Saturday, January 23, 2016

Guest Post: The Cost of Infertility, 10 Reflections

Knowing Rick and Kim has been a gift to my heart. The way they process life through the lens of the Gospel is beautiful and compelling. They have three little ones that entered their family through the gift of adoption and they are waiting with Christian Adoption Consultants again for God to bring number four. They recently had a huge disappointment in their journey and I asked Kim if I could share her thoughts because they so strikingly reflect a heart that trusts God.


The Cost of Infertility, 10 Reflections (by Kim)

This morning I was processing during a rare moment where I curled my hair. I never quite got around to make-up. But I wore something other than a T-shirt. So I'm calling it a win. I was thinking about what I would tell people about our recent journey. We want to be transparent and to communicate well. We want to continue to tell others what is true. But we aren't sure how we feel yet. We aren't sure what parts of the story need to be talked about and what needs to be stored away as mere information instead of helpful instruction.

And pretty quickly my pondering turned to pouting. I thought about the journey of others and whether or not they ever had to go through something like this. (Comparison always works out well, doesn't it?) And I decided that what we went through - being matched with a baby we believed was ours and dreaming and planning, moving our whole family so we could be his, sitting in uncertainty yet loving wholeheartedly - that this was...
The Cost of Infertility.
Everything has a cost. And while I did not voluntarily sign up for infertility - I was made for it. You read that right. I was made for this.

I don't believe God intended infertility or brokenness. Or even adoption  (though I hate even writing that because adoption is so beautiful and dear to me). The world was supposed to be without death, without poverty, without  drugs, without orphans. Families were intended to be whole. Bodies were intended to be healthy.

But that same Sovereign God made a plan for our brokenness. He gave himself to meet my needs. First to give me the great hope of wholeness and reconciliation with Him, and second for a purpose in this life while I wait to be with Him. And in this life it means living with infertility. He knew this would be true for me. And he created me and surrounded me to be equipped for this. (I also believe this doesn't always have to be true of me - but that's a story for another day).

And while it is true that my story costs me something - what I've bought is much grander than the investment I've made. Here are just a few of the gifts we've been able to purchase - without money and with very little cost:

  
1. We get to say "Yes!", when it would be easy to say no. 
In a  world that values ease, we have learned to say yes, until someone tells  us no. It's a lesson in perseverance. And it's a lesson that this  strong-willed and yet emotionally timid girl needed. It would be easy to  bail when things got hard. But we've seen that when we say yes, when we  say we're "all in" - we get to extend some of the grace we've been  given - to others. We can provide them with space to feel and to freak out because we have determined to be unyielding. It's what Jesus does  with us. He allows me to be faithless when He is faithful. I can rage like a disappointed toddler and I know I do this within the safe arms of  a loving and unchanging God.

2. We are invited in to the brokenness of others lives. 
Every adoption story involves brokenness. It involves two broken families  coming together for the good of a kid who bears no responsibility for  the brokenness surrounding them. Adoption shines a bright light on the brokenness of the biological family because there is a reason that this  child needs a new home. And when that spotlight is pointed at them and  you step into their light - you see your brokenness more clearly as  well. We've been given the opportunity to be humble when the world would  imply that we could take the dangerous road of posturing. Hopefully  we've also come out more able to love - because humility leads to  understanding and empathy. And once you can feel what others feel it's  hard not to love them exactly where they are.

3. We get to trust God when it doesn't make sense. 
We tend to  want things to be fair, don't we? We want everyone to have the same  things, the same experiences, the same views. And when we see differences and discrepancy we have two options. We can choose jealousy  and/or ridicule, which leads to bitterness. Or we can choose to trust in the plans of a sovereign God who continues to be good. The  reality is there is not always justice on this side of heaven. The rich get richer and the poor stay poor. And that stinks. But we know the one  who knows all the whys. And we are regularly given opportunities to trust Him when it doesn't make sense - when he asks us to walk so walls  fall (Joshua 6), to show up because love is an action, and to feel until our hearts  hurt for ourselves and others. And at the end of the day we get to call  Him good. We get to tell others He is good. Because we believe it, and  it's a privilege to walk with Him even if only the next step is  illuminated and the rest of the road is dark.

4. We see how GOD makes families. 
I went through sex-ed when I  was in elementary school. I know how babies are made. But we've had time and space and tears to process through what is true about families and who it is that forms them in the secret place. I've heard so many well meaning people talk about their kids by saying something like - "we  made them." And while it makes sense that the non-believing world would depend upon themselves (or science) to give them children I often ask my Christian friends, "Really, you made that? You and your husband went in to the back room and created life? How did that go for you?" After looking at me funny they admit, "well I didn't make them, God did." See, we had to come to that conclusion right away. Because when you struggle with infertility you are VERY aware that you are not the author of life. And, more so, as we've pursued adoption we've been VERY aware that God has a Will that will come to pass. In the same place that He created those cute little babies that have your hair and your husband's eyes and put them in your cute little bellies, he created lives that have our hearts and were made in His image and placed them in our family. Only God can create insatiable love for people you would have no claim to without the permanency and love of God that goes before you.

5. We have learned to be open-handed with our kids. 
While this  lesson is on-going, and must be continuously relearned, our experience  has required that we love wholeheartedly while also being completely  uncertain. You just have to be open-handed under those  circumstances. You have to trust God will pick up the broken pieces of  your heart should it come to that. You learn to say, "The Lord gives and  the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord!" (Job 1:21) And  it's hard. But it's good. While our kids could not be more permanently  ours, they are also more permanently God's. We are stewards of  them, invited to love and bless and lead them, this side of heaven.  People will often ask me, "Don't you want kids of your own?" And with  all of the grace I can muster, and just a little bit of a disapproving look, I say, "These are my own kids." God has given them to us. They are ours in every parenting sense of the word. But more than that they belong to the King of Kings, who loves them more than anyone else (even though we tell them mommy and daddy love them a very close second). Their permanency with us was always known by God, but it was not always known by us. So we prayed every day - "Jesus they are yours. Please let them be ours too." And God was gracious. He allowed us to have each other. But because of our start, we will never forget who is in charge, and who they ultimately belong to. 

6. We get to normalize that which is misunderstood. 
Everyone has a borrowed adoption horror story. I've yet to meet anyone who has adopted who has cautioned me away from trusting God in this way. But we've met plenty of people who know a friend of a second cousin who had just a terrible experience and "aren't you just so scared?" It's true - adoption is not for the faint of heart. But it's beautiful! It's glorious! It's fun! And we have the opportunity to understand it and interpret it and rewrite the language that others use. Both because adoption needs to be understood so more people can adopt - but also because I don't want people telling my kids a bunch of lies about their story because they don't understand the redemption of adoption that God writes. I'm kind of a mother bear in that way. :)

7. We have the opportunity to be intentional. 
To be intentional or deliberate is to to do something on purpose. Our path was not an accident. We purposed to adopt. My infertility was not a surprise to God - he wrote my part so that I would be ready for my kid's part. There should be no question that we chose our kids and that we will stick with them. And I love that. I used to want to have a surprise pregnancy so I'd have an excuse not to work in a job I was not suited for. And while we would have been thrilled with whatever child God gave us by whatever means, it's not a very good story is it?  "Well son, I really disliked my job so I thought having a kid might be more fun." Contrarily, our kid's stories are amazing! They have the fingerprints of  God all over them - He moved us then He made them. There were hard obstacles, but we ran through them because they were at the other  end. And all the wait seemed like just a few days "because of all the love we had for them (Genesis 29)"...And then we lived happily ever after. We've been invited to witness and live the stuff that the great  stories are made of! How cool is that?

8. We get to connect with the ancients. 
Did you know that a lot of the patriarchs struggled with infertility? Abraham, Isaac, Jacob.  They all had first hand knowledge of longing for children and having to  depend on God to provide them. Sometimes those stories went a little  wonky. Like when Jacob's wives gave him their maidservants as wives so that they could have more children...I'm just sayin - Rick gets one wife. That's it. But I have known the pain and suffering of longing for a  child and being willing to do crazy stuff to try and get one. And when we read in the Bible about how God provided, and the mistakes that were  made along the way. We pay attention a little more. We relate a little  deeper. And it encourages me that I've walked through a little of what  the faithful firsts also went through. It validates God's love of the  broken, of which I am the worst.

9. I can give an answer to the pro-choice movement. 
The biggest criticism I've heard of the pro-life movement is that their  ideals are not followed through by appropriate actions. Where will the  babies go that we want people to have? We say - to us! We are the answer  for women in crisis and for babies who need parents. Us, and others  like us. I realize that this is a very simplified answer to a very  complex problem. And I won't pretend this is the whole solution. This is  not inherently a pro-life post; but it is a valuing of life post. And  we have learned to value life because of our circumstances and our kids.  You inherently value that which is difficult to obtain. And we LOVE  kids. Like a lot. It's a blessing to have learned this before we became  parents.

10. We are invited to share with vulnerability and inclusion. 
It takes a village to raise a child. And in our case it takes a village to bring a child home. We have been overwhelmed by the help of others as God forms our family. We've had several people donate breast milk for  each of our kids (talk about a labor of love!), we've had help housing  and caring for our kids while we've traveled. You've come to court,  wrote recommendations - prayed and prayed and prayed! We've been able to  share our stories and have been invited to be vulnerable. It's a blessing to live life with others, and we thank you for going on this  journey with us.

Right now, "We are given pieces of the puzzle without being given the picture on the top of the box." And maybe this is how we feel...we know God is painting a beautiful picture. But we can only see the pieces. One day the pieces will come together and we will be delighted to share it with you. Until then, we count the cost, knowing it costs us very little. And we are grateful for what we have earned. We have much to be grateful for!
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Kim, thank you for allowing me to share your beautiful words today. I'm praying along with you and can't wait to watch the pieces come together in your story!

Please contact me at katief@christianadoptionconsultants.com for more info about adoption and CAC. I'd love to help you in your adoption journey!

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