As I sit here this morning with my handsome 7(!) month old boy in my lap, busily trying to reach the keys with his chubby fingers as I type, my heart is just keeps repeating, “This is totally worth it.”
In the last several years, between pregnancy, trying to conceive, dealing with infertility, and walking through an adoption process, I have waited for 81 months. While many of those months flew by without much struggle, a heaping portion of them seemed to tear at my heart in a variety of different ways. And now, here, on the other side of the waiting for a baby (at least for a little while), I know that God has used all the mess help me learn to rejoice.
“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6-7
The Pregnancy Wait
When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I was shocked! We had been trying to conceive for a year, knowing, due to some past medical history, that it might not be possible for us to have children. I had mostly decided to quit the “trying” thing and just go on with life as usual when one day, I was feeling tired at work and a co-worker suggested I take a test. I remember feeling like those two lines couldn’t be real. Over the following 9 months, I went through phases of anxiety, worrying that I would miscarry or that something would be wrong with my baby. There was also a lot of excitement as we registered for all the sweet little girl stuff in the store (we might have really registered for almost everything!!). In the last month or so of pregnancy, it seemed like every single day was one hundred years long! I remember being so afraid of the childbirth experience and also incredibly impatient to meet my baby girl. I am sure my husband thought I was going crazy going back and forth between the two day by day! And then, one labor induction and c-section later, I had a beautiful little lady in my arms.
The Adoption Wait
After another long stint of trying to conceive and seeking medical help, my husband I decided to put our resources toward an adoption rather than costly fertility treatments. Our lives became a sudden whirlwind of busy haste. We filled out 1,003 forms, had our entire existence picked through by people in two states, made the cutest little profile book for that sweet little pregnant girl who was going to choose our family, applied for 341 grants, raised as much money as we could, and prepared ourselves for a (surely) quick and (probably) painless adoption process.
And we waited.
And each month that went by with no news from the agency turned the sky a little more grey. I wondered often if anyone would ever choose us. I checked the agency’s list of birth parents every day to see if anyone’s profile had come down. When they did, I was jealous and angry. I knew I should rejoice with my fellow waiting mommas, but the disappointment was bitter. Eighteen months went by and again, I was beginning to lose hope. And out of the blue, a young girl came to a class I was teaching for single moms and asked if I knew of anyone who would want to adopt her baby.
I. Nearly. Choked.
I didn’t know if I was supposed to say anything at all, I mean, we were working with an agency and this was definitely NOT the protocol, but there she was, right there next to me at the white plastic table. Before long, there were tears in both of our eyes and the waiting began again. This brave young woman let me walk beside her through a pregnancy that she nearly ended in abortion out of desperation. We went to doctor’s appointments and ultrasounds. We laughed and cried together. I picked her up from some horrible situations, wondering how her choices were affecting this boy who was going to be a part of my family, but wanting to love and support the woman who was carrying him through it all. We lost contact for periods of time and I despaired as the hope of motherhood seemed to slip through my fingers like fog.
Finally, I sat beside her and held her hand as she labored and brought my (our) son into the world. There are no words to describe the intense joy and grieving that were going on in those moments. All at once I wanted to snuggle my sweet boy and comfort my courageous friend who was no doubt hurting deeply.
All the waiting was most definitely worth it. The funny thing is, I asked my husband just the other day if he was ready to start again! I don’t know what the future holds for my family. I don’t need to know. Rejoicing is richest when it comes on the heels of trials…and waiting.