The older I get, the more I realize that blood may be thicker than water, but love is thicker than both. Ten years and four months ago, I began attempting a journey that comes so easy for so many, but perceivably so difficult for us - to expand our family. Throughout the next ten years and four months, I would have miscarriages, prospective adoptions that never would happen, constant negative news from fertility doctors, and finally a failed IVF attempt. In that time, we gained one daughter, zero sons, and yet a whole lot of people who have shown a lot of love and support.
My emotions have been high and my hormones have been whacky since I have stopped the hormones for IVF, and I have found myself being hurt by things that would normally roll off my back or maybe not even be a blip on the radar under normal circumstances. Unfortunately, for my three most trusted friends, they have found themselves fallen victim to my constant insecure thoughts, dramatic ramblings, and late night worries.
Over the course of the past month, I have been trying to cope with yet another closed door, wondering where open doors lie. I try to come to terms with the fact that my dreams of a big family may not look the way I always imagined. Truth is, I never thought adoption would be so hard. I never thought conceiving would be near impossible, I never thought money would play such a huge factor in the growing of the family.
Don't get me wrong, I knew it might be hard, I had a gut feeling from a very early age, but how hard was something I never realized. Another thing I never realized ten years ago as this journey began, I never realized how big my family truly could be without adding children.
When I was third through fifth grade, I had one friend. Sure, I had many other friends, but only one real friend. I had a very narrow view of my family. I felt very alone, and decided when I was in eighth grade that I was going to have a big family, and I was going to try to encourage my kids to have a close bond, because I didn't want my kids to feel alone like I did.
I would daydream about how many kids I would have, while other girls were daydreaming about boyfriends.
Things changed in tenth grade. It was the first time I began building friendships that would be long lasting, aside from my loyal third grade best friend.
At thirty-three, I have a changed perspective.
I have prayed my entire life that I would have a big family, that I totally didn't realize that although I never got pregnant (and stayed pregnant) and I only succeeded in adopting one child, my family had grown huge!
If I were to count the number of true friends, I can confidently say the number is more than one.
Just as in normal families, I have lost contact with some for one reason or another. When I thank God for those he has placed in my life, I thank God for the lost ones too. They may have chosen to not have me in their lives, but I am thankful they were part of my life even for a short time. I still love them, think about them, and wish them the best. The same thing happens in families made purely from blood bonds. Yet, when that person walks back in your life, you open your arms wide and welcome them back with cheerful hearts and loud praises.
I get hurt by some of them, that doesn't make them any less important. Usually the pain that was caused has more to do with hormones and outside circumstances than the action of the offender. I find I forgive often and apologize a lot. I may not trust all that I love, but I love many people as much as I would love a sister or that I love my brothers.
I then realized, God gave us a desire towards family, not because he wants everyone to procreate, but because he wants people to build relationships. He wants people to grow old surrounded by loved ones, whether they are biologically related or not. He never intended family lines to be only biological. Take a look at Jesus, his earthly father was not biologically related to him, yet when the Bible follows Jesus's genealogy, he follows through Joseph's line not Mary's.
So over the past ten years, I have begun to redefine family. Some of you may not realize you are part of my family. Some of you may not share the same love I have towards you as you do towards me, but that's okay. Some may reject me, some may hurt me, but I am learning family is not an exclusive club that you have to either be born into or married into. It's a choice to love someone unconditionally, and because of that, my prayer for a large family has finally been blessed.
You know how there are those moments that you never forget. I am remembering the days I got called with each of my foster kiddos. Those are memorable moments even if you only know them for a weekend, you remember them for a lifetime. You will always remember what they looked like when you first saw them. Their body posture when you hugged them. Their reaction to seeing you. You even recognize them when you pass them a year or two later. Except Lilly, my kiddos don't remember me. Their mommy's don't know me. So I see them, I reminisce, and I wonder, will I get another chance to take care of someone during their hard time? I try not to stare, I try not to show too much attention, but I'm happy to see they're clean, they're plump, they're healthy. They are doing good. I gave a little piece of my heart to each of those kids. When you give your heart, truly give your heart, I don't think you ever truly get that piece back, even if it ends in heart break. Is it that way for exboyfriends and exgirlfriends, exwives, exhusbands. Do you ever get that piece back, or does that piece belong to them forever? Battered, bruised, but theirs. I may not know your heartbreak, but I do know heartbreak.
You know that moment when you feel like your life is overwhelming and you can't get a foothold on it, then something happens that reminds you, life will be okay. So I have had a few good cries over the loss of our embryos. One was to my mom (sorry Mom) she was sweet and bought me flowers. Another was a couple nights ago. Little Miss had gone to bed, tears started welling up and Kevin was away on business, then I got a text.
It was from my guy.
He wrote the line he used on me before he got the guts to ask me out. Just one line, it was silly and a personal joke at the time. That one line made me laugh through my tears. That's how I have made it through my entire life, laughing through the tears. A gift I did not learn until sometime in my adulthood.
Many are probably wondering where we will go from here.
So, I was transparent through my ivf journey, and as it began, so now it ends. The embryos did not make it. Kevin and I have decided through our next journey, it will go back to being just us. No open transparency. We don't know where we are going from here, but we decided this will conclude our open IVF journey with all of you. Thank you for all your love and support. We appreciated it! I am unsure our next steps, but please, we'd rather not talk about it openly, as we have a lot to wrap our heads around, decisions to make. Thanks!
This Christian mom is far from perfect, but continually strives to grow and develop. She is an avid reader of both fiction and non-fiction and focuses a lot on personal growth. She loves to share what she has learned through her studies and her own failures, as well as walks alongside other mothers as they learn together the ins and outs of parenting.