I struggle with where to start and what story to tell. My faith is what has gotten me to where I am today. It hasn’t always been clear to me at times. A few things have shaken my faith along the way; infertility, breast cancer, family mental illness, adoption. No one thing is more important than another, and my story is no greater than anyone else’s. My specific journey has made me whom I am today. I grew up on a farm in central Iowa, and was the youngest of five. At the age of eighteen, I married my high school sweetheart. My goals in life were simple: to plan a future around my husband’s farming career, and to be a mother. Fairly common goals. Fairly easy to achieve. Right? Well, those goals ended up being harder to accomplish than I had planned.
Together, my husband and I faced infertility head-on. In our first five years of marriage, we underwent countless medical treatments, tests, medication, and surgery, only to be told we wouldn’t be able to have biological children. This was the beginning of many tests to our thirty-eight years of marriage. We decided to start the adoption process. We looked in to Lutheran Social Services, Holt International, Catholic Charities…pretty much anywhere we could put our name on the list to adopt. After ten years of marriage, we were finally blessed with our first daughter, Erin, through a private adoption. We were a family at last.
We eventually wanted to expand our little family, but were told “well you have one child, we won’t be able to place another with you…so many families are waiting and there are so few babies”. Catholic Charities informed us if we were open to adopting a special needs baby we could go for a second placement (twenty-four years ago, special needs included bi-racial children). Five more years passed before our second daughter, Wendy, came into our lives. Three years later, we were on the verge of adopting privately again, but the biological mother made the decision to parent, and that opportunity fell through. It wasn’t the end of our adoption journey, however, because three months after that, our son Eric joined the family.
Our story is not special. It’s just our story. Our children are gifts, just like every other child. We are blessed to be parents of three beautiful children of God. My husband and my struggles with infertility and the emotional toil of not being able to live up to our own expectations for our marriage took its toll on us. We worked on it with the help of others, and our faith in God and our willingness to work things out is what kept us together. At times I would really struggle and question my faith, but I later realized that I was just growing stronger. I’m kind of a slow learner. I’m blessed to share this journey of life with Marty, my husband, and Erin, Wendy, and Eric. I would like to leave you with the Bible verse that, over the past few years, has gotten me through many difficult days: Joshua 1:9 “I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go”