Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Lent of My Life - My Infertility Story (Chapter 6)

Tom and I have been through a lot of ups and downs in our marriage but probably nothing has challenged our relationship with each other, with our families, and with God more than our struggle with infertility and miscarriages.   So, I wanted to share our story with others who may be facing this same struggle.    I am posting a chapter each Wednesday during Lent and will post the conclusion on Good Friday.  Maybe it can give someone a little hope.   If you missed Chapters 1 through 5, you can read them herehereherehere, and here.

I had never given a lot of serious thought to being the mother of an adopted child, but I had always loved the idea of it.   I loved the idea of bringing a child into the home and giving them a secure and stable family that they otherwise may never have.  I loved the idea of using adoption to grow a small family into a larger family.  What I didn’t love was the idea that I had to adopt in order to have a child.  I wanted adoption to be a choice I made, not something I felt “forced” into by my infertility.   Again, I wanted to be the one in control and I resented anything that took control away from me, especially if it was connected to my infertility, and adopting was now connected to my infertility.    Subconsciously , I really resented that.

So, it took a bit of soul-searching and a lot of God’s grace to bring my heart back to where it was before I went through infertility.  That is, I tried to focus on the good that could come from adopting, and not the fact that infertility was the path that had brought me there.   I still had a heart that wanted to be a mother, wanted to give a child a family, wanted to grow a family.   So, I used that part of my heart to help me make the decision to pursue adoption.  I knew that part came from God, and the resentment did not.

Tom was quickly on board, too.  This is a huge testament to how big-hearted he is.  He didn’t hesitate when I approached him about my desire to start seriously pursuing adoption.   In part, I know he wanted to see me be a mother no matter what, because he knew how happy it would make me.  But in a larger part, he really wanted to be a father too, and accepting the fact that we may never have a biological child seemed to come easier for him than it did me.  Tom has never been one to put any limits or conditions on his love.  

So, adoption it would be!   We enthusiastically filled out the lengthy paperwork, got the background checks, submitted to the physicals, the fingerprinting and the home visits.  We excitedly shared our good news with our family.   We were going to adopt!  A baby was coming!    And we waited for our phone to ring.

But the phone didn't ring.   And another year passed.   Our adoption case worker (with Catholic Charities) would check in with us from time to time, usually to tell us that she wasn’t placing more than one or two babies every few months, and that she had a dozen couples waiting.   She sympathetically shared about how she’d been handling domestic adoptions for almost 30 years and that when she’d started her career, she placed over a hundred babies in adoptive homes every year, but now, she placed only a dozen or fewer.   She told us how almost no teen mothers ever choose adoption because the grandparents raise the babies, and that only the more mature college-age girls usually consider making an adoption plan.   And she encouraged us to market ourselves as much as possible and to even consider going to another adoption agency where our “odds” might be better because they offered better incentives to the birth mothers and as a result, placed more babies.  

Tom and I discussed all this and, needless to say, the hope we’d regained when we had decided to adopt rapidly started to fade away again.   Something about working with an adoption agency that paid birth mothers thousands of dollars for their expenses (which is actually paid for by the couples wanting to adopt) just didn’t feel right to us so we opted to stick with Catholic Charities despite the fact that our odds of getting a baby were very low.   We did market ourselves a bit at an online site, for a fee of course, but that also did not yield very good results, and instead, many women who were scammers and claiming to be considering adoption contacted us wanting us to send them money (although we did get one legitimate contact, but that birth mother decided to keep her baby).

It was all very discouraging and at this point, we didn’t have anything left but prayer, which was starting to feel really pointless.   I still was working with my Naprotechnology doctor but after all the medications and procedures, none of which seemed to be working, I had decided to take a break from it all.  My sanity was quickly waning and more than being a mother, I wanted to emotionally and physically just get away from it all.   My doctor had recently sent me a letter, informing me that he was starting to prescribe low-dose naltrexone to some of his infertility patients because it had shown some success, but I just put the letter in a file and didn’t respond to it.   I was done.   Medications weren’t working, surgery hadn’t worked, prayer wasn’t working, and even adoption wasn’t likely to work.    No longer was I going to fill my head with more false hopes.   I needed to reclaim my life again, and if it was without children, so be it.

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