When Infertility and Adoption Collide

Another article that really hit a nerve for me, as I realise that I too will carry the burden of infertility for the rest of my life. As she writes: “After all, while adoption does grow a family, it isn’t a cure for infertility. It doesn’t erase the pain or the sleepless nights spent weeping for the loss of a dream.”

There were so many things my husband and I didn’t know before we decided to grow our family. We didn’t know how incredibly hilarious preschoolers are. We didn’t know that although a child may be potty “trained,” they might choose not to exercise that skill. We didn’t know how innocently a child can love and how quick they are to forgive. We also didn’t know how intensely angry and out-of-control that same child could be! We didn’t know about the Wild Kratts or Angelina Ballerina. We had no idea about car seat laws. We also didn’t know that we were walking into years of infertility.

About three years ago, my husband and I, quite naïvely, decided to grow our family of two. We began trying to conceive and pursuing our foster care license at the same time. I remember my husband saying, “Let’s just walk through whatever doors God opens,” and, while I was nodding my head in agreement, I was really only thinking of foster care, assuming we’d be pregnant in no time. Well, we walked through the open doors and none of them led to a pregnancy or even a baby.

Those doors led to two gorgeous kids, ages 5 and nearly 3 when they joined our family over a year and a half ago. They have completely changed our world, and, about a month after saying yes to those four precious eyes and twenty continuously dirty little fingers, Joe and I sat in a doctor’s office and were diagnosed with infertility. At that point, I was still in disbelief. I was thinking, “Okay God, You must be letting these littles settle in, and then You will give us a baby.” Nope. That’s not what He was doing. He was just plain ole’ closing doors.

Once I began accepting those closed doors, I realized something profoundly deeper than I ever had before–infertility is about more than not being able to grow a family, and, for that reason, exists independently from adoption. I got honest with myself and openly admitted that I really want a biological child too, especially after seeing and knowing the deep hurts of the two children in my arms. God has written a story of redemption for my two children, as He works in their lives and displays His love for them. I’ve been so thankful to be a part of that story, but I’m still hoping to be a part of another storyline for a child–a story where I protect them from the very beginning, always keeping them safe and loved, where the plot is without trauma, abuse, or tragic loss. I want to walk the journey that God intended for every child from the beginning, not just the journey that has resulted from a broken and fallen world.

Having experienced infertility and adoption both first-hand, I also began to call out all of my prior judgments of people who “just adopted” because they couldn’t get pregnant. First of all, there is no such thing as “just adopting.” Adoption is huge. It isn’t about “just” loving a child. It isn’t “just” a way to grow a family. It isn’t something you “just” do as Plan B. It is hard. It is life changing. It is born out of so much hurt and pain.

And it isn’t for everyone.

Adoption can be expensive. It can take years of waiting. It is emotionally draining, both before and after the adoption is complete. It can mean a completely different lifestyle from what was expected. Anyone who has walked through infertility can also identify with these, as it is also expensive, long, emotionally draining, and definitely outside of one’s expectations of life. While the journey of infertility may be preparing some hearts to be stretched and refined all over again with adoption, it may also be shaping others to move a different direction entirely. After all, while adoption does grow a family, it isn’t a cure for infertility. It doesn’t erase the pain or the sleepless nights spent weeping for the loss of a dream.

Adoption doesn’t end the journey of infertility.

It certainly hasn’t ended ours. We are walking these paths independently from each other. In one moment we may mourn the loss of a dream as we wait on a little pink line that never comes, and, in the next, we are celebrating the amazing act of redemption happening in our children and us through the blessing of adoption. And in each of these moments, we have learned that we can keep praising Christ, because He is our fortress. He holds us up. He supports us. He strengthens us. In the throws of infertility and adoption, He is there standing, proving His faithfulness. 

I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:12-13

* This article was first published on www.lifesongfororphans.org.

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