My husband, David, and I met my last semester of college. We were married in October 2004, and we enjoyed our first four years of marriage traveling and spending time together in the great outdoors. When we were ready to begin a family, I became concerned that we were not conceiving, as we were both already in our 30s. After many tests, lots of prodding, and many emotional appointments with fertility specialists we were told that we would most likely not conceive. I was devastated, and experienced a time when anger and depression seemed to overwhelm me.
It was difficult for me to process why we were not being blessed with children as I watched other families grow. I now know that the comfort I felt as I cried out to God prepared me to love others and comfort them as they experience pain, as it describes in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV): “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
We began to discuss adoption rather than pursue fertility treatments (although my husband had always felt led to adopt even prior to our fertility struggles.) I asked him to give me six months to determine how to process my grief.
The loss of conceiving biological children is not a loss that many understand, but it is a loss. I felt stuck in my grief. During that time I poured over the promise in Psalm 34:18 for constant reassurance that “the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Seeking Christian counseling was the best decision I could have made at that point in my life. It provided me with the tools to successfully process my emotions and navigate what life would bring our way in the future.
I recall the exact day my husband and I decided to move forward with the adoption process. We had been praying about the decision we had to make, and the thought of pursuing fertility treatments caused nothing but anxiety and arguments, while the thought of pursuing adoption brought us peace. I literally jumped for joy when we both agreed that it was time to move forward with our decision. We chose an agency and completed the paperwork in less than one month. We were quickly approved to be on the waiting list for private infant adoption.
Waiting to be chosen was difficult. Not only was it nerve-wracking waiting for “the call,” but we werealso overwhelmed with the cost of private infant adoption. At that point my faith was not quite what it is now. Throughout that adoption waiting period, I found comfort reading Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
I had a somewhat shaky confidence the Lord would provide, and was blown away by his overwhelming love demonstrated through his people. Members of our church as well as complete strangers donated items, and we had a massive garage sale. I wrote curriculum that summer that provided a significant amount of money to put toward our adoption fund. A close family friend donated a classic car to us to sell and use the proceeds for our adoption fund. All the adoption funds were provided. I am not sure why I was so astonished. Matthew 6:26 tells us to “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
At that point we had been trying to start a family for almost two years. The day after I returned to the United States from a mission trip we received the call we had been waiting for! We were three days shy of having been on the waiting list for one year.
I was honored to be able to “meet” our oldest son before he was born. I went to an appointment with his birth mom, where I heard his heartbeat and felt his little bottom presses up against her belly. His birth mom also allowed me to be in the delivery room when he was born. David and I stayed in the nursery at the hospital while our son was being bathed.
We bonded with our son’s birth mom over the course of the next three days. As she was leaving the hospital with our adoption caseworker, I saw the tears running down her cheeks. I lost it and burst into tears. She rushed into our room and the three of us (our son’s birth mom, my husband, and I) embraced. It was a bittersweet moment. I was so happy to finally be a mother, but I grieved for our son’s first mom and the overwhelming loss she was feeling.
Adoption was never a second choice for us. It was always God’s plan for our family.
For believers in Christ, his way is not always easy, but it is always best.’ “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Initially, it was very difficult to accept that I would never carry a child in my womb. It was frustrating and emotionally overwhelming to watch others conceive so (seemingly) effortlessly. I was equally overwhelmed (in a good way) by my emotions the moment I found out I was going to be a mother for the first time. It is difficult to put into words how thankful I was that the Lord had heard my cries and fulfilled my desire. Lamentations 3:22-23 reminds me of how much our Heavenly Father loves us: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
Sara is a wife of 14 years, mom of three young children, and a high school math teacher. Her journey to motherhood spans almost a decade and ranges from visits to fertility specialists, a successful private infant adoption, a failed adoption match, and fostering that led to two more additions to her family via adoption.