Our Journey To Parenthood

This marks the final week of Divine In The Daily’s 5-week guest post series titled Special Mamas! Every Wednesday in May, we’re honoring real-life mamas who have big hearts and stand bold and courageous in their unique mothering roles.

Four weeks ago, Jennifer Camp, blogger at You Are My Girls and mother of three, kicked off our series with a guest post titled When Mothers Cry Rescue. 

Three weeks ago, Tamara, mother of seven, was honored with a family photo session and beautiful tribute from her husband and children in this post!

Two weeks ago, MNAutismMom, shared anonymously about the joys and challenges of raising her five-year-old son who has autism in this post.

Last week, Jennifer wrote about her lifelong desire to become a mom which led her down an unexpected path to foster parenting in this post.

And this week, I’m honored to introduce Lisa who wraps up the Special Mamas series with a guest post about her long journey to motherhood, including years of infertility, miscarriages, and ultimately, a beautiful baby boy through adoption. Lisa is a former colleague of mine, and although we haven’t worked together for six years, we continue to support and encourage one another through regular email contact. I invited Lisa to share her story on my blog many months ago, so I was beyond delighted when she felt the time was right and agreed to be part of this series!

Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?   2 Samuel 7:18

We knew that in this world we would have troubles (John 16:33), but did not expect it with having children. Two known miscarriages, 3 unsuccessful In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) interventions, and 8 years later, the Lord brought us to an amazing adoption agency (New Life Family Services), birth family, and our Jack. He has gone “way past our way past” and “beyond our beyond” in this journey. We share our story not for pity, but to testify to God’s faithfulness in our lives and His best for us. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all (2 Corinthians 4:17).

My name is Lisa. My husband, Scott, and I met in February of 1999 and were married in August of 2001. We truly are best friends and like that corny, yet—let’s be honest—beautiful line in the movie Jerry Maguire, “You complete me,” we do complete each other. We balance each other out, especially in regards to our personalities. Little did we know at the start of our marriage that the Lord would eventually use our close friendship and complimentary personalities to walk us through the “wilderness” for a season; a long one by the world’s standards.

Ever since we knew the understanding of the word parenthood, Scott and I pictured ourselves one day becoming a father and a mother. Connecting and working with children has always come natural to us because of how the Lord has wired our personalities. After having a few years together as a couple, we decided to plan for parenthood. Our start was nothing serious or necessarily intentional, but we felt we were ready to be parents and were open to “if it happens now, wonderful” and “if not, we’re content…for the time being.” Although we briefly discussed it, the thought of having any difficulty conceiving and/or maintaining a pregnancy really did not settle into our minds to warrant a serious conversation and a plan of action. It really was not on our radar, which I’m sure could be said for many couples.

More than a year had gone by without a known pregnancy. We decided it was time to get serious. Per recommendation from a friend, I read through parts of the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler, MPH. We charted almost everything and figured out my cycle, but still no known pregnancy. During one of my annual exams, the doctor told me that my husband and I should consider fertility testing due to the length of time we had gone without a pregnancy.

And, there it was—our first encounter with the possibility of not having children of our own.

Our initial response was moderate concern. Fear approached us, but did not settle in us—by God’s grace. We pursued fertility testing. I will never forget the day of our results after going to a specialist. He was a very kind and honest doctor. He told us that there were some mild problems, but they could be addressed and that achieving and maintaining a pregnancy with minor intervention should be attainable. And then, he paused, and said something to the effect of, “Oh, I see there is one set of results we haven’t received yet—genetic testing. Let me see if that has come through yet.” He did not appear concerned about those results. Scott and I also were not concerned about this as there were no known issues within our immediate and extended families. Ten minutes passed as we sat in the exam room. We discussed the first set of results and were thankful that the issues were mild and were very excited to continue our pursuit of parenthood.

And then, the doctor came into the room with a somber look on his face and told us that he was so very sorry—that the genetic testing results were not good, that there was a significant problem and achieving and maintaining a pregnancy would be difficult.

Wow. In a 10-minute span, we experienced excitement to press on and then…utter disbelief. Tears of confusion and sorrow came.

In that moment and for the next few years, it was difficult—very much so; yet, through it all we knew God was with us and for us. We had hope—the kind of hope that only comes from Him alone. Above all else, we wanted His will for our lives. We still asked Him for the desires of our hearts, and it was very hard at times to ask for His will to be done; however, He sustained us. He sustained us through His Word…through prayer…through worship…through the power of His Spirit working within us…and through a solid (beyond solid) support system of family and friends.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.   1 Peter 1:3-9

The Lord was there when we received the heart-breaking news of those initial fertility results. He was there when I was hunched over the side of our bed, with Scott’s arms around me, comforting me while I was crying out with pain and anger. He was there when friends all around us were getting pregnant with ease—always thanking the Lord for this, yet not understanding why this couldn’t be us, too. He was there when a very difficult work situation occurred in the midst of our fertility struggles, which the combination of these two trials almost made it all unbearable at times. He was there when we asked Him for wisdom regarding In Vitro Fertilization—is this okay to do? He was there when our first IVF intervention was unsuccessful. He was there when we saw and heard the heartbeat of our first child at 6 weeks. He was there when I was in labor with pain and contractions over a 5-hour period, delivering our first child at 9 weeks; August 28th, 2009. He was there when a sweet couple from our church small group shared a healing book with us, I’ll Hold You in Heaven by Jack Hayford. He was there when our second child died at 5 weeks on February 5th, 2010.

And…

He was there when we saw and touched our beautiful and amazing baby boy, Jack Harrison, on the night he was born—Thursday, August 9th, 2012 at 7:53 p.m.

Not flesh of my flesh, nor bone of my bone,

But still miraculously my own.

Never forget for a single minute:

You didn’t grow under my heart, but in it.

-Fleur Conkling Heyliger-

Jack means God is Gracious, Redeemed, Successor. Harrison means Courageous. In a way, his name describes our journey. We chose it from the start and held onto it for 8 years. When God put us on the path of adoption, we desired to somehow connect our chosen female/male names to the birth family. When we first met Jack’s beautiful birth mother and family, we found out her name was the feminine version of his and that the name Jack also was a family name of hers. About 3 months prior to even knowing about her and our son growing in her womb, we purchased two, husky dog, stuffed animals—one for our future child and one for his/her birth mother; a way to connect them. When we met Jack’s birth family, we found out that husky dogs were dear to them. They had raised around 20 husky dogs at one time and had been into dog sledding for years as a family. And the best part—Jack’s birth mother surrendered her life to Christ through the adoption process.

God was in the details, big and small. 

The first day we went to church with Jack in our arms, one of the scriptures shared was Psalm 37:4—Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. One of the worship songs was “God is Able” by Hillsong United, which now is like our family anthem:

God is able
He will never fail
He is almighty God
Greater than all we seek
Greater than all we ask
He has done great things

Lifted up
He defeated the grave
Raised to life
Our God is able
In His name
We overcome
For the Lord
Our God is able

God is with us
God is on our side
He will make a way
Far above all we know
Far above all we hope
He has done great things

Lifted up
He defeated the grave
Raised to life
Our God is able
In His name
We overcome
For the Lord
Our God is able

God is with us
He will go before
He will never leave us
He will never leave us
God is for us
He has open arms
He will never fail us
He will never fail us

Lifted up
He defeated the grave
Raised to life
Our God is able
In His name
We overcome
For the Lord
Our God is able

For the Lord
Our God is able
For the Lord
Our God is able

Our fertility and adoption journey has truly made our marriage and faith stronger. It could have been the opposite. We are so thankful to the Lord for our outcome. I just pinch myself every time I pull out Jack’s cute, little clothes from the dryer or when I get a glimpse of his swing hanging from our birch tree in the front yard or when I walk passed our three bike helmets hanging in the garage…I could go on and on.

So very thankful.

Again, we testify to God’s faithfulness in our lives and His best for us. We trust that our story will encourage others to persevere with hope when faced with a difficult trial and to be reminded that God is for them and has a profound and specific plan for their lives that will bring Him glory.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. “I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.”   Jeremiah 29:11-14.

Lisa

 

  1. Lisa says:

    Thanks so much for the kind words, Kris/Mom/Gma :), Danielle (How are you, mom of 2?! What cuties you have!!!), & Jenny (Mom of 3 now!!! That photo of Maren is so cute!), and for reading our post. Amen to the importance of family, Kris! And, amen to gifts from God and destined to be ours…absolutely, Danielle! And…the beauty that comes with it…amen, Jenny! Lots of amens!!! 🙂 Much love to you three!

  2. Jenny Setterholm says:

    This is beautiful Lisa!

  3. Kris Olson Kosloski says:

    What a beautiful testimony to the importance of family…however this blessing takes place in our lives! I am so proud of you, Lisa and adore little Jack and your family.

  4. Danielle Mickelson says:

    Love to you Lisa. I am so grateful that Jack was delivered into your arms. These children are our little gifts from God and were always destined to be ours though the vessel not our own. Hugs!

  5. Lisa says:

    I agree, Tom! That Fleur Conkling Heyliger poem is absolutely beautiful and so true. I’m glad you can relate. God is good!

  6. Lisa says:

    Thanks for reading our post, Nicole. I miss you! I can say the same thing about your post, too. I know you and your husband can relate. God is faithful! Sending hugs right back to you!

  7. Tom Baunsgard says:

    Not flesh of my flesh, nor bone of my bone,

    But still miraculously my own.

    Never forget for a single minute:

    You didn’t grow under my heart, but in it.

    Beautiful! I totally understand this! That is how I feel about all three of the kids that God gave me to raise, Susan, Michael and Steven. Thank you God and thank you Rae (RIP). I was blessed again in my second marriage with three young men, Joseph, William and Michael. Thank you Susan! Most of all, thank you Lord for all of these wonderful blessings!

    Thank you Amy for posting this!

  8. Nicole Marie Newfield says:

    No words for how beautiful these words are, Lisa. I will have to read it over again several times to absorb all the meaning. Sending many hugs!

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