
And I lost it.
That's what grief is like. It comes out of nowhere, steals your joy, derails your thoughts, and makes you cry in public.
So I'm sitting there pretending to focus on my computer and letting the tears sting my eyes as I grieve the thought of the child we have not been able to conceive.
In the initial post announcing our adoption, I slipped in this little bit of information,
"Q: Were/are you dealing with infertility?
A: Yes, but that's another story for another time."
Now feels like a great time to share that part of the story.
We started trying to get pregnant 2 years ago. We started talking adoption a year ago. Our road to adoption started out like many others, infertility issues. It took not being able to conceive to actually open my heart and mind up to adopt, and I am very thankful for that.
I always thought adoption was cool and thought that other people's adoption stories were so beautiful, but I honestly never thought about adopting in my context, in my family. After a time of prayer and a series of God-sized confirmations, Luke and I knew that our family would include adopted children (1, 2, or however many God wants us to have).
As excited as I am about adopting (and you can trust that I am outrageously excited, we both are), grieving your own infertility is a beast of an issue that must be dealt with.
Coming to terms that a biological part of you is "broken," or "messed up" is hard and oftentimes lonely. It's not something you want to talk openly about. If you're anything like me you want to avoid feeling the painful things at all costs, so another reason not to talk about it. Everyone has an opinion about what you should do and to be 100% honest, I didn't want anyone's opinion on this subject. More importantly, I didn't want anyone to feel sorry for me or be disappointed with me. So I kept it to myself.
Before letting our families in on our adoption plans, when it was just Luke and me dreaming about what our adoption journey would look like, I gave myself MONTHS of time to grieve my infertility. I gave myself time to come to terms that I might never conceive a child.
I invited Jesus in to help me face the worst thoughts about myself, help me "release" desires and plans, and grow in my faith.
Together, we released the desire to have a child that naturally acts or looks like me.
Together, we released the desire to have a child that's blessed with Luke's natural musical talents.
Together, released the desire to have a child that has both of our family's genes.
Even though I'm writing the phrase, "released the desires" those desires have not magically gone away. What's different is the hold that those desires had over me and what they mean to me now. I'm not paralyzed with sadness or shame anymore, but instead channeling those desires into a deep commitment to teach our child the best things we know. After all, an adopted child is not a replacement. All children are worthy of love and a family no matter where they come from or what they look like.
So yeah, I've come a long way. Jesus and I have done a lot of work together, healing this deep shame, protecting my optimism for the future, and blowing my heart wide open for this child who is going to come in and change our lives forever.
I'm happy to report that the grief doesn't sneak up on me that much anymore, hardly ever really, but I let it happen when it does. I let the sadness and grief come in because I KNOW that in a short while those grief feelings (sadness, anger, disappointment, shame, etc.) will be replaced with the peace that passes all understanding. I know it won't be long until Jesus confirms that adoption is a part of his plan for our lives, that we'll get to love and raise a child and point others to Him throughout the whole process. Even right now as I'm sharing this part of my life with you my desire is that you get an overwhelming sense that God is capable of big things and wants to work in your life like he's working in mine. And yes, that comforts me.
So how is infertility Affecting me now?
I'm not completely hopeless in the fertility department. I do have PCOS (hormone imbalance) and that alone makes getting pregnant difficult, the excess weight isn't doing me any favors either. For the better part of 2017 I was working with a doctor, and taking fertility medication, but have recently decided to press pause on the medication and take a more natural approach to healing my body and get healthy.
I know that sometimes it takes a long time to get pregnant. It's a miracle for it to even happen it all. I can confidently say that we are not giving up on the hope of getting pregnant, and that does not affect our desire or plans to adopt.
We will adopt even if I get pregnant. Our agency's policy is that if we get pregnant during the adoption process, we have to wait until our child is one year old, then we can pick the adoption process back up. And if that happens, that's what we'll do. Adoption will shape our family and I am confident that it will happen in God's timing.
That might be too much information, but it's a big part of our story, and who I am as a woman. I've grown up in a lot of areas this year because of walking through infertility and it's what led my heart to the possibility of adoption. For that, I will always be grateful.