Adoption is not the same. It is not the same as creating life. I know there are many people who disagree with that statement. But for me, it is truth. My belief system holds that I was put here on this earth to gain a body, find joy, and have children. Okay, that is really oversimplified, but still true. I never thought this adoption would fill the hole inside of me that longs to bring forth life. I never once thought that when we finally brought our kids home my fertility woes would somehow disappear…that the past 4-1/2 years of disappointment and loss would “be healed.” I always knew there would be an emptiness inside of me regardless of the adoption miracle of which we are a part.

And even still, I hoped. I hoped that our four children would fill my empty arms. I hoped that somehow I would no longer be jealous of my friends’ growing bellies. I hoped that my intentions of grace and goodness would overshadow the loneliness and isolation infertility inevitably brings.

But to be painfully honest, that has not happened. In fact, just the opposite has occurred. I find myself a bit sullen when I hear friends talking about their pregnancy plans. Because, you see, they can do that. They can decide if and when and how they will have a baby. They can decide when to “start trying” so that it fits in perfectly with their summer vacation or their debt payment plan or any other topic they decide to plan around. And sure, there is risk involved with every pregnancy. Miscarriage is a very sad and unfortunate side-effect of our imperfect mortal bodies. But the risk is much less for them.

A well-meaning adoptive mother wrote a beautiful letter to me outlining her experiences with pregnancy and adoption just before we left for Bogota. I thank her for sharing so openly. She wrote, “…The thing that (name removed) really taught me is that pregnancy is not that big of a deal. That you love your bio kids the same as you love your adopted kids. That color or blood- ties really do not matter. Pregnancy, nursing, babies, are soooooo temporary, they are gone in a blink, but motherhood is eternal. Being a mother is what matters…………………….The hope that once your children are home and settled and healed, that you will love them so much that you would not want to be a mother any other way. You will actually be glad that you had infertility because it gave you your children. You will be glad that it cost so much and took so long because it helped you appreciate them all the more….”

Unfortunately, I do not feel the same way. I believe that pregnancy is a VERY big deal. If God gave me the power to procreate, how can it not be? If this world ran as it should, there would be no orphans. There would be no need for adoption. There would be no need of rescue. So I disagree. I wish desperately that I had given birth to these four angels that bless our home. I wish that I had been with them since birth. I wish that they did not endure the things they did while waiting for someone to love them. I will always wish that they had come to me another way. And I find no shame in admitting that. I will never be grateful for the $45,000 we just spent to adopt. The suffering of infertility is enough for me to appreciate them. And being a mother is what matters. That much is true. But for me, as the person I am, I will always wish for the experience of bringing life into this world.

I believe my trial will always be to find joy and light in the suffering of infertility. I was sitting in church yesterday thinking of a couple of friends who are on their way to being pregnant, and I got “that feeling.” You know, the feeling that screams out…”I won’t like her baby, I don’t think I can look at her belly in five or six months, I can’t visit her in the hospital–it’s just too painful.” And then I pulled myself back into reality. The thought came to me that Jesus Christ loves me more than the pain he felt during his sacrifice. He could have said, “Oh, it’s too painful. I’m going to stop now.” We all know he wanted to. He cried out for his Father’s help. But he continued on and followed through because he loves me. Well, I love my friends and my sisters. And their joy is more important to me than my pain. People ask me how I do it sometimes. And that is how. Sometimes I lose focus. But I am trying to be better. And focusing on the Savior’s example helps remind me that I have so much to be grateful for. I have four really awesome kids now. I hope that they will someday help heal my heart. But it is not yet.

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