Confession. I wrote this post a year ago. But it was too raw to post. I came across it this morning and I really needed to read it again. Because what was so clear to me had become a little foggy in the last few weeks, and I needed these reminders. I’m ready to share this now, unedited and exactly as I wrote it a year ago…
It was Christmas time, and my husband and I were on our annual shopping for the kids and dinner date. We were at a pizza shop, with weary feet and few words. It had been an exhausting day.
Sometime before the pizza arrived, Eric abruptly said, “So, how does one go about adopting a kid anyway?”
My stomach lurched.
“Don’t get all excited, I’m just asking,” He warned me when he saw my eyes light up.
I started fidgeting with a napkin, suddenly feeling like I was on a date. I sipped my root beer and calmly had a conversation with my husband about adoption. My stomach was quite literally shaking inside.
I had wanted to adopt since I can remember, and Eric had always been firmly set that it wasn’t for him, so him starting this conversation was a huge deal. He kept reminding me, the whole time, not to get excited. That he was just curious.
As if I could help myself.
I asked him what had sparked his curiosity.
What he told me made something inside of me break a little. We had been at our friend’s house, talking about big families. I mentioned that I was so happy I’d been able to even have two kids, but part of me was always sad I didn’t have a big houseful of kids. At some point, adoption was mentioned and I said I’d always wanted to but Eric was done having kids.
At that moment, he decided to broach the topic and let me know he was willing. He didn’t want me to be sad. That was it.
I selfishly ignored these facts and started researching adoption, foreign and domestic. We already knew all about step-parent adoption, because we had been researching that for years and had the paperwork on standby. Eric has always planned to adopt my oldest girl as soon as he could. (update: he did!) But this was different. This would be adding a child to our family of four. It would be raising another child. It would be starting over.
As I researched, I began pushing for a sibling group. I didn’t want to adopt one child, who would end up being practically an only child in a few years. I wanted to adopt two or three. My husband thought I was crazy.
He reminded me that our youngest was ten then and it would be like starting over, and I reminded him that he still has 20 years of working left, so what did that matter?
He reminded me that I’m not as young as I used to be and I reminded him of all the moms I know that are my age and have toddlers.
He reminded me that we are living paycheck to paycheck and I reminded him that there are children living in absolute poverty, and besides… God provides.
He reminded me that I was finally at the point where I could write and I reminded him that while writing was great, raising kids was miraculous.
For three weeks, I was in a total fog. I was almost incapable of having a conversation. I only told my mom and one close friend that we were even discussing it. I was hopeful, and excited, and strangely sad. I became kind of depressed.
I mean, I had a hysterectomy five years ago and it took a really long time to accept that I couldn’t have any more kids.
Even when the doctor told me they had to take my uterus, I let myself dream that somehow I would conceive before the surgery happened. I dreamed about a miracle baby. A little sibling for my girls. I was earnestly praying that the morning of my surgery, they would find I was pregnant and be unable to do the surgery.
After the surgery, I spent two weeks arguing with myself and finally sort of accepting that I was done having children. Done being pregnant. Done giving birth. I sort of accepted it. But really, I lied to myself for the next few years, telling myself that I still had an ovary and would be able to have more kids via a surrogate if we struck gold or something.
Then, last year, I was in need of another surgery. During this one, they had to take my one remaining ovary. I will never forget the doctor nonchalantly mentioning it when I was still groggy from the anesthesia.
There were no lies I could tell myself now. There was no dreaming.
All over again, I had to grieve and accept that God did not make me someone that could have many children.
I had finally accepted that our family was complete. It took the better part of a year.
Then, my husband bought up adoption one night in a pizza place. And I had to feel all those feelings again. In the hope and excitement, there was a sense of dread. I’d heard the stories, read the blogs. I knew of the heartbreak along the journey to adopt and I wasn’t really sure I was up for that.
But snuggling a baby? Answering a toddler’s thousand questions? Getting to homeschool a kindergartner again? When I thought of these things, I would have agreed, on the spot, to go through any kind of heartbreak if at the end of the journey, I got to be a mom for just a little longer.
And there it was.
My oldest was graduating that year. My youngest was much more independent. Was this just a case of me not being ready to move on in the next stage of our life?
I am unbelievably thankful for my two daughters. I know that when my friend with a lot of children expresses her sadness at not being able to have more, I cringe inside. And I know that someone who was unable to have any children might be cringing inside right now, reading this. Isn’t two enough?
Yes and yes. A million times yes.
As weird as this may sound, it is because my daughters are so lovely that I wanted more children. I really wanted them to grow up with many siblings. A loud, messy, crazy house with kids everywhere.
Hasn’t our house been loud? Filled with love? Messy? Oh yes.
Aren’t I so incredibly close with each of them, able to form a relationship that I might not be able to if there were five of them?
There are so many things to hold onto and be thankful for when a sad thought dares to make it’s way into my mind.
God, I know what you have given me. I am utterly thankful for these lives you have let me care for.
I feel selfish and stupid for those sad thoughts. Crazy for the dark days when I couldn’t stop crying.
I feel absolutely ridiculous for the weeks spent in a weird, adoption-obsessed fog. I knew all along that this wasn’t to be. Deep down, I knew my husband didn’t really want to raise any more kids, but that he would move heaven and earth to give me anything I want. His heart’s desire is for me to be happy.
I knew that bringing a child or children into our family when one parent wasn’t really excited about it would be a colossal mistake.
But I let myself whisper dreams and plan timelines and wonder what our kids-to-be were doing right that second. I let myself imagine that houseful of kids, and those family gatherings when I am gray, surrounded by many children and knowing that whatever happens to us, my kids have each other.
I let myself dream again.
Which means I had to let myself grieve again.
Do I sound like a crazy person yet? Because for the past five years, I have secretly felt like one.
In the end, we decided to not pursue adoption. We decided to leave it up to God to impress upon our hearts if it is to be. To pretty much bring it to our front step and kind of throw it in our faces and change our hearts if it is to be. Kind of like He did with homeschooling 🙂
I decided that I didn’t actually want to start over. Man, it was hard to type that sentence. I’m pretty sure it’s mostly true.
I knew that, even if we started the process now, my youngest would be at least fourteen, and my oldest twenty one by the time we were able to add to our family. No matter what we do, their childhood is already written. And it didn’t include a big family.
I finally saw that, while I love my girls beyond belief and I tell myself they’re missing out on a big family, God loves them even more. And if He thought they needed a big family, He would have provided one.
This is when I have to admit that I have prayed and tried to bend God’s will to my own in this area of my life. I have begged, and pleaded, and expressed such a sad attitude about it all that my husband was even willing to try to fix it for me.
I believe God knows better.
I believe miracles do happen and I have two under my roof this very second, asleep in their cozy beds while their crazy mom writes and writes, and figures out how she is feeling and how she has tried to manipulate God.
I believe that God has changed my heart’s desire to match His will in this. I believe His answer is no, and I am okay with that. Not the kind of okay where I smile all day and cry at night. Really, truly okay. In fact, I’m better than okay.
I also believe that just as we get settled in life, God mixes things up. So who knows?
Note from today, 2015: Please know that it was hard for me to share this and that someday I really want to write a list about what NOT to say to someone experiencing infertility. So please withhold judgement and don’t give me anything to add to that list 🙂 I would love to hear from you, and I’m okay if you disagree. But let’s all be gentle.