“It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful.
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
Have you ever received news that just…brought death? Maybe a loved one passing away, or the dreaded news your spouse has been having an affair? Or even news that you’ve been fired from a job? The kind of news that crushes something in you? I received that kind of news in a phone call one day from my beloved husband.
He really didn’t have to say the words. The pain in his voice and the tears that he just couldn’t hold back were enough. We had come to the end and he was calling to confirm what we’d feared for so long.
Our hopes of having children were over.
We sat on the phone in silence both weeping just trying to take in our new reality. When he whispered “I’m sorry honey” I knew I’d never be the same. My heart was broken for myself and for the sweet man I loved so much. For the 7 years we’d been married, I had daydreamed about looking into a child eyes…and seeing Dan! Oh I loved that thought.
After processing, and grieving, I came upon a familiar yet fresh path called…surrender. Of course I thought I was fully given over to the Lord but it’s when we find ourselves staring into disappointment with His will that we face true surrender. Dan would say things like “The Lord is not trying to rip you off”, and “His will is so much better than anything we could dream up or desire”. This was very helpful to me, but still left me with this edge of the cliff feeling.
“Ok. So, what now? If not this, then what, Lord?” I would pray.
A friend called to tell me I should listen to a recent Focus on the Family broadcast because they were talking about “embryo adoption” and she thought I might be interested. What in the world? I’d never heard of this.
The miracles were being stacked up like dominoes waiting for the first one to put them all into motion.
I listened to the broadcast and learned of an adoption agency that was helping couples who’d gone through in-vitro adopt out their remaining embryos after they’d had as many children as they wished.
“That’s AMAZING!”, I thought.
Could this be what God has planned? We began talking to our fertility doctor about the idea and he was willing to work with us.
But then, he added this… “I have a couple that has asked me to help them find parents for their remaining embryos here at our clinic. Their only stipulation was that they go to a Christian couple. Seems to me you guys qualify. Would you be interested in receiving this gift?”
My mind hung on the word “Gift”. It was the first stitch in my torn heart. I asked a million questions and explored the process with our doctor and then at home. It really didn’t take long before we began to think that maybe this was our chance. We called back with a resounding yet nervous, “Yes! Let’s do this!”
The next month we were in the clinic literally “receiving” our gift! It was such a strange and scientific experience! We couldn’t help ourselves from making jokes and laughing about how odd it all seemed. And then, when the procedure was over our doctor quietly said, “Would you like to pray?” Oh man. My heart-felt like it was exploding.
Three microscopic embryos had been set loose to swim around in my womb and hopefully settle in. Yes I said THREE! Ten long days later we were able to confirm, that one embryo HAD found its home and we were in fact, pregnant.
When Nathan (which means Gift of God) was born, I fought through postpartum depression, exhaustion, and absolute terror of caring for this tiny human. But Nathan’s life, and 18 months later, Sam’s sparked things in me I never knew were in there. A fierce love sprung up in me that made me want to move heaven and earth to protect them. A drive to make sure that they understand how precious they are, and that God intends amazing things for them moves me everyday. I work hard at mothering them, because I’m so aware of how important the task is.
What I didn’t expect was what their love would do for me. They tell me they love me many times a day and each time I hear it my heart smiles. They are tender and sweet, and so protective of me that at times I wonder how I ever felt joy before they came to us.
One time at dinner I made a flippant comment about “If I was a good mommy I would have…” yadda yadda yadda. Nathan looked at me with such indignation. “You are a GREAT mommy!!” he scolded. He wasn’t going to have even me criticize his Mom!
Becoming their mom has been like stepping into story and realizing that I’ve been in it all along, and never knew it. It is a great honor for me to have been cast for this role. I have not done it all right and have made plenty of mistakes, but it’s God’s story. I just get to watch it unfold!
I became what I never knew I always was.
I’ve heard it said that having children is like having your heart walk around outside your body. I love that! I love them so much that at times, it almost hurts.
I can honestly say that I’m so thankful that the Lord doesn’t always answer our prayers the way we wish. His will really is so much better than any of our dreams or desires. My two boys remind me of that every day.