Although infertility is an issue that has deeply influenced my life, I don’t write about it much on Waxing Gibbous.
My book about the topic—Infertility: Finding God’s Peace in the Journey—is available here. Several months ago, I had the opportunity to do a Q&A about adoption and infertility with a wonderful blogger who graciously uses her own experiences with this painful struggle to reach out to others in the same boat. And I treasure the opportunity to share comfort or shed tears with someone whose dreams of motherhood are not coming true in the way she had hoped.
But the fact of the matter is that infertility is part of my past, not my present. Other matters occupy most of my time and energy these days, which is as it should be, I think.
Lately, though, I’ve been thinking about what I wrote in my book more than 12 years ago, and what, if anything, I would change if it were re-released today.
To tell the truth, I wouldn’t alter much. I still believe what I wrote about God’s goodness and sovereignty, about comparisons and prayer, about developing a thick skin and letting go.
There is one area I would revise just a bit, though. It has to do with treatment options, and how far people should go, medically, in their quest for pregnancy.
In the book, I was pretty cut and dried about my opinions regarding in vitro fertilization, and if I had a chance to rewrite, I would probably soften that some.
Although Randy and I chose not to pursue IVF, I’m not opposed to it. In my writing, however, I did offer some rather strong opinions about the boundaries a person should consider before attempting it. And what I’ve realized since then is that, though there definitely are ethical lines that should not crossed, our choices had a lot to do with our personalities, our aversion to certain kinds of risk, and, ultimately, with God’s plan for our family.
If I had a chance to update the book, I would leave more room for differences in all of those areas.
But here’s what has been confirmed to me, once again.
The peace of God is the umpire that guides my decisions. (Colossians 3:15)
As we considered IVF, I always had that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that signals, for me, a lack of peace.
Looking back, I realize a great part of that might have been the fact that I simply am not a risk taker, especially when it comes to finances. This can be a negative thing at times. It can show a lack of faith and a lack of trust.
But in this case, I believe God used it.
We didn’t want to risk a large sum of money on the possibility that IVF might not work. On top of that, if I had conceived this way, I’m quite certain that I would have been a ball of knots the whole time I was pregnant, fraught with worry about everything that could possibly go wrong.
That’s no way to live, I can assure you.
By the time we got around to thinking about more advanced treatment options, we were already worn from endless medical procedures to treat endometriosis. So when the procedure we had decided would be the last step in our efforts to conceive failed, there was no doubt in our minds what the next step would be.
We would adopt a baby girl from China.
As I think about this, I almost have to laugh out loud at the irony.
International adoption is full of risks and unknowns. Things can, and often do, go wrong. And that’s only before the child comes home; there are often unforeseen problems, developmental delays and medical issues to deal with afterwards, as well.
I never had a single qualm about any of this. Not once.
The wait was long (though nowhere near as long as it is now for couples wanting to adopt a non-special needs child from China) and incredibly frustrating at times, but I was not afraid.
Not of any of it.
Randy often jokes that I got us through China. While he was regularly having stomach problems due to nerves on our trip to get Lilly, I ate like a horse, handled all the paperwork and did whatever else needed to be done without batting an eyelash.
How could someone who was so ate up inside over the thought of doing “risky” IVF not hesitate for a moment before jumping into international adoption with both feet? Exactly 13 years after we met our first daughter, I think I know.
God knows how I am formed, and he remembers that I am dust (Psalm 103:14).
Had we not had that sick feeling in the pit of our stomachs at the thought of IVF, who knows what we might have missed out on?
That’s kind of a rhetorical question, but I have an answer. Actually, two answers.
Lilly and Molly.