A Lesson on Grace

It’s hard to believe that this holiday season marks four years since we began to try to have biological children. This time of year also marks when I began to wonder if God was real. Yes. It hurts my soul to say that because honestly, I have held shame about that for some time and only let go of it recently.

After years of trying to conceive and many negative pregnancy tests, blood tests, nine, I repeat, NINE rounds of clomid, being pregnant with “clomid babies” three times, and losing those three “clomid babies”—to say I was broken is an understatement.

I was so angry. I was angry with the world, with my body, with God; However, deep down, I wondered if he was real. Yes, I have been a Christian since my early twenties and have been through some really tough stuff that God had gotten me through, but this? Everything else in my life could be chalked up to coincidence (I thought), because if God existed how could He be this cruel? I stuffed my feelings deep inside, feeling ashamed of my questioning and knowing that I would rather go on living life acting like God is real, than to act like He’s not, only to figure it all out once it's too late.

I decided that I needed a break from the trying, so we put our scheduled IUI on hold and I started a Bachelors in Social Work program (which I would later come to realize, God placed me there for a reason too) and threw myself into schooling. Over those next month's, adoption seemed to pop up everywhere. A video on YouTube, an article on Facebook, a segment on television. Everywhere.

My husband and I had spoken about adoption when we were first dating and had said that we would have two biological children and then adopt. When I would be feeling especially hopeless, Tim always seemed fine. I would ask why he wasn’t worried and his response was always: “We will just adopt”.

I had always said that I wanted just a little more time to try for our own kids (yes the phrase, “our own” now makes me cringe) and in that time the Lord really began to challenge me on what “our own” really meant and if my greatest desire in life was to be pregnant or to be a mother? A string of other events happened and I had decided that we were going to adopt! When I told my husband his response was simply, “That’s what I’ve been saying!”

We threw ourselves into the adoption process in the beginning of September 2016. I truly wish that I had time and space to tell you all about every tiny detail that He had his hands in, but, I will stick to the biggest things! We started out working with a single agency and then were led to signing on with consultants. We completed our homestudy and thousands of pages of paperwork. Then we were almost ready to go active; now we just needed to create our profile book. We had a photographer come to our home and

I spent days upon days working with someone to create an amazing profile and poured my heart out to the woman we prayed would be our future child’s birth mother.

With all of the years of heartache and disappointment I was terrified that we weren’t going to be picked. I began to pray for big things for this adoption and our story all the while deep down not knowing if I even believed anybody was listening. I prayed for a story that you read about and I prayed that the birth mother that chose us would without hesitation look at our profile book among all the others and say, “That’s them”.

My type A personality was determined to be active by the first of the year, after all everything was done and ready to go except for recommendation letters. We received all but one in the beginning of January. The person had sent it but it never got to us.  This went on for about three weeks with three different letters resent, correct address, never returned to sender, but never received by us. I was becoming impatient and angry and they tried one last time and we got it two days later—What?! We were finally ready!

On January 24th I received an email from our consultants that we were active and we would be getting a phone call to walk us through next steps. Directly following was an email of a “situation” of an expectant mom, due in March, baby would be Asian, African American, Caucasian and Hispanic. I am Caucasian and Hispanic and my husband is Japanese. The only thing the expectant mom specified she was looking for was that the couple be college educated. I was in school at the time, but my husband never finished. I emailed our consultant back and said, “It’s a long shot with all the other profiles she will be looking through, but go ahead and show ours.

I expected nothing, I was just excited to be active and that we were already seeing situations. The next day I got a text from our consultant saying that the expectant mom wanted to face time with us. What?!

I spoke with the social worker later that day and asked how many other families she was wanting to speak to assuming she was just trying to narrow down options. The social worker informed me that she only wanted to meet with us, and after she saw our profile she said “That’s them” and didn’t want to see any more. I started bawling.

Our Facetime call was amazing and we were officially matched and had a trip planned to go and see the birth mom and get to know her better a few weeks later. That trip went amazing and she shared with us that she had explored other options with this pregnancy but she had a dream that this baby was not meant for her; it was meant for another couple. More sobbing. On the trip home, we sat in the airport in Texas and I processed the events and realized that it all looked really familiar.

A few months earlier I had gone on an amazing retreat with amazing women also dealing with infertility. That retreat is where I met some of the amazing women involved in Waiting in Hope.

On the way home I had sprinted through the same Texas airport to catch my connecting flight. We weren’t even done with our home study and I had no idea this expectant mom who would choose us was just a couple of miles away from me, carrying a precious baby girl.

Several weeks later, we got a phone call that Lanie Grace was about to be born and we jumped on a flight to that same airport, but this time I was sprinting towards my daughter. We walked into that hospital room and the most perfect baby girl was lying there, staring up at us and I scooped her up and haven’t let her go since.

Her middle name means so much to me I cannot even begin to explain. This whole journey has been built on grace.

Who am I for this amazing, selfless women to choose me to raise her precious baby girl? Most of all who am I to deserve all of this when the whole time I doubted if God even existed?

That is the beauty of grace my friends, we don’t deserve it, none of us do, but He gives it to us because He loves us.

The moment I held my daughter for the first time it all came flooding in that this is what he was doing the whole time. Through all the pain through all the heartache, the switching of agencies, the lost letters was all for this baby girl who would teach me more in a few short minutes of meeting her than I had learned in a lifetime. God was real and he was for me.

This is the best possible ending to our story, but He still wasn’t finished. A few weeks after bringing Lanie home, I was trying to adjust to being a stay at home mom. And then, my period was late. I didn’t think much of it. As most of you in the infertility world know, what happens when you pee on a stick? You get a negative and then you start your period a couple hours later, so I took a test and was going to set it down and come back to it, but it was a blaring positive before I could place it on the counter. I am currently 33 weeks pregnant, due in December 2017— almost exactly four years from when we began to try for biological children. I am in awe that he chose to bless us with two babies this year.

I have come to realize more than ever that LOVE makes a family and not biology.

I am so thankful for each of my girls and they are both every bit mine. I am beyond thankful that our family is built by adoption and I would go through all the mess a hundred times over for my two girls!

Ashley Vargas - Guest Contributor - ashleymvargas7@aol.com - Thank you, Ashley, for sharing your #waitinginhopestory with us. In fall of 2016, Hailee Davis and Kelley Ramsey got to meet Ashley at a infertility retreat, The Carry Camp and watch over the year as so much changed for Ashley, through her heart and life.

-Waiting in HOPE- A Lesson on Grace