I was 21, my husband 24, and we had been married for less than a year when we walked into an adoption agency to attend their informational meeting. We had dreamed of having a family of both biological and adopted children since the start of our marriage. So in that first year of marriage we decided to get information about adoption and were excited over the possiblity of our first child being adopted. I remember clearly one night we were talking about adoption and my husband told me when he envisioned us with our adopted child, he pictured a little African-American baby boy. My heart skipped a beat as I told my husband that I too had been having the same envision of what our first adopted child would look like.
Our excitement soon dwindled when we learned from multiple Christian adoption agencies that we did not meet the qualifications to adopt. Apparently I was too young and we had not been married long enough to be adoptive parents. (Some agencies require a minimum of 3 years of marriage and some countries specify the minimum age of both parents to be 25.) While disappointed that adoption would not be anytime in the near future, we decided to focus on getting pregnant. After we had a couple of biological children and some more years had passed, we would then return to adoption.
For the next year we tried to get pregnant and each month I was certain I was pregnant (I seriously should have bought stock in home-pregnancy tests for how many I purchased!). We went to a couple of different doctors, did a few tests, used infertility drugs, took a few months off, tried again, more time off, tried again, more testing, and then 3 ½ years from that first month that we tried to get pregnant we got the call from the doctor. New test results showed that we were unable to conceive.
Wait. What? Did God not get the memo of my life plan? Marry, start a family right away, grow a family with a house-full of kids, homeschool the kids, and then when the last child was grown I go back to school and become a psychologist. It was my life’s dream to be a wife and mom. I was going to be pregnant many times over. It’s all I ever wanted. And it’s a good and wonderful dream! I was already a few years behind the schedule; just turning 25 and no kids. I should have been on my 2nd or 3rd kid by now.
Heartbroken can barely describe how we felt. I was ready to jump back into adoption but my husband said we needed some time without being focused on becoming parents. I had become completely obsessed about getting pregnant and becoming a mom. My entire world revolved around it and had for the last 3 ½ years. My husband wisely understood that we needed to focus on us, on our marriage, on our family of 2 and enjoy being a married couple. He told me to find something else to plunge myself into for awhile and together we could grieve this loss of infertility. I have to say I was a little defensive towards him and how he described me as being “obsessed” with having babies (because he was 100% right on!) and so, partly out of spite I announced to him the next day that I would go to grad school. I figured that ought to distract my mind for some time. Within a couple of weeks I applied and was accepted into grad school for the fall semester that would start in 1 month.
I asked God why we went through the last 3 ½ years of trying to conceive when it was never possible in the first place. And if we had done all of the proper tests right away, we would have learned that pregnancy was not possible and we could have saved ourselves from months of infertility drugs and each month wondering if I was pregnant. I realized however, that God’s plan of us trying to get pregnant and failing for so many months was actually God’s protection on me. I wanted to be pregnant and give birth to babies more than anything in my life. It was my dream. My identity. Be a mom. I truly believe that if we had learned conception was impossible right away when we first went to the doctor, that I would not have been able to handle the news. Somehow in those 3 ½ years of trying to get pregnant I questioned whether or not we would ever conceive and allowed myself to wonder if it was possible that I would never be pregnant. When we heard the last test results from the doctor I was ready, I was prepared for the blow. God knew. In his wisdom and knowing me as his creation, he knew that I needed time. Do I wish we could have been saved from those years of attempting to get pregnant? Yes! But I also give a sigh of relief for having those years to prepare for the impossible becoming possible, the inability for us to have biological children.
I remember toward the end of grad school I was given an assignment that involved reading the book, Redeeming Love. (I know, it’s a funny book to read as an assignment in grad school but if I remember correctly the assignment involved observing emotions.) In one section of the book is a woman who believes she may never be able to have biological children (If you haven’t read this book, don’t worry, I haven’t given away anything! And it’s a great book; I highly recommend it!) and when I read those words I had a flashback. It was a flashback to the first time I had read this book years ago as a teenager; I distinctly remembered that I was stunned when I read that particular section of the book as a teenager. My thinking was, what could be more devastating than not being able to have biological children? I remembered wondering for a split second if that could ever happen to me and then quickly dismissing the thought because it was impossible. Having babies was all I wanted to do in my life! When I had that flashback, I set the book down. It did happen to me. I cried over that memory I had as a teenager. I was a girl with my own plan, but it wasn’t the Master’s plan.
The end of my story? Remember the black baby boy from our dreams? 6 ½ years later he was born! We never specified gender or race to the adoption agency but when our son was born we realized that God had planted him in our hearts from the start. Our adorable little son with brown eyes, black curls, and a contagious smile brings joy to the very deepest parts of our souls.