Sometimes we look back on difficult periods in our lives, and we wonder how we got through them. We wonder if we could do it again; if the strength we had in those moments would return if we were to go through the same or similar challenges once more.
Over ten years have passed since my husband and I began our adoption journey, so some of the details of the process and the intense emotions of the experience have faded, but I clearly recall that God was with us during those years between the birth of our biological son and the arrival of our adopted daughter.
When my husband and I married at 33 and 28, respectively, we were ready to start our family right away. Initially, we simply did nothing to prevent a pregnancy, but after a couple of years without success, we began trying lots of “beginner” measures to become pregnant. By the time our fourth Christmas as a married couple rolled around, we were finally able to announce a pregnancy.
Our son was conceived with the help of oral Clomid, and a second pregnancy came rather unexpectedly a year or so after his birth. The excitement of that relatively-easy conception didn’t last long. I miscarried the baby just days after announcing to my family, friends and co-workers that we were expecting a second child.
Somehow I felt that would be my last pregnancy. I had suspected miscarriages prior to this confirmed one, and I thought we should resume and increase our fertility treatments in order to have the second child we wanted so badly. We tried a variety of different options, all of which were emotional exhausting. I don’t remember how many appointments, ultrasounds (part of the fertility treatment process), at-home pregnancy tests, and injections I had. But I do know it was taxing.
When we had tried without success to become pregnant using the fertility measures my husband and I felt comfortable with, we decided to pursue adoption. We met with the director of a small St. Louis agency and quickly began to pursue foreign adoption. This gave me new hope and a new focus as I threw myself into completing a dossier and all the paperwork required for the complicated process.
Months went by while we waited, researched, documented and prepared for a placement to come from Romania, the country our agency did all their adoptions through. We were nearly ready when something unexpected happened; Romania shut their doors to international adoptions. I was devastated.
A long-awaited conception with baby one, a miscarriage in my second pregnancy, tiresome fertility treatments, an adoption process, and a country with many babies in need of good homes that was no longer willing to release those babies. These challenges and closing doors were getting the best of me, and, all of this was in addition to my full-time job as a high school guidance counselor and my role as a wife and mother to my precious toddler.
I remember crying with my husband, telling him that perhaps it was just not meant to be. I thought perhaps we should be happy with our one beautiful son, but we had always wanted him to have a sibling. Maybe that just wasn’t His plan.
What is it they say about closing doors? When Romania’s door closed, our wonderful adoption-agency pioneer decided to open a new door and venture into Guatemala. She helped Tim and I prepare to be the first family for whom she facilitated an adoption in the country.
More months passed, but just a few short weeks after our son’s fourth birthday, we were sent pictures of a beautiful baby girl available for placement in Guatemala. Our daughter came home to us in January 2002 at four-and-a-half months old, and we held her in our arms on my husband’s 42nd birthday. In the first moments of our meeting, our son looked down at his baby sister in the stroller and said to her “yessa, yessa do like chicken nuggets.” Well, she did, and she still does.
I love nuggets of truth, and I know the truth is that God has plans for us all. Romania wasn’t His plan for us, Guatemala was. And, when I look into my daughter’s eyes, I know she was the one for this family. Thank goodness for His plans, doors that open when others close, and the strength that He provides as we wait for it all to come into view.
Hally is a former high school guidance counselor, turned homemaker and freelance writer. She serves as the secretary for her church, and she is a 4-H leader, cheer booster, band parent, book club member, and enthusiastic traveler. She lives with her family outside St. Louis, Missouri, where she regularly writes about parenting, relationships, travel and more at Bloom, Bond & Build