by Katie Cruice Smith
I had it all planned out. First comes love, then marriage, then, two years later, comes a baby in a baby carriage.
“I’m afraid you have cysts on your ovaries,” said the fertility doctor. “We’re going to give you hormones to see if we can help you get pregnant.”
Six months later, the shame of being unable to get pregnant weighed heavier and heavier on me as I attended yet another baby shower for one of my friends.
“The hormones aren’t working, so it may be time to try in vitro fertilization,” said the doctor, who sounded encouraging—until the next words came out of his mouth. “However, it looks like it will be very difficult for you to carry a baby to term because of your thyroid condition. It is very likely that your body will reject the baby before you even know you are pregnant.”
Shame descended even lower on me as I sat there stunned, holding onto my husband’s hand. I just wanted to be a mom. I didn’t care how it happened; I just wanted children.
At that point, my husband and I were faced with a decision—spend thousands of dollars on either IVF treatments or on a private adoption. While the decision was not easy for us, we knew that God had clearly marked this path for us, as adoption had always been a part of our future plan, anyway.
At first, we were excited. Until we started telling people. Then, we heard story after story of horrifying adoption stories. What were we getting ourselves into?
The first agency we went to was having major staffing issues and couldn’t take on new clients. We considered adopting from China, but I didn’t meet the age requirements. We looked at adopting from the state, but the process was long and mostly involved older children. We wanted a baby.
So many women I knew were getting pregnant as soon as the idea occurred to them. I tried to smile and be excited for them, but deep down, I felt the shame.
I spent many nights sitting in our freshly-painted nursery, crying over, praying for, and writing letters to the child that I often dreamed about. But each night, I fell asleep with empty arms.
Finally, we found an attorney who handled infant adoptions. Within three months, we met a birth mother, who agreed to relinquish her parental rights to us. We visited with her once a month and began to form a bond with her. Three months later, we finally brought our darling daughter home.
I was finally a mom. The first night we spent with her, I was terrified of the little human lying in my arms. I thought the hospital must be crazy to let me just leave with her! But we were in love with this little girl, and we were so proud to be her parents.
Still, we would often get remarks that were meant to shame us. “Oh, you know what they say about people who adopt—that’s when they get pregnant. You just wait and see.”
We tried to ignore the comments; but we were weary from sleepless nights, and those words stabbed us in the heart, as though our precious daughter was just a means to an end.
We wanted a big family, so we knew that we were just getting started. As each month passed, we finally abandoned the idea of having biological children and just set our sights on being parents to children in need of a home.
Almost two years later, we received a call that our daughter was going to be a big sister. We were overjoyed to adopt her brother as well, and we brought him home just six months later. We should be done, according to the words whispered to us by friends and strangers.
But two-and-a-half years later, we found ourselves with the possibility of a third sibling. Again, the opinions began flying our way. “You already have one of each, and you can barely handle them. Why would you want another one?” “How can you afford another baby?” Truly, people can heap on the shame, even when you know the path you are on is the right path!
Almost four years later, we still have three children, but now we have opened up our home to foster children as well. Some days, we have three children. Some days, we have five. We never know what will happen when we go to bed at night, but we do know that God put the desire to be parents on our hearts, and He has fulfilled our longings beyond what we could ever hope or imagine. And there’s no shame in that.
Katie Cruice Smith is an adoptive mom to three adopted children and foster mom to many. She is an orphan care advocate and co-founded an orphan ministry at her church with her husband. Katie is a freelance writer, journalist, and editor. Katie loves spending time with her family and friends at the beach or in the mountains, which she can easily do living in the Upstate of South Carolina. Her first children’s book, Why Did You Choose Me?, is set to be released on November 12th for National Adoption Month. Katie can be found on The Mommy Factor, Facebook and Twitter.
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