When my husband Jim and I got married, we thought that being open to life meant that we would have a large family. But soon we would learn that being open to life means accepting however many children God gives you, whether it’s zero, one, or ten.
We tried to start our family shortly after getting married, but we could not become pregnant. We were scared that something was wrong, so we went to a pro-life doctor with my charts. I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian disease, endometriosis, and several other related medical conditions. Every diagnosis was so difficult to accept, especially for me, because I felt “broken” and that it was my “fault” we couldn’t have children. But Jim never blamed me or made me feel guilty. Instead, he comforted me, supported me, and led us together in using these trials to grow closer together in our marriage and to God through prayer and the sacraments.
For every appointment and procedure, we always prayed for “good results” so we knew that whatever the outcome was, it would be “good” and what’s best for us according to God’s Will, even if it was difficult to accept. And it was very hard, but we remained hopeful after every new medication or corrective surgery that I had over the years. But we still kept getting a “no” from God.
Even though this time was extremely difficult, especially emotionally, we used it to strengthen our relationship with God and each other. We are both the oldest of big families, were at the top of our classes, and are blessed with great jobs. We always got everything we wanted and worked for. But our infertility struggle showed us that we can’t rely solely on our own abilities. It was definitely not easy, but we slowly learned to really trust in God’s Plan for us and what it truly meant to accept His Will.
Throughout this entire time, we often discussed and prayed about what God was calling us to concerning our family. We felt certain that God was calling us to be parents, but we just didn’t know how or when it was going to happen. We just kept praying and knew that God’s Plan for us would be better than anything we could ever imagine if we followed the Church’s teachings regarding fertility and trusted Him.
Adoption kept standing out to us in our prayers. It was a very difficult decision to make, not because we felt uneasy about adopting, but because we didn’t want to choose adoption for selfish reasons; it had to be what we were truly being called to do. We didn’t want to feel like adoption was our Plan B because we couldn’t get pregnant. We wanted to see it as God’s Plan A for us. And because of how emotional dealing with infertility is, we were really struggling with truly knowing if our intentions were selfish or not. So we talked to a priest about it, and he told us he truly believed we were not being selfish. Instantly, we felt at peace – the peace you receive when you know you’re doing God’s Will. Through this priest, we knew God was telling us adoption was His Plan A for us. So we started the adoption paperwork right away, and we were so excited to get started on God’s Plan for our family!
In July 2011, we welcomed our daughter Josephina into our family through the gift of adoption. She is such a tremendous blessing! And then last year, we felt God was calling us to expand our family and started the adoption process again. In December 2012, we welcomed our son James into our family. We are so grateful to their birthmothers for giving such loving and unselfish gifts of life to our family. Our life is so blessed with these two!
So although our ongoing infertility struggle was and is still difficult to deal with, because we would still love to have a large family, we also see what a blessing it is and has been. In the most basic sense, it helped me to become healthier because I have been treated for several underlying diseases so now I can be there for my family for years to come. It also helped us to grow stronger in our Faith by working on trusting God instead of our own abilities. It strengthened our marriage because we always supported each other and prayed together more often. And, of course, we have a beautiful blessing in our kids! If we had been able to conceive, they would not be with us, and they were always meant to be in our family. It’s easier said than done, but we need to remember that in our times of struggle, we need to trust in God’s Plan, and He will bless us beyond measure!