In the month of December I’m going to be featuring some very special stories. Stories with some beautiful and courageous families. I hope you will join me every Thursday (and some Tuesdays!) for a new series.
Today I’m excited to share with you Jen’s story…..
Beauty Will Rise
As I walked down the hallway, I took deep, intentional breaths… Each step I took, I reminded myself, “I can do this. This will not kill me. I can do this.” I spoke it just loud enough that I could preach to myself but not loud enough that others might hear and call the cops on me. I swung the door open, and I could feel my anxiety kicking up a notch. My heart seemed to be beating so hard that I was sure the receptionist was going to hear it. Keep it together Jen… Keep it together. I quickly gathered my paperwork and found my place between two women. Deep breath. I began filling out the paperwork and was distracted. I purposefully kept my head down while walking through the doors and finding a seat. I figured if I didn’t make eye contact with anyone it would increase my chances of remaining invisible. My pen shook in my hand, as my eyes drifted towards the woman on my right… then on my left. Both had round, full bellies that spoke of their expectancy. That’s when the first one came. One gigantic tear drop fell hard from my eyes. Shoot!!! Where did that come from? Hold it together Jen… I did everything in my power to focus on the paperwork… then the paperwork asked… medical history. Well, it was all over now. I sat there attempting to fill out my paperwork as tears (the kind of tears that you don’t have to work to produce) dropped uncontrollably from my eyes onto the pile of paperwork. So much for remaining invisible. I held it together the best I could until I made it back to the examination room. Once the physician’s assistant came in and looked me in the eyes, I literally began to sob. There I was, a hot mess, being held by a stranger… all because it was my first time back to the OB/GYN since having been diagnosed. I had avoided them like the plague as we moved on and plowed through the adoption process, but the day had finally come.
I tell that story to set the stage… You see infertility is a part of my story, our story. It’s impossible to look at our adoption journey without also looking at the full picture, which, for us, included a walk through the muddy waters of infertility. Brian and I met in high school. I’d like to say we were high school sweet hearts because I had a crush on him way back when, but we really didn’t start dating until our first year of college. We dated for about five years, three and a half of those years long distance. In my mind that felt like forever…. little did I know the difficult waiting seasons I’d face further on in our journey. Two weeks after Brian graduated, we were married and started our life together as “The Deans.”
It wasn’t but six months into marriage that we decided we were open to growing our family, so we pulled the goalie so to speak. Only two months into “trying” I heard God speak to me a name almost audibly. I heard the name Eliana over and over again while I was praying. Immediately, I rushed to the computer to look up the meaning. Eliana means “God has answered.” In that moment, I felt my heart both flutter with hope and sink at the same time. God was giving me a name, a name that held great hope. I remember asking the Lord… What does this mean? I knew in the depths of me that this was something I needed to hold onto…. so much so that I had a necklace made that read “Eliana Faith,” God has answered Faith and wore it daily.
Infertility is such and interesting grief to have to sort through because it’s so intangible. It’s more the loss of a dream, how you saw in your mind’s eye your life to play out. I remember choosing in that moment to feel fully the weight of that loss and to work through it because, ultimately, my adopted children would need a mama who was fully invested in them. The Lord slowly began to unpeel the layers of my heart, and bit by bit I found healing. We started the adoption process in faith. In some ways, I feel like we jumped off one roller coaster only to jump onto another.
In 2011, we saw the fruition of the promise we had so long held onto. I remember the moment I first met and held my daughter. The full weight of the five years that led up to that moment came crashing down on me; I felt more feelings than I thought were humanly possible to feel at the same time. I felt immense relief. We had made it… God was faithful, and here she was. Eliana Faith… again, I felt the literal weight of God’s promises, as a tiny sleeping baby was placed in my arms. In that moment, I felt more joy that than I thought I could ever feel. I always worried that I’d struggle to love a child that did not come from my womb. In that moment, I knew it was possible to love someone with my whole being in an instant. I also felt the weight of sacrifice and loss. I knew that sitting right there in the hospital bed beside me was the one who chose to place that sweet girl in my arms, and the pain and grief that she was working through was not beyond me. It would be impossible to put into words all that I felt in that moment. God had answered Faith.
In 2015, we had the privilege of adopting our second child, Elisha Justice. The adoption journey that led up to him was full of ups and downs. We had one failed adoption and one failed match during the year and a half that led up to meeting him. Adoption is born out of brokenness, and our story is no exception. Elisha Justice is an absolute joy and the perfect addition to our silly family.
If you would like to contact Jen, she would love to speak to you. If you need support, information, or just a email hug!
You can other “Adoption After Infertility” stories:
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The nature of this topic is sensitive. I pray this series opens up good discussion with a wealth of kind words.
Please share your own adoption or infertility story below. I read every comment and value your opinion. However, if unkind or hurtful words find their way here, they will be deleted.
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For the month of December, I’ll be featuring….Grace Upon Grace Prints
Alex has created a special one-of-a-kind printable just for my readers! This special print will be available only for subscribers to my newsletter. If you are already a subscriber, your print will be in your inbox soon. If not, sign up by entering your email below.
Make sure to visit her shop. For December and January she is offering my readers a special coupon. Buy One Get One Free (for digital prints)!!! Here is the code: LettersofGraceLOVE