Saturday, March 13, 2010

From Infertility to Adoption

Over the past couple of months I have been approached by several people to share my story, our story, of infertility and adoption. Yes, this is something very personal and at the same time very public. How can one keep infertility private when your marriage of 9 years is childless, your have multiple surgeries, and then you have a beautiful baby with no stretch marks or belly to prove of your 9 month journey thru pregnancy. I don’t know - maybe some people can keep it private, but for us, well let’s just say it was difficult.

So, as requested, I am going to share. I hope this will help someone else who has gone or is going through this same experience. The following is a mixture of previous posts on my blog as well as my current thoughts and feelings on the subject.

Infertility: I remember thinking something was wrong with my body when I fainted in my social studies class. I had been bleeding for a couple of weeks and was hiding it from my mother. At 14 I didn't want to think anything was wrong. I spent the rest of my adolescence knowing that something was wrong when I continually missed periods or bled heavily for weeks.

I remember telling Ryan before we married that I didn't think I could have children; that he should think before he marry me. I love him. He married me. For three years the thought of having children disappeared into blissful marriage and birth control. I didn't have a moment to worry. It was so nice. That is when we started trying. 6 years have passed. I let the word "Infertility" sink in. Infertility. Eventually we found out that I have moderate Endometriosis on my uterus and pelvic cavity. I also have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. With this has come extreme pain and cycle irregularity. In 2009 I suffered thru a 6 month in-ovulatory menstruation. After 2 surgeries and hormones I have finally given in and decided to let it take its course. It is real.

Sometimes, I mourn. I get this ache, maybe a longing - I am not sure - on those days it is hard. At first, I bounced between feeling “normal” and “broken”. Lets just say I have spent my fair share of time in the shower crying. Ryan has been the sweetest - sitting on the bathroom floor just listening while I cry through my disappoint, anger, pain, hurt, and feelings of failure. It isn’t always like this - now I have moments, more often than not, where I realize this isn’t something I can control; that there are so many wonderful blessings that have come out of this; and that I have feelings of peace that have come through blessings, prayer and faith.

Matthew 9:19-22
19 And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples.
20 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:
21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.
22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.

I am not physically whole but I feel now that I have been made emotionally whole through trust in my Savior.

Infertility has been a journey. I don’t presume to tell anyone what way in which they should take. Only that this has been my way through it and I am still getting through it.

Adoption: Just as I knew in my teens that I may not be able to have children I also thought about adoption. Ryan and I talked about it very early in our marriage so it wasn’t a surprise to us when the possibility became real.

In March of 2008 Ryan and I were sitting in church I asked what he was thinking about. He quickly answered that he felt strongly impressed to adopt. I had felt that very same thing. With more prayer and investigation we began the adoption process with LDS Family Services. It took us two weeks to fill out the paper work. When I say two weeks, I mean 2 to 3 hours a night for 2 weeks (and some full day weekends). We had physicals, background checks, interviews, and home visits. It was very invasive and impersonal. Questions like “Describe your parents discipline” and “How would you describe your intimacy” …. We laughed and stressed equally over each of our answers. My advice is get it done and don’t wait.

Once we were approved for adoption, 2 months later, we had created a web site, sent out emails, and business cards to friends, family, hospitals, social workers, and doctor’s offices. It was hard to feel comfortable being so open about adoption, but from all this work we had a total of 5 birth mother contacts by March of the following year. Each contact was different and each time Ryan and I felt overjoyed and devastated. By the 5th contact it wasn’t so… I felt robbed of excitement. I was cautious and slow to believe that this would be the birth mother of our son. Ryan and I had put our guard up and were slow to let ourselves feel the joy of this process.

Our birth-mom was steadfast. She knew that Barec was our son and she didn’t give up on us. At 9 weeks, I decided to emotionally support her if even if we couldn’t commit to the adoption. I took her to all her doctor’s appointments and we talked frequently. Ryan and I prayed constantly to know if this was it…but there was no answer. 32 weeks - it came. We knew. He was born 6 weeks later.

I wish for you to truly FEEL how I did in that moment....Hum, try to describe, well I felt 'bitter-sweet'. I felt the bitter taste of grief in knowing our sweet birth-mom suffered. A sense of sadness overwhelmed me when I remembered her words as we left the hospital "please take care of my son". In a way I am grieving, shedding tears for her, I have such a deep compassion inside for her. So yes, this was a bitter taste. She has placed with me someone who she truly loves. She trusts that we too will love him. She had only 3 days with him and she has given us forever. Thank you. What follows is definitely sweet. I am in love. My heart exploded when Barec came into the world. It could not hold the love that I have for him. He is my sweetness: sneezes when he is changed, squeaks when he eats, and snorts when he's upset. He smells like dinner rolls and feels like them too, he was worth all the fertility troubles, long cries, pain, time, and more. He is now our everything - our sweet joy.

In closing, this was hard, it is hard. But worth it – I don't feel ready for such a blessing and here is where my thoughts cease. "For thou art my hope, O Lord God: thou art my trust..."

http://ryanandjuliana.blogspot.com/

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