When I was in high school one of my best friends’ family adopted a little girl. They actually didn’t go out looking to adopt. They had 3 grown kids, but a little girl was placed in their care and they loved and fought for her like she was their own and eventually, after many years as their daughter/sister in their hearts, she legally became theirs. It was a beautiful display of unconditional love and acceptance that I marvel at to this day when I see my friend’s beautiful, adopted younger sister.
However, it was something that I admired from a distance. It was just an idea for other people, not for myself. When Aaron and I started dating then began talking about marriage and children, the “idea” was discussed and we both agreed that we could “see ourselves maybe adopting someday.”
Then we decided to start a family.
Well, you know that has been going. In the beginning, and throughout our 2.5 year battle with infertility, we would talk about adoption as an option. I was always the one to bring it up. There was something about adoption tugging at me that I couldn’t let go. But if you’ve ever been out at sea during the storm of infertility, you know that the pain is unbearable and words can hurt, even when they come from a place of innocence. When I would approach the subject with Aaron he would listen, but immediately dismiss pursuing it because he felt like even talking about the subject was us giving up on getting pregnant. He looked at it as losing faith.
I understood where he was coming from. I understood his hurt. I understood his pain. I was right there in the middle of it with him so I empathized. Still, there was something deep down inside of me that was telling me, this wasn’t over.
In the spring of 2012, Aaron and I were dropped from a waiting list for an IVF study because we didn’t meet the qualifications. I was heartbroken because IVF was our last option. It’s so expensive and having our treatment cost covered through this study was the last plan we had on our list. Now it was unwillingly being scratched off with no future plans to pursue besides saving for the full cost of treatment, which would take us a considerable amount of time.
I started attending a few Wednesday night services at Lakewood Church and I really loved listening to Lisa Comes preach. She’s an incredible teacher who really dives into the Bible. She wrote a book, You Are Made for More, so I bought the audio book and listened to it in the car on my daily commute and errand running.
What an incredible life this woman has had and what an amazing testimony she has for turning struggles and disappointments into appointments with God. She was born with a crippling disease, but the Lord healed her. She was surprised with an unwanted divorce, but turned that hurt into a ministry. In 1990 she opened a mail bomb meant for her dad, but the Lord protected her. For 8 years she struggled through the hurt of infertility, but the Lord blessed her family with 3 adopted children.
I was running a weekly errand for work in May 2012, when Lisa began reading chapter 7 of her book over my car stereo. It sounds dramatic, but I say that chapter 7 in Lisa’s book changed my life.
In this chapter Lisa talks about “finding more when you’re disappointed,” how she and her husband battled through infertility, and how her family came to be complete through adoption. I encourage you to buy her book and read it, and pay special attention to this chapter. As I was driving I was leaned forward, mouth agape, listening intently in my car as though she was telling the story right in front of me. Every single step toward their children was a divine appointment, orchestrated by God. After she was given the devastating news that she couldn’t have kids, Lisa and her husband were approached about adopting twin girls. From the day that she was told she had no hope for biological children to the day her twin girls were born, it was exactly 9 months. I about had church in my car when she read this!
Hearing her testimony of how God orchestrated her family, planted a deep seed in my heart for adoption and being open to that being God’s plan for our family. Over the rest of the year that seed began to grow.
You see, through this entire journey Aaron and I had our plan for the order our family would come into place. First, we would have our biological child and then pursue adoption. After hearing Lisa’s testimony, the seed that was planted in me was that adoption wasn’t just an option, it was a calling. And our family was called to adopt.
For the rest of 2012 I tucked that seed away in my heart, praying and believing that some day Aaron would feel the same way. I was peaceful. I was patient. Aaron had always talked about eventually adopting but I was willing to wait for God to speak to Aaron because it was (is) imperative that we both felt this calling in order to start pursuing it. And because the call to adopt was placed so deep down in my spirit, I knew that I could trust God’s timing.
Then, in November 2012 Aaron and I had the conversation. The conversation that changed everything.
Aaron poured out all of his fears about adoption. Fears that were holding him back. Fears I understood. I’m not usually great with communicating in the heat of a discussion but every single ounce of my heart poured out of my mouth with ease. And it came from deep down in my spirit. I explained my heart to him. He is usually the one to do most of the talking but this time, he just listened.
First, I explained how I was no longer in a place of peace about continuing fertility treatments. It didn’t feel right. And I didn’t want to put my body through any more hell. He felt for me. He deeply understood. We agreed to stop treatment and pursuing IVF at this season of our lives. Peace, for both of us.
I sobbed as I put into words how God had a grip on my heart for adoption and how pursuing adoption isn’t giving up and losing faith that I would get pregnant. “It’s putting just as much faith and trust by saying, ‘God, I give our plans for our family over to you.“ Same faith, different direction.
I wish I could explain to you in words how incredible my husband is; He’s an amazing communicator. He’s a counselor. He listens with his ears and with his heart. He hears the voice of God. He’s sensitive to the Holy Spirit. He’s obedient. And he’s open and willing.
Aaron is never short on words but he was lovingly silent as I shared my heart and validated, yet comforted his fears. Through my sobs and my words, he just held me. There was no arguing. There was no debate. Just love and understanding. Because with God, all fear is gone and we are strengthened and calmed through Him.
The next day Aaron said, “I’m ready.”
I would love to say that my reaction was ecstatic, but I have to confess that my first reaction was skeptical because I’m a deep thinker and analyzer. Aaron is a do-er. After one day, he felt led in this direction. I asked him…How? Why?
He explained…”I had never voiced my fears but once I did, I felt free, at peace. I put them on the table. Here are my fears. As selfish as they sound, I needed to vocalize them and put them out there in order to trust God. I had to voice them in order to be honest with you, with me, with God. Once I did, I could see, I could feel that this is what we are supposed to do. I’m not doing it for you because I want to make you happy (which I do), but I’m saying ‘yes’ because this is what our family is supposed to do.”
Like I said, he’s open, willing, and obedient when he feels called. He’s even become more excited about adoption than I am…which is pretty darn excited!
Peace. For both of us.
From that moment, our journey has been filled with peace that we are going in the right direction. Those little morsels of the crumb trail that God is laying out in front of us keep tasting sweeter and sweeter.
(photo by Adam Nyholt)