But, my eyes well up much more often these days in pride and gratitude. In sheer awe of the gifts before me.
You see, my husband and I are in a place we never imagined when we first dreamed about our family. Our biological son almost five and our adopted son six months - secondary infertility now a defining feature of our lives.
What's weird is, I wouldn't change a thing.
[And let me take a brief break now and say right up front that I won't guarantee similar results for folks in similar circumstances, I know each of our journey's are incredibly unique. But this is my story, and so I'll tell it. I pray it gives you hope.]
So back to the weird thing: I wouldn't take back my secondary infertility. It's part of who I am now, just like I'm a farmers daughter, a childhood track athlete, a liberal arts college grad. I was the abstract thinker in medical school, and yes I lost five babies.
But adoption has healed me. No, my adopted son hasn't replaced my children in heaven. No, those hurts can't ever be undone. But those hurts have made me so much braver. They've strengthened my faith and they sowed the seeds of empathy in my often inconsiderate heart. I am such a better person because of what I learned through infertility.
And what I've learned through adoption, now that's really tremendous. Yes, it was hard, costly and sometimes exhausting. The wait was so long and so lonely; it seemed like it would never end. But through it, I met dozens of people with the most generous hearts I've ever known. My husband and I did some serious soul searching, and our partnership is stronger than ever.
Having my adopted son makes me look forward in a way I wasn't able to do for almost three years. I am no longer haunted by my miscarriages, they are simply facts of my life. Events that forever changed me. But I don't think of them with regret, and truly I don't think of them often. I'm not afraid of them in the future, either. In some ways, I feel like the slate has been washed clean. My son, the one who was always meant for me, is right where he belongs.
For now anyway, I no longer have to choose to be happy, it just comes naturally. Interestingly, I don't sit around and think all day about the precious miracle of adoption either. Yes, it's a miracle and I am so very thankful and blessed to have it as part of my life. My son's birthmother holds one of the dearest places in my heart. When I really think about it, I'm in agape. My day to day with my two boys and their father, though, it's an everyday adventure too. My mind isn't constantly replaying the miracle of it all, just like I don't daily replay the miracle of meeting my husband thousands of miles away from home in Costa Rica. Of course I don't mean I want to take it for granted, but what I mean is that my family isn't partially adopted, partially biological, I don't sit and dissect it very often. My family is my family not just because of adoption, but because of the utterly awesome people in it, and I love them all. I simply relish our life. We thrive together in the day to day.
For those of you who wonder, because I was wondering, and now I think I know... despite all of this, adoption (for me) has not taken away the longing. Again, I think this is very unique for each individual. But for me, although I feel fully content, I'm still longing for more. Whether it be for another baby in our earthly family, the most perfect work life balance, for my writing to turn into a book worth publishing, or for the cardiopulmonary strength to do another half marathon; yes, I'm still longing.
Actually, what I've come to realize lately is that I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I think longing is part of the human condition. It's part of my drive, my personal motivation to keep becoming my best possible self. Not in the never satisfied kind of way but in the always improving one.
Ultimately, I don't know when my longing for more children will dissipate. I don't know what we'll do between now and then to help it come to fruition or to help it pass. But, I trust that this longing will pass when the time is right; and that when it does my heart will find another beautiful thing to focus upon.
For now, I put my trust where it belongs... not in my hands, but in God's.
I'll conclude with another excerpt from this past years theme song, Thrive, by Casting Crowns. This is the song with the chorus "joy unspeakable, faith unsinkable, love unstoppable, anything is possible..." which I've sung and cried over so many times in the past year. It goes on, "we know we were made for so much more than ordinary lives, it's time for us to more than just survive, we were made to thrive.... (joy unspeakable)..."
Me and my family, we are thriving.