Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It All Started...

Rob and I had been married a little over five years and had already lived in three different states and six different homes. We had struggled as most young couples do while adjusting to married life. But one of the trials I never thought I would go through was being childless. You see, I come from a family of eight children and Rob from a family of six children. I just thought that I would decide how many children I could handle and they would come. Obviously that didn't happen.

It was especially hard for me. I didn't know how to identify myself. My mom was a wife but foremost she was a mother. I had no idea how to separate the two. I shared how I felt with Rob but, like most men, he couldn't even begin to comprehend what I was going through. I felt inadequate and alone.

We had been living in Colonial Beach, Virginia for three years when I had an undeniable prompting that we needed to move. Rob thought I was a little crazy but said he'd experienced enough to know that we should follow my "intuition". It really didn't make any sense to move. Rob had a stable job working for the Department of Defense, we owned a home we were remodeling, and had some great friends there. At first we didn't know where to go but we finally decided to try Pittsburgh, PA. Just four weeks after beginning the job search we had obtained employment for Rob and had already moved to Pittsburgh.

Things were good for us but we still felt a void in our lives. It's amazing how difficult it is to make friends with other couples or be involved when you don't have children. I'm sure in some circles this wouldn't be a problem but Rob and I are devout Latter-day Saints (Mormons). In our faith, family is the most important thing. It is not a question of if you will have children but of when you will have them. We were definitely the exception among our acquaintances and friends.

In the Spring of 2006 we decided to try IUT (Artificial Insemination). This involved invasive examinations, daily shots of strong hormones, and a slight loss of dignity. The hormones made me very ill and moody (Rob might have used a different word for this). The day of insemination came and as the doctor was taking care of business she told Rob and I to look into each others eyes. Perhaps for some it may feel like a magical moment but for me her saying that just added to the humiliation. Who are we kidding? It was a medical procedure not a special intimate moment. Maybe I would feel differently about that moment if we had been successful in conceiving but a month later I felt the bitter sting of disappointment. Actually heartbreak would be a better description of what I felt. Rob wanted to try again but I just couldn't go through it again. I was ill from messing with my hormones and emotionally drained. We decided at that point that we would have to complete our family in a different way.

Choosing to adopt is not an easy decision. It's one thing for God to bless you with a "child of your own" but to convince yourself that you are ready and acceptable to parent "another person's child" was difficult for me. Not only did I have to convince myself but we also had to convince an adoption agency and an expectant mother. We all know that an expectant mother and agency are much more discriminating than God. God doesn't care what your income is, what kind of home you live in, what you look like or how much education you have but if you want to adopt then you better shine in all those areas. We also considered becoming foster parents but had obvious concerns about doing that. We came to realize that whichever we chose there was a risk of heartbreak. I've summed this up in a paragraph but it was a decision that took us many months to make.

October 30, 2007 we became foster parents. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.


  1. I was so lucky to have known you during those difficult years. I know exactly what you went through, and it wasn't easy, and no matter what others say, they just don't get it, do they? Although our stories didn't continue the same way, I feel so blessed that our fluke (aka miracle) IUI worked, but felt the heartbreak you mentioned with the last 5 failures. I told Andy we just need to get our names in at Church Social Services and see about getting Wesley a sibling.

    I was so thrilled when I heard that you had adopted. I am a strong advocate of adoption; I guess that come from teaching in the public schools and seeing what terrible things some of these kids go through. Bless you heart and half a liver for all that you have done, for opening your heart and home to those beautiful children, for blogging about your experience, for giving courage and hope to others.

  2. Thank you Stephanie. I was thankful to know you during that time as well. It was truly comforting to be able to talk to you about it and know that you were experiencing the same thing. I am so happy for you and Andy! I cheered when I heard about your miracle. We both have our miracles now!

  3. Shannon, You are so right about how hard it is to be childless in Mormon culture! For years I had been asked not IF I had any children but HOW MANY I had.

    Thanks for displaying our button!