Our plan was always to wait to have kids until after Jerry got a masters degree. I also knew I might have difficulty getting pregnancy due some issues I've had. I was ashamed for a long time with having this problem. So bad that I didn’t even want to go to an ob/gyn.
After Jerry graduated the Lord led us to Russia. Four months later we decided it was time to try regardless of my issues thinking it might “fix” my problem. We were in the midst of studying the Russian language (STRESS) and I still did not want to talk to a dr. A year later the Lord called us to a job change in Prague, Czech Republic.
We continued trying and I knew I was getting to the point where I needed a gyn check up. I was talking to a friend about starting a family. Finally something drove me to open up to her about my problem. She was so great about it and acted like it was no big deal. Now I look back and think “WHY was I so embarrassed about this? It isn’t something I could control!” So Jerry and I finally decided to visit an ob/gyn. We went straight into doing IUIs with Clomid. I was SURE it would work right away!!!! Ha! Yeah right!! Nine or so tries later we were like “What is up?!” They do things a little differently in Europe and the next step was a laparoscopy. A small amount of endometriosis was found, but no other major findings. About 2 weeks later we went to the States for 6 months were I found an ob/gyn to get a second opinion and get her take on things. We did one IUI with her and continued Clomid and progesterone. By this point we were over a year into doing IUIs, 2 years into IF and I was so sick and emotionally drained from the meds and disappointment (and I did NOT want to do IVF).
We were always open to adoption, so when we returned to Prague we started looking into it. We had a Czech colleague help us contact a social worker and fill out the paperwork. We were told that the process can go fast if a couple is willing to adopt a Roma (Gypsy) child, which we were. It took 6 months to get approved. Of course we thought it would go fast by this point, but little did we know that our wait would take a year and a half!!!
This adoption journey was through the Czech government and through a friend of a friend when learning about another possible adoption (which didn’t go anywhere), we found out about a non-profit organization that does private adoptions. In a few months they matched us with a birthmom that was pregnant & wanted to meet us. She was due in 2 months at the time. We took our Czech colleague to help with translation and met the birthmom. After talking with her we were eager to go forward, but we had reservations. The due date came and we were getting anxious to know something. We found that for some reason the birthmom took off on her own to have the baby. Later we found out that she was actually trying to sell the baby on the internet!! The organization found out about it and tried to have her caught through a set up by the police! They got her but she was not charged with anything. It became a national story running on the news in Czech Republic. I was devastated!! I needed to find some type of outlet, so I went to the internet, did a search, and I found Hannah's Prayer (HP), an online ministry for Christian women struggling through the painful journey of infertility & loss!! Finding HP helped me get through that grief and give me excitement to be a part of a community of ladies who knew what I was going through.
It was also through HP that I became more educated on in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and more open to the idea of doing it. Our adoption process wasn’t going so quickly, so I brought it up to Jerry. It took a few months of prayer and convincing, but I was back to wanting to try again while we waited on the adoption process. Then in April 2005 the day before I was to leave for a 3 week trip to Texas for a retreat & conference we got a call on a Roma baby boy that was available for adoption through the private organization we applied with. I was so excited and we were assured that it was a 99% chance. Because of paperwork, etc. it would be the following week before it would happen, so I decided to go to the States for the retreat and return in a few days. I got back and the parents changed their minds. I was again devastated!! Our trip to the States was suppose to be a 3 week trip with dh leading some seminars and I was so upset that he was going to be leaving me in a few days and I would not be going with him. He said he wouldn’t go, but a way was found for me to go back to the States to be with him. It was a nice diversion to the loss, but the pain surfaced upon return to Prague. This really spiraled me into a state of depression and I was ready to throw away our calling to missions overseas and just go back to the States. I was mad at God for putting me through this.....TWICE!!
We have member care (counseling) available to us through our organization and decided it would be a good thing for us to do. It helped just to talk through it and a lot of it came down to where I was with the Lord and that I really needed to work on that before addressing anything else. Within a couple of months I worked through my grief and drew closer to the Lord and found a sort of peace in the wait. We decided to take a MUCH needed vacation in August and went to Ireland for a week!!! Wow, what a trip that was!!That summer we decided to pursue IVF. I had an initial appointment and within the next month things started moving fast. We were able to start on my next cycle. It was the 3rd Saturday of the month of September that I started administering shots to produce mass amounts of eggs.
Then our lives changed!
The following Thursday we got the call that we had been matched to a 5 month old Roma baby girl!
This time I was more hopeful because it was the government adoption process and parental rights are already terminated, but I still had my doubts. Friday we got to go visit her at an orphanage and of course we fell in love! We visited her again on Sunday and took Karis home on Tuesday!!
I had a very good pregnancy. I was expecting it to be so much worse...lots of sickness...possible bedrest. The only complaints I had were achiness and being tired. We decided to find out the genders and at first were told “two girls.” I have to admit, my heart sunk just a little because I wanted a boy. But then, just minutes later she was almost sure one was a boy!!! My heart just soared!!!
Then 3 weeks before my due date (one week before my scheduled c-section) I woke up bleeding. I went to Jerry and balled!! He yelled “Call the doctor!” That was at 8:30 am on June 6, 2006. My doctor had said that I had placenta previa, but she was not concerned about it. But when I started bleeding she thought that’s what it was and wanted to meet me at the hospital ASAP! My parents were flying in that same day. The plan was for them to stay with Karis, but luckily our colleagues pitched in for the day and passed Karis around.
Of course I was extremely worried, but I could feel the babies moving which gave me hope. Talk about A LOT of praying!! I got to the hospital, had a quick ultrasound and was prepped for surgery. It was two hours from the time I called the doctor to the time that Brennan & Reegan were born at 10:24 & 10:25 am. Because of the danger we were all in it was best that I be completely put under, so I wasn’t awake at all when they were born. Jerry got to stand in the doorway and watch. Luckily he has a strong stomach because he saw it ALL!! Before I was asleep I just lay there praying. I felt such a peace wash over me. It wasn’t until later that we realized how serious this was. My doctor even gave credit to the Lord, because for such a scary situation it went better and more smoothly than she has ever seen. Praise the Lord!
It really was worth the wait. If one of those adoption losses HAD worked out, we would not have our sweet, beautiful Karis with us today. God had a plan for us AND for her!!! Of course it is easier to say that on this side of it all than in the midst of it. I am also so glad that I had the chance of experiencing adoption AND pregnancy. Both are such a truly special experience.
After all the waiting and adoption losses I could not believe the way that the Lord decided to knit our family. I am so happy with the story He has given us.
The Lord has changed me through infertility. The way I think about and respond to certain things, my sympathy and empathy to other people. Even though it’s a painful journey, the Lord has brought me through to the other side a stronger, different person. Amen!!
As I mentioned earlier, I found an online Christian infertility/loss online ministry, Hannah’s Prayer. I’ve now been a member for over 7 years. In the Spring of 2008 I was asked to join the Board of Directors. It has been such an incredible blessing to be a part of this ministry and what God is doing in and through Hannah’s Prayer.