Thursday, February 4, 2010

Reflections on infertility, adoption and living in the moment.



{Me and Noah in 2006, just a few days after coming home together from the time flies!)

We met with our adoption counselor/caseworker yesterday. Brenda came to our home as a formality for the approval process to complete our adoption homestudy for adoption #2... {one of the MANY "hoops" an adopting couple has to go through to be approved for an adoption. Essentially, a homestudy serves as an educational tool for adopting parents, and the information gathered assures that the child will be placed in a qualified home.}

During her visit, she walked through our home--looking in every room, closet, bathroom, bedroom, nook and cranny.... to evaluate whether or not our home is suitable for children to live in. And then, she interviewed both my hubby and I separately and then Noah. We discussed what measures we had gone through to try and get pregnant prior to deciding to adopt as well as the grieving process of the infertility. We shared our story with her and how it ultimately led us to Noah...which was truly miraculous indeed. We then were questioned about the nature of our marriage, its stability, on a scale of 1-10 how would you rate it...yada, yada... All very invasive when you think about it, but a formality for one to be approved for an adoption.

While I understand it is just part of the process and is for the protection of the children being placed in our home; it is still somewhat unnerving and intrusive to have to do all of this. I will say though that in our previous adoption with Noah and this time as well, the adoption specialists we have worked with are ever so pleasant and do their best to make us feel at ease through the process. All that said, I would be lying if I didn't confess how completely frustrated I feel at times with "the system" and all that we have to do to grow our family. Whether it be the formal interview questions or the million questions we have to answer on the pre-adoption questionnaires, in my mind and heart, there is no doubt we will provide a loving, peaceful and stable home for our children-- yet, it must be evaluated and decided upon by an outside entity if you are fit to be a parent. Doubly frustrating is the fact that there are SO MANY beautiful, innocent children out there who need loving homes, many of which languish in the foster care system waiting, hoping and praying to be adopted.

Here lately...I have been struggling with sad feelings about the fact that after 7.5 years of marriage and seeing one doctor after another, praying, fasting and praying more... I have yet to conceive. All the many doctors we have seen over the years have never been able to diagnose the reason why we can't get pregnant...instead, it is always diagnosed and recorded in my rather voluminous medical file as "Unexplained Infertility". Quite times, and mostly just to put my wishing heart at ease, I wish a doctor would tell me..."Jennifer you will never be able to get pregnant due to this or that..." Instead, the unexplained diagnosis leaves that ounce of hope in my heart that can be painful and heavy to carry around....a feeling that just maybe... someday.... it might happen. Frankly, I've grown tired of people telling me that now we adopted, we'll for sure get pregnant. Or, after seeing me with my son at the park, when other mothers ask me {in an ever so judgmental tone}, "Is he your only child?"

As if... I selfishly, only want one child. Nothing could be further from the truth! I guess this is why I sometimes so quickly explain to people I meet that my son is adopted and we are hopeful to adopt more children. I just assume that they are judging me because I am the age I am and I don't have more children. I get so mad at myself for feeling this way and for feeling that I have to justify to others why I only have one child. I seem to feel this way more when I am around mothers who are of my many are stay at home moms and it isn't the norm to just have one child. It is our belief that family is central to God's plan and we should be fruitful in our marriages and multiply...yet my body can't multiply!

In all honesty, my desire to conceive these days does not stem from some physical... female...hormonal... internal longing to carry a child in my womb, but on the contrary, it is more so related to the fact that I want my beautiful and special son to have a brother or sister to play with, love on and grow up with. And, then the obvious one, we have such a strong desire to grow our family.

As always, I know that I must continue to trust my Heavenly Father and His plan for us and, accept His will...something that is not always easy to do.

"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens."

-Ecclesiastes 3:1

In the meantime....I have been savoring every moment with my dear son and not allowing myself to drown in the worry of when and if a birthmother will select us for adoption #2. We have had some warm weather and Noah and I have been taking advantage of it as much as we can in our backyard. The other day, he helped me de-weed the flower bed. It was so cute, he would pick up all the weeds after I would throw them out on the lawn and put them in his little wheelbarrow and then carry them to the trash can and dump them in there. Afterwards, I pulled out my camera and just began to snap one picture after another of him enjoying his new backyard.

What a joyous afternoon it was for me to see him so happy. He LOVES the outdoors.

As I watched him run, play and jump around, I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes that I have in the sidebar of this blog in is by Anna Quindlen and her thoughts on being a mother...

“The biggest mistake I made as a parent is the one that most of us make. … I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.”

~ Anna Quindlen

I am trying my best to live more in the moment these days and worrying less about those things in my life that I have no control over...

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P.S. If anyone out there has similar experiences with infertility or adoption, I'd love to hear from you in the comments...


  1. Jennifer..
    I have never understood why there is SO MUCH to go thru for parents to adopt because there are SOOO many children out there waiting for a family. I love reading your blog and the love you have for your son is so makes me want to shout from the roof tops "pick them! pick them!" Sending prayers your way...I know there is a very lucky kid out there that Heavenly Father is going to bless y'all with...and them with y'all!

  2. Noah has grown up so much since we seen you all last, he's such a happy and handsome little boy!!!
    sending our prayers your way! xoxo

  3. Thanks girls...your prayers are so appreciated! Love ya...jenn

  4. "Or, after seeing me with my son (daughter) ..... when other mothers ask me {in an ever so judgmental tone}, "Is he your only child?" As if, I selfishly, only want one child."
    Amen. I hear it all the time. "She's 8... it's about time to have more?"... or, "don't you think you're starting to get a little old to have many more kids?" WOW... I completely feel you on that one. It's only been a little over 2 years for us, but the hurt is strong. I just finished my first round of Clomid, and nothing. More testing here I come!

  5. Hey Chrystal...hang in there girl! They usually tell you to give Clomid a good 6 month try before moving on to more invasive procedures. Keep the faith!!

  6. Hey Jenn! So sorry it has taken me so long to check out your blog. I just love it! Good luck with the adoption process. I'm sure many great things are in your future! Noah is sooooo cute and precious!!!! PLease say HI to Jody for me and give little guy, Noah an extra hug! Love to y'all from Aunt Stevie.

  7. by first round i meant 3 months. I wasn't very clear there. I'm doing another 3 now (on the second currently) So we still have faith!

  8. Hi Jennifer, Thank you for sharing about your struggles with infertility. Although Thad and I havne't struggled with this, I know many couples who have. I don't know what measures you have taken, but I have a cousin who struggled with infertility for 10 years and she made the decision to work with an herbalist for about 2 years and was successful in conceiving. Really I wanted to tell you thanks for the reminder to live in the moment. I now have an 18 month old and it seems we are living in a rat-race most of time. I needed the reminder to appreciate each moment. Hope you and Jody are doing well. Lacy Roark Black

  9. Thank you for sharing, Jennifer. I can honestly say that "unexplained infertility" is much more frustrating than having a name for a couple's inability to conceive! I've been married for 10 years now, and during the first four years of "trying" (I was on birth control for the first 2 years we were married)we were given the diagnosis of "unexplained infertility". During our last four years of trying my endometriosis was diagnosed and it's such a relief to be able to say "I have endometriosis" so that people can get off my back and I don't feel like I have to explain further if people wonder why we don't have more than one child. I've had 2 surgeries in the last three years and although I still have my ovaries and my fallopian tubes are "clear" I still haven't been able to get pregnant. I feel like a failure. Also, I'm LDS, too so I totally know what it's like to have neighbors ten years younger than I with three or four children.

    Thank you for reminding me to appreciate each moment and I'm looking forward to reading about your next miracle!


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