Like all little girls, I grew up playing with dolls and fussing over babies. I even took my love of children a step further and working with children became my career. I spent all day working in nurseries and my evening doing voluntary work with children; it was all I knew.
Just like any other young woman, you just assume that one day you’ll meet the man of your dreams, have lots of babies and live happily ever after. Well, we managed 2 of the 3.
Here is our story:
David was my first boyfriend. I was his first girlfriend. I knew from the beginning that he was the one. – how did I know? God told me.
I used to have a recurring dream where I was introducing my boyfriend to my friends, but whenever I turned round to look at him, I could never see his face. The day I started going out with David I had the dream, but when I turned round he was there.
And I knew. It was God’s will that we were together.
We were engaged after being together for 10 months. We talked about out future together, children, made plans, spoke about our careers and shared our histories. We talked about health issues and David told me he’d had a couple of operations as a child which may affect his fertility.
And I knew. I heard Him whispering. We were never going to conceive.
Fast forward and we were married 8 months after our engagement. I put any thoughts of infertility to the back of my mind while we enjoyed our first year of marriage and setting up home together. By now I was working for a charity supporting children whose mothers are addicted to drugs or alcohol. David was planning a major career change and return to university.
Just over a year into our marriage we decided the time was right to start a family. We knew it could take a while due to David’s medical past so didn’t worry when things didn’t happen straight away. A year passed by, and I was getting concerned. I remembered what God had told me a couple of years before, but longed for it not to be true.
Another month would pass. Would it be this time? Another weep at what wasn’t to be. Then it would all begin again.
I’d mentioned to our GP the problems we’d been having and she suggested that it was time for us to have some basic tests. We’d been trying to conceive for almost 2 years by this point, but still we weren’t ready to face what we already knew.
A short time later we reached that point. I was convinced I was pregnant; we even did a test but it was negative. I’d been so sure and we’d got so excited but then it all came crashing to the ground. It was time to face reality.
Our GP organised the test – basic blood tests for me and a test on David’s “sample”. My results came back clear but there had been a problem with David’s – we were told the paperwork had come back blank probably due to some admin error so could he give another sample? A few days later the GP phoned me while I was at work but I missed the call. Unusually, I was very nearby visiting a client so decided to pop in to see what they wanted. Looking back I see God’s hand in it all.
I remember arriving at the surgery and explaining to the receptionist why I was there. I gave my name and she looked at me in a knowing way. I was ushered through the back and the nurse was fetched to talk to me.
In that little room in a busy surgery I heard it from a human voice for the first time. There had been no admin error, just a GP wanting to be sure before she broke our hearts. The reason the paperwork was blank, was that the samples David provided were also blank. It wasn’t of poor numbers, quality or mobility. It was completely blank.
And then I really did know.
I think from that moment I went into shock. I didn’t cry. I knew I needed to be strong for David, so I went to Asda to buy the week’s groceries. I remember being surprised at myself at how well I was coping, wondering what was wrong with me. I went home and sat on the couch waiting for David to come home, thinking about how to tell him the devastating news.
Some moments are private between a husband and a wife and that conversation is one of them. From that moment on we were united. I was not an infertile woman. He was not an infertile man. WE were an infertile couple and together with our heavenly Father we knew we were about to start a journey of a different kind. We gave thanks for the finality of the results – there was no doubt, no what ifs. We were infertile.
We told our families our news which was a shock to them as they hadn’t even known we were trying to conceive. They supported us entirely though they were devastated for us. They agreed with our decision not to have any kind of fertility treatment – in our situation the odds of it being successful were extremely slim and anyway, we knew God had a different journey in mind for us. An Adoption journey.
Three days after receiving our test results, we phoned the Social Work Department to start the adoption process. I remember so clearly feeling like I was standing on a path at the foot of a mountain. I knew I had to reach the top but had no idea what lay ahead. A whole new world of which we knew nothing.
Prospective adopters spend a huge amount of time in limbo and waiting for phone calls, letters, appointments and decisions to be made. The beginning of our journey was a taste of what was to come – a 4 month wait until we could attend an information evening. It was during this wait that we started not only a new process towards becoming parents, but also started grieving for what was never meant to be.
As I mentioned earlier, at this stage I was working with children affected by maternal drug / alcohol
use – the very group where our future children would come from. From that moment on my work life began a downward spiral while I tried to juggle supporting these children and their mothers while desperately wanting a child of my own. We found huge support in 2 close Christian friends who are childless. They listened to us and prayed for us, while we cried and mourned something that had never existed.
Time went by and the different stages of the process gradually passed. We attended prep groups, interviews and were assigned a Social Worker who visited weekly for 4 months carrying out our Home Study. Finally just over a year after starting the process we were approved as adopters. Now the hard bit – the wait for a phone call to tell us we would be parents but little did we know (but God certainly did) just a couple of miles from where we were being approved our future daughter was in hospital having a minor operation.
They say good things come to those who wait, and wait we did. Seven long months we waited, which is less than the average wait but by far the most difficult part of the process. David had graduated and was excitedly starting his new career while I carried on smiling in the office, crying in the car while visiting our city’s most neglected and damaged children.
The Adoption process was now completely out of our hands; there was nothing we could do apart from wait for the phone call. I sank deeper into a depression and my work suffered to the extent I had to drop from 5 days a week to 2 just so I could cope.
Then one day the phone call came: There was a little girl. She needed a new mummy and daddy. She had a baby brother who also needed a home. Could the Social Workers come to visit? Of course! We were overjoyed; at last we would be parents!
After the formalities were complete, a few weeks later we met our beautiful daughter for the first time. She was 16 months old, and absolutely perfect. We brought her home and our family embraced her. At long last we were a family, but I always felt we weren’t complete. Our daughter had a baby brother, who was not yet ready to be placed for adoption, and 10 months after our daughter came home, we heard the baby boy was coming to us too! A year to the day after our daughter came home, her brother arrived aged 13 months. Now we were complete.
Time passed by and we completed all the paperwork to make the children officially ours. Then we were able to organise their baptisms. At both services we sang, “Father God”.
“Now I am your child I am adopted in your family, and I can never be alone, for Father God you’re there beside me”…
Our journey to parenthood has perhaps not been a conventional one, but we have been blessed with 2 amazing, wonderful children who we hope and pray will one day realise the significance of their adoption and spiritual adoption. We can clearly see God’s hand in it all – from the experience and knowledge I have gained in my employment to God placing us where there were the people who could support us. We realised this is in many ways the beginning of a new journey as we face the challenges of parenting but we hold onto the truth that we don’t know what the future holds but we know who holds the future.