When my husband and I started our married life together 15 years ago, we envisioned the American dream for our future, and that included three kids at just the precise time we thought we might like them…sometime in our 20’s sounded good to us. After six years of marriage, we felt like it was time to expand our family. But, we were naïve and had no idea that we would be like a growing number of the population who would struggle with infertility. As Christians serving faithfully in ministries and our church, we assumed God would magically grant us our wish for children because after all, we were doing exactly what He wanted us to do in service to Him. We didn’t know that His plans included years of waiting, trying, and praying through tears.
The Christian friends we surrounded ourselves with at church began to have their own children, and we celebrated their births and their birthdays and then the births of their siblings, as we continued to hope for a family of our own. Month after month, year after year, doctor’s appointments, and a miscarriage came and went in the process. A couple of years after we started trying to build our family, I had a dream that an angel came to me and told me that we would have a baby, but it would not be for a very long time. Another time, I had a vision of a beautiful dark-haired, blue-eyed baby. I wrote down my dreams and visions to see if one day they might come to pass. And, we continued to wait.
Finally, through much prayer and confirmation, we decided God was leading us to domestic infant adoption. We had a wonderful support system built by this time with many young families rooting us on toward our dream of becoming parents. As we began the journey through adoption, we prayed over every detail of the process and asked God for specific things. We had to create an adoptive parent profile of ourselves, basically a brochure highlighting us as a couple and all the reasons we would make great parents for a child. We chose a picture for the front of that profile. One Sunday in our small group at church, we passed that brochure around our class and asked our friends to pray over that picture, that the birth mom carrying our child would see the picture and know we were the ones.
After a month of waiting and not being chosen, I discussed changing the picture on the front of the profile and a friend reminded me that we had prayed over the original picture and to wait. Within a week we were chosen to parent a little boy to be born a few months later! Months after our child’s birth, the birth mom (who might just be reading this!) told me that she had a stack of 40+ profiles to go through, but she kept coming back to ours because of the picture on the front! Don’t tell me God is not in the details!
I mentioned a little boy was expected, but part of the wonder of our story is that during those months we were matched with the birthmother, we decorated his room, nailed “Levi” to the walls, and lovingly washed and packed little monogrammed clothes with his initials and name on them. When the day came for his birth, my husband and I boarded a plane to Texas, and “his” birthmother called and told me the baby had been born, but there had been one change. It was a GIRL!!! We giggled with shock and excitement as we traveled to meet our new daughter! We chose to name our little blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl “Eliana,” which means “God has answered us.” When we returned home, we had a plethora of girl things awaiting us from our supportive group of friends and family who rejoiced with us at our answered prayers and God’s wonderful sense of humor! God provided every dime we needed and met every need we had to the detail of our prayers. He is faithful. He has proven that over and over again!
Today, we have a beautiful open adoption with our daughter’s birthparents, and although we haven’t seen them in several years, we still keep in touch. Not long after we brought our new daughter home, I remembered that dream where the angel told me we would have a baby. I looked at the date of the dream, and it matched up perfectly two years to the day we brought our daughter home from Texas.
Two years after Eliana’s birth, we were contacted about adding to our family through adoption again. After a few weeks of prayer and discussion, the birthmother decided to raise her child. That very same week, I found out I was expecting. Exactly five years earlier, I had learned I was pregnant and due the first week of October. This baby was now due the first week of October as well. After the loss of our first child, I grieved heavily. I was so thrilled to become a mom, no matter how I became one. I was praying that to be able to conceive and carry a pregnancy to term would feel like redemption for a loss I had really wondered why we had to endure. One day, early in this new pregnancy, a friend of mine told me that she had a dream about me, and the Lord had told her to use the words redeemed and redemption. I knew this was confirmation the Lord was going to come through for this child. Indeed, He did redeem that first pregnancy loss.
When our red-headed, green-eyed son came into the world that first week in October of 2011, his birth was unnecessarily traumatic. We were thrilled to add a son to our family and to be blessed with a full-term baby, but the experience of bringing him into the world was terrifying and caused unnecessary anxiety and emotional upheaval. I didn’t know if we would ever be blessed with another child, and I was so unbelievably thankful for the two we had, but I hoped again for another opportunity to see the Lord redeem more pain I had endured. God is a God of redemption. I know that. I see that and experience it. It is why He sent His Son, Jesus.
So, we waited and enjoyed our two blessings and rested in the fact that if God wanted to continue to grow our family, He would. We were thrilled to learn that we were expecting again on Christmas morning of 2012 and were able to see our little one several weeks later on ultrasound. I had an appointment for a follow-up ultrasound for my eight-week checkup, and the night before I went for the ultrasound, I had a dream. In my dream, I saw the ultrasound screen, and an angel held my baby, whose heart was no longer beating. I awakened the next morning with dread and sadness, thinking perhaps my dream had been prophetic and the Lord’s way of gently preparing me for what was to come. As I drove into the parking deck to make my appointment, a song by Natalie Grant began playing on the radio. The song was “Held.” The first line of the song goes, “Two months is too little. They let him go. They had no sudden healing.” The rest of the song talks about how the Lord holds us through the loss of loved ones. I pictured that angel holding my baby, and I knew then the Lord was confirming my dream. Sure enough, the baby had no more heartbeat, and we grieved the loss of another child.
Though the desire to add more children remained, we were confident whatever God wanted for us was best. In May of 2013, while having some time of prayer and study, I sensed the Holy Spirit speaking to me that He would give us more children. I waited for confirmation that I had heard correctly and through scripture, the Lord repeatedly confirmed His promise. I happily shared His promise to me with my husband and we waited to see what the Lord would do and how He would choose to do it.
The same week of October of our son’s birthday and the same week I had been due with the first baby seven years earlier, we found out that we were expecting again. Of course, I was nervous that perhaps we might lose this baby too, but when I was nine weeks pregnant, we began telling people we were expecting. I had dinner with a group of ladies I had not seen in a while. We weren’t friends who saw each other often, but it is always fun to have a girls’ night out over tacos and cheese dip. I announced our pregnancy, and one of the girls had big tears well up in her eyes, as she began to tell me how, for months, she had been led to pray for me, that we would have a baby. She didn’t know why she was supposed to pray this for me, and frankly did not know much of our history, but the Holy Spirit had led her to pray, so she had been obedient. She saw the fruit from her prayers, and I saw a promise from the Lord that this little one was a keeper! I decided not to doubt but to believe He would come through for us and that this birth would be redemption for the traumatic birth I’d had with our son.
As the pregnancy progressed and the due date for another daughter approached, I began to be afraid. I wanted a beautiful birth experience, and I was afraid that all of the events that had played out before were going to come to pass again. About six weeks before her birth, I was worried and anxious reading and preparing for a natural birth. I opened Facebook and saw where someone had posted simply one passage of scripture and no explanation. I read the passage and re-read it and felt strongly it was just for me in that moment. Isaiah 54:10, 11, 13, 14 says, “For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted… All your children shall be taught by the Lord and great shall be the peace of your children. In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you.”’ From that moment I was no longer afraid of my birth experience. I had complete peace that God was going to come through with His promise.
The night before our daughter’s birth, I put my children to bed and read them the next story in our children’s Bible. It was the story of Noah and the ark and the rainbow of God’s promise. The next evening, as I was in labor, my husband pulled out of our driveway to take me to the hospital. Before driving away, he took a picture of a double rainbow that was high in the sky above our house… a reminder to me that God would be with me through this birth and that God always keeps His promises! And, do you know what? He was! I had a beautiful, redemptive, natural childbirth experience with our little Sadie, which means princess and mercy. A week after our princess was born, I sat rocking her and looking at her sweet round cheeks, blue eyes, and head full of dark hair. The vision of the baby I had had all those years before came to mind, and I realized that our sweet Sadie matches that vision!
Fifteen years ago when my husband and I married, I could never have guessed the path God would take us to build our family. So many years I wondered if there would only be just the two of us. I’m so thankful we didn’t give up praying and that we waited and followed His leading. Only God knows if Sadie is our caboose, and we will wait to see what or who the future holds. We believe each of our children is a gift (James 1:17), and we look forward to seeing how God will use them for His glory. I think He already has.