"...this is life we've been given, made to be lived out so la la la la live out loud." Steven Curtis Chapman
Sunday, May 10, 2009
A Journey To Motherhood
Mother's Day always presents an opportunity for me to share about my journey to motherhood. Most everyone that knows me knows about "my story", but I never tire of telling it because of what God has done for me, and maybe someone that stumbles upon this blog might find hope and encouragement through the words I share.
I really believe the story of Hannah was included in the Bible just for me. I believe God knew before time began that Sherri would need hope, inspiration, and encouragement on the road to motherhood.
I remember sitting in my gynocologist's office, hearing the words, "It's highly unlikely you'll ever have children of your own." Those words penetrated my heart and crushed me so deeply that I couldn't bear to think about what that would mean. Thoughts raced through my mind; some selfish, some not so selfish. "If we never have children who will take care of us when we grow old?" "But I want to be a mom." How could I bury this deep desire that had taken root in my heart?? The tears started flowing and didn't stop. From that day forward I dreaded each and every Mother's Day. In church, I would sit there with tears streaming down my cheeks and want to cry out to all those celebrating being mothers and say, "What about those of us who truly desire to be mother's with all of our hearts, but we're just not able??" Every song I heard that was sung by children just made me tear up. It was like I was walking down this dark path with no hope in sight. I read my Bible every day and poured my heart out to God many times through the course of the day...to no avail. Reading my Bible one morning, I found comfort in a verse that God brought to me. Psalm 113:9 reads "He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children." Those words leapt off the page and into my heart! The verse doesn't even make sense, and yet I claimed it as a promise from God, knowing that He was the ONLY ONE WHO COULD MAKE SENSE OF IT. I pondered it, "barren, mother, children." The only words that go together in that verse is mother and children, but throw barren in there, and what do you have? A PROMISE!!! I made sure to point it out to God and to Carl that it says childREN, and God knows the difference between a child and children. I clung to that verse. It became my lifeline.
But how would it happen? Carl and I didn't really want to go the "infertility treatment" route because we had heard so many times of it not working or costing many thousands of dollars due to repetitive tries. We then started looking in the direction of adoption. We both wanted a "white" or caucasion baby since we were white. That was a road in itself that we had to take. (We are not predjudiced people, but we just felt for the child's sake in later years it would be better if he/she was of our race.) God showed us that every child is the same, and they all need the same thing - love. What does it matter? And if the baby He chooses for us is of a different race, He'll give us wisdom to know how to deal with any issues that arise.
We had a homestudy done and put together an "adoptive parent" notebook in hopes of adopting domestically through a lawyer's office. In the course of the homestudy, our social worker made mention of the fact that if we wanted a girl our best bet would be to adopt from China. I punched Carl's leg under the table because I have always wanted a girl, knowing full well we could never go to China. That was when I believe a "seed" was planted in my heart, but we still went the domestic route. After that meeting, we started seeing all this stuff that had to do with China, even commercials on tv!! We had never seen so much Chinese "stuff", and God used all of that to open our eyes to "another world".
We got on the phone to our social worker to have our homestudy redone for international adoption, specifically China. We had no idea where we were going to get that kind of money, and we still don't know where it came from other than to say it came from the Lord, who owns the cattle on a thousand hills. All that led us to our S.
We chose her name before we ever even saw her photo. As anyone knows about international adoption, it is a long, tedious process. Our agency, Chinese Children Adoption International (CCAI), was very helpful in telling us what we needed to do every step of the way. We had to have some paperwork redone one time because we had been waiting close to 2 years, and some of our papers had expired. We had our fingerprints redone on Friday, February 1, 2002. Since we were having to redo some paperwork we even toyed with the idea of changing our request from a healthy baby girl to twins, but after discussing it with some others who had adopted from China we decided not to steer in that direction.
I had a dream the night before of me nursing a baby, and it was so real and vivid that I shared it with Carl on our way to having this paperwork redone.
I had been noticing over the course of a few days that I was having great hunger pangs, and at times I felt like I could gnaw someone's arm off because I was so hungry. :o) One of my favorite things to eat is a good old Subway sandwich. We had gotten one of those for supper on Monday, February 4, 2002. We ususally get a footlong and save the other half for lunch the next day. This particular night I was very hungry, and I ate the whole footlong!!! That was very unusual for me, but after I had eaten it, I wished I hadn't. As a matter of fact, just the thought or mention of Subway just turned my stomach.
Wednesday morning, February 6, 2002, we had a 2 hour delay from school because of ice. I knew I was late for the month, and that was unusual as well, because the medicine my doctor had me taking was supposed to cause me to start. I decided, once again, as I had done so many times before to take a pregnancy test. I had been through this same kind of thing over and over, so I was disappointed before it ever gave the results. Much to my surprise, there were TWO lines!!!! I hollered for Carl to come in there. I showed him the stick, and said, "According to this I'm pregnant!!" Carl's jaw dropped to the floor as our telephone rang. It was Mama calling to let me know about the delay of school. Carl answered, but he was so bumfuzzled, he just said something like, "Okay." We were thrilled, but yet scared out of our minds!! Being diabetic adds another issue to pregnancy. And what about China?? Our baby girl was there. We have a daughter in China, and we HAVE to bring her home. "He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children" ran through my mind. Could this be??
I called my gynocologist, made an appointment for that morning, shared the news with my neighbor who is one of my best friends and took off to school to get a substitute teacher for me for the day.
I'll always remember lying on that table in the doctor's office while having that first ultrasound. I was 5 weeks and 1 day along, and I was due October 3, 2002. I saw the heartbeat! I had a living baby growing inside me which was nothing more than a miracle. At that moment I knew God had a plan. Before I left, that same doctor who had told me that it was "highly unlikely" hugged me and said, "WOW!" Coming home from that appointment, I pulled over in the K-Mart parking lot to call Carl to tell him about seeing the baby's heartbeat. His reaction still rings through my heart, "It has a heartbeat????!!!" I really don't know what he was thinking, but this was all new for him, too. I had to smile.
We were afraid that we might not be able to adopt from China, but our agency said that as long as we brought her home BEFORE the baby was born, it would be fine. However, the maternal-fetal medicine doctor advised against it, because it would be so hard. This doctor is a good Christian man, so we really thought through his advice, but we still felt God nudging us to go.
My doctor could not allow me to go to China. It would be too dangerous being there, diabetic, and pregnant. Carl traveled by himself (without me, anyway, but with others in the travel group who were also adopting).
On July 29, 2002 I became a mother for the first time, as the nannies placed a little dark headed, 8 month old baby girl in Carl's arms. They both came home on August 10, 2002. What a happy reunion and meeting we had at the airport!!
Then on Wednesday, September 11, 2002, I gave birth to a healthy 6 lb, 1 oz baby boy!! What amazing ways God works. I called my gynocologist on Friday to let him know that I had a baby boy. (He didn't deliver babies so I hadn't seen him since that first ultrasound.) Much to our surprise, he walked in to my hospital room to see this little miracle. Again, he said, "WOW!"
I left the hospital on Saturday, September 14,2002 and went home to be settled in my home as a happy mother of children. ☺