Leo and I may conceive someday. It is not impossible, simply improbable. We have both agreed that we are perfectly satisfied never birthing our own children. Sure, we’ll miss seeing what combination of hair color, heighth or personality traits nature would have produced, but we decided early into diagnosis, that we absolutely would not miss out on love.
We had no idea that today would be part of our future. We both entered marriage imagining a life full of children. I imagined many years of happy pregnancy, Leo imagined building a lifestyle around being a husband, then a dad. Nearly seven years later, we’re finally realizing bits and pieces of those dreams.
But the thing I’m most grateful for, is that the past 6 1/2 years have been full of joy and adventure. We had hope. Not hope of conception so much, but hope that we would be blessed with family. We have chosen to love one another regardless of what our reproductive efforts produce, and we choose to spare ourselves years of stress, physical and financial strain trying to make something happen, that may or may not ever work. This was one of the best decisions we’ve made.
It doesn’t mean that we don’t care whether or not we have a family. We’ve never given up the desire to love children. We just decided that we would relinquish any control we felt we needed to have over the outcome of our future. We are also prepared to find a way to love and serve others, even if none of them are children, ours or anyone elses. People have given us all sorts of advice throughout the years (pray till you get what you want, be angry at God, relax and it will happen, etc.) All of it was pretty useless and most of it unsolicited, frankly most of it was unappreciated. My motto all these years: My uterus, my business.
Nearly three years ago, Leo and I felt called to change lifestyle. We began to make plans to leave our jobs, our home, our current ministries and move to Africa. Everything went as planned until… we couldn’t leave. Suddenly nothing went as planned. Then without even planning, we found ourselves in foster parent meetings, preparing our home for children. Children we never intended on housing, Children we never planned to have, to teach, or to love.
Now we are the happy parents to children we haven’t birthed and we won’t keep (maybe, I’m learning not to plan on anything). We get to play dress up, put together puzzles, push strollers, fix bottles, wipe tears, kiss boo boos and do all of the things we’d dreamed of doing from the beginning. My approach to parent-hood is to be open armed and open hearted. Children may come and go and I will love them all the same. Regardless of who birthed them, an who sees them grow into adulthood, they are mine. Some I will enjoy more than others. Some I will be less inclined to send on than others. I know though, that whoever comes into our lives, for however long they stay, are a gift and I am grateful. I also know that I have peace and joy I would never have had if we hadn’t been willing to NOT say “why me” and “when is it my turn.” If I had spent the past, almost seven years, burning and coveting and self-loathing, I would not be the happy, devoted mother that I am today. Of that, I’m certain.
So, my unsolicited, unwarranted, unwelcome advice on family building: Let go. Actively choose to pursue a purpose, any purpose. Better yet, actively pursue God’s calling on your life, even if doesn’t look the way you imagined it. He knows the desires of your heart (even better than you do), and I guarantee, with absolute faith that you will find the joy and light you long for. I guarantee you will find a way to share the love you’ve got! In the end it’s your uterus, your business. I’m just sayin’