A Conversation That Changed Lives
The three of us sat that night on our deck and the conversation we had changed our lives forever.
If infertility is waiting for a season that never comes, then adoption is the coming of a new season of unexpected joy, a spring time of new life. I spent years waiting for my life to begin. I was never sure of what I wanted to do or be, but I was certain that I was never happy or satisfied and that my life had not yet begun. I could see no purpose or meaning and I drifted.
I have always loved children. They have been a constant source of affection, insight, truth and comic relief. Some of my dearest friends have been children. But, they belonged to someone else. When they left my house they were going home. I wanted my house to be home to a child and I wanted that desperately.
After five years of being poked, prodded, snipped, pinched, violated and humiliated by the fertility professionals and one unsuccessful twin pregnancy, it was clear that it was time to give up on the dream of becoming a mother. I felt powerless. I still believed in God but I was convinced that He no longer believed in me.
Doubts set in, about my worth as a woman. My husband deserved more. Relationships suffered. I was angry at myself and intolerant of everyone else’s shortcomings. My relationship with God suffered as well. I knew I should be grateful for what I had. I had everything that was important…a husband who loved me unconditionally, good health and friends and family who loved me despite my snits, and grudges and jealousy. They knew as I did that beneath that crust was an incredibly strong woman, well worth knowing, capable of loving deeply, but still in the process of healing.
Occasionally a well-meaning friend or family member asked if we had ever considered adoption. But, for us adoption was out of the question. Adoption meant resignation and letting go of a dream. I made a few half-hearted calls to adoption agencies and sent away for some brochures but I didn’t follow up on any of it. My prayers still reflected the desire for a child, and I thought that if one simply fell into my lap, well then it was meant to be. In a way, that is what happened.
In June of 1994 we had a backyard picnic that lasted late into the evening. The last to leave was my brother-in-law John. His family had gone home earlier and we were enjoying John’s company after a long day. But, it seemed that John had an agenda. It wasn’t long before the topic of conversation turned to adoption and I remember feeling uncomfortable. I was reminded of conversations I had the previous Christmas with John and also with my father-in-law. I felt pressured by them to pursue adoption. I thought that they were dismissing our pain with an easy answer. It was too easy. Just adopt..
This time though John’s persuasion was gentler and more personal. He told us that he had been interested in adoption for some time but his wife was not in favor of it. They had already raised two sons and she was ready to move on to other things. A friend of John’s from his church who was the executive director of an adoption agency encouraged John to attend an adoption meeting and gather information. We agreed to meet with the agency and my sense of determination and empowerment returned like gangbusters.
So, the three of us sat that night on our deck and the conversation we had changed our lives forever. It was the beginning of that springtime for us and I was about to realize my purpose and meaning. That life I had been waiting for had begun.
For we were unaware that just a few weeks before that conversation with John, thousands of miles away in a remote area of Mainland China our daughter had been born to a couple who had a critical decision to make. Even though we will never know them we will forever be grateful for the choices they made, for whatever the reason. It is my prayer that they know in their heart of hearts that their baby, Shi Ying is happy and healthy and loved by two parents more than anything in the world.
John passed away in June of 1995 from complications of Leukemia but not before meeting and falling in love with his only niece and goddaughter, Molly Rebecca.
Within a year after returning from China we began thinking about the possibility of adopting a second child. After much prayer, discussions with family and other adoptive families we decided that we would follow through with a second adoption.
The following are journal entries written while I waited to travel to China to bring Megan home…
I made a promise to you on the first day I held you, that you would never have to be alone again. Although no one could possibly know the shock of your abandonment, I find comfort in believing that your birth mother was nearby watching over you until the time of your rescue.
Because of our love for you and my desire to keep my promise, your Daddy and I have decided to give you a sister. She will be your friend, your confidante, your competition and your soul mate and you will be hers. Take care of one another.
I am waiting for you. My life is in order. My heart is prepared and my spirit is ready. I am waiting for you. Each day opens and closes with anticipation of bringing you home and completing our family circle. You are the missing link.
I often imagine you, the warm softness of your skin, the smell of your hair and the sound of your breath. I know you. You are as much a part of this family as If I had carried you. I have felt you move. I am waiting for you.
On Christmas Day, 1997 the orphanage attendants in Maoming, China handed Molly her Christmas present in the form of her new baby sister, Megan Rose, and we are satisfied that our family circle is complete.
Ours is a story that began as a result of infertility but it may not be your story. Maybe you want to expand your family. Perhaps you are in a second marriage and want to start over. Maybe you have a heart for the children of China and have the desire to share your life with a child. In any case, this is a wonderful opportunity to bring home a child who is waiting for you. I believe that if after prayerful consideration you know that adopting a child is the answer to your prayers, God will provide a way.