In the last post we gave a rough summary of our 2 year journey of infertility (June 2010 – June 2012) during which the Lord moved on our hearts to trust in His sovereignty and His mercy as He guided us through this time. We want our heart’s desire to be what is on the heart of God. The Lord has been using our infertility to move our hearts and open our perspective to include His adoption plan for our family. Now we will explain from that same time frame, more in depth, about Andrea’s internal struggle and confusion related to the infertility and how God helped her to find contentment and begin to consider adoption even more seriously. Because this portion of our story was being lived more intensely and personally by Andrea, we will tell most of this portion in the first person, from Andrea’s perspective.
It was the summer of 2011, and even though I was being comforted that the Lord was taking care of my heart while we were going through infertility, I struggled with wanting to try to do all that I could do to get pregnant. As we alluded to in our previous blog entry, we strategized regarding our reproductive health, and tried to optimize every area that we had control over (exercise, diet, manage allergies better, sleep, etc.). We also obtained more extensive tests related to my allergies, hormones, and metabolic function. Derek was tested, too. Some helpful conclusions came from this testing, but in practical application, the result over many months was continued failure at conception. We made an appointment with my Ob/Gyn, who suggested putting me on a fertility drug. However, for several medical, financial, and philosophical reasons, we decided not to do this. Through all these pregnancy efforts, I wrestled on the inside with what we were doing. Did it line up with what God wanted me to do as my desire for our next child was simmering? I think I had a hard time admitting to this struggle, because I felt like every change I made was a lifestyle change I needed to make anyway. Also, I was feeling healthier because of the changes. I needed to be working out, taking my supplements, and managing my allergies for my own good… not just because I was trying to get pregnant. Was I standing in faith and relying on God for pregnancy, or was I just trying to follow a formula to get pregnant? Maybe both? What did God want from me in this season?
Somewhere around late summer 2011, I began to realize that I needed to check my motivation behind all of these changes I was making and stop stressing. I had to try to calm down, ask the Lord about pregnancy, ask Him about all of our efforts, and trust that it is not up to us. The Lord is the “Blessed Controller” of all things. J But inside, I was struggling with not knowing where to put my faith. I was asking God, "How do you continue to try to have faith for something you deeply desire (pregnancy), while simultaneously trying to have an open mind with faith to hear God about alternatives to what you want?" Did God want me to build up my faith for conceiving a biological child, or was God asking me to consider adoption and trust faithfully in His sovereignty? Was it right to go for both pregnancy and adoption at the same time, or did He want us to trust Him for only one of those options? There are a plethora of people out there that will remind you that couples tend to get pregnant once they start the adoption process or soon after they complete an adoption. This concept weighed on my mind. I even worried that I might be tempted to look at the option to adopt as a path to eventually conceive. I did not want to start the adoption process just because I hoped that we would get pregnant soon after adopting. So, I was asking the Lord to work on my heart and help me to be content somehow. I needed help to find peace and desire for adoption with a pure heart, if that was the road that He wanted us to go down.
A little over a year into infertility (September 2011), my bible study group with Miranda started a book called "Calm My Anxious Heart" by Linda Dillow. This was perfect timing for me, as it focused on learning to find contentment in all things and all circumstances. Wow! I really began to get a lot out of this study and was blessed by the things that it was challenging me to do. I became more content with God's sovereign hand in all of this, a little more relaxed, more at peace, and more ready to start considering adoption. Then, in December 2011, I told Derek about where my heart was regarding adoption for us. Derek admitted that he still needed some time to pray about it, so I decided not to bring it up for a while. Derek really began to seek the Lord and become more diligent in his prayer times and his dedication to seeking God's will for our family and our future.
Around that time, we began to receive some confirmations and words regarding God’s plan for adoption for our family. In March 2012, Aaron Cheuvront gave Derek a word while we were at the Shady Grove Church Zoe Banquet (to raise money to help fund adoptions). He got a sense that the Lord might be preventing us from getting pregnant because He wants us to adopt and that maybe we would get pregnant after we adopted as well. At this point, my heart was in a good place to receive that word because I was already feeling like our infertility was designed by God to lead us to adoption….and this was a good thing.
In April 2012, I was working in the church nursery with the infants, and the leader of that room, Lafaun, was praying over all of the workers before church started. I told her that the “pregnancy vs. adoption” issue was on my heart. So she prayed for me, and she felt like the Lord told her to tell me, "get ready.” Shortly following this, during a time in the ANHOP prayer room, Pastor Lewis gave me the following word: "I know that you guys have a heart for adoption. What I heard was 'multiple adoptions.' I know you will adopt, but what I feel like ‘multiple adoptions’ means is that somehow you would help, facilitate, or somehow be involved with multiple adoptions in some way." Two weeks later while talking with Pastor Lewis and reviewing with Derek the word he had given to me, he added that “there was something involving orphans as well.” By the end of April, I started to have some mixed emotions about whether or not I might be pregnant that month. If I was, then I knew that we would wait to adopt. It was strange for me to realize that there was a small part of me that did not want to get pregnant, yet. I still REALLY wanted another biological child, but I was beginning to realize that my heart was in a place where I really was ready to adopt and I wanted to do it now... but I was still waiting patiently for the Lord to speak to Derek and move on his heart.
In May 2012, I listened to a sermon by Kelsey Bohlender about the Spirit of Adoption. (Here is a link Kelsey's message http://www.randyandkelsey.com/teaching/kelsey/spiritofadoption.mp3) She talked about a prophecy involving Elijah (an example of going hard after God, amongst other things) in Malachi 4:5-6. “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet…and he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children…” Wow! She also talked about how children are a blessing from the Lord. We are told to take care of the widow and the orphans. We need to take better care of the orphans…. “…Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” (Mal 4:6) Could that curse be that we no longer feel His presence? Ouch. One would have to hear the whole message to connect clearly with its content. That being said, it was an extremely good message. At the end of the sermon, they talked about a prophetic meaning behind the Dr. Suess book, Horton Hatches an Egg, with the moral of the story being that the baby takes on the likeness of the adoptive parents. This was very encouraging to me as we drew closer to considering adoption. I was thinking about all of the different decisions we would need to make, and this prophetic revelation reminded me that prayer is more powerful than a child’s past and can overcome anything by the power of the Lord’s hand. The prophetic act of adoption is redemptive and merciful. God would help us bond to a baby, and He would guide us to raise the child to know Him. The child would take on our likeness and have the chance to know the Lord and impact future generations.
In May 2012, I attended a prophetic conference at our church, and I received a word. At the end of the word, the prophet said, “Summer of rearrangement, autumn of enlargement for the glory of God.” We don’t know for sure if this does directly relate to our desire for an adoption, but we would like to think it does. So far in our prayer time, we have not felt or heard the Lord say that we have the wrong idea about this word. We’ll see. We don’t want to get hung up on the timing, but we are taking action and praying that the Lord helps us to be diligent with our time and to use it wisely.
In the next post, we will share a bit about Derek’s personal journey of the Lord leading him to adoption. We may share about our first few steps of the journey, depending on how long Derek’s post is.