If you ever find yourself crying in the middle of the cosmetics section at Target, you may need to re-examine your life. Because if you can’t be happy in the happiest place on earth (forget Disney), there is definitely something wrong. But one day in 2015, that’s exactly where I found myself.
Chad and I have always wanted children, but we were not in any rush. We agreed that we wanted some time together before welcoming someone else to join the party. I remember when we were dating, talking about names, who they would look like, boys vs. girls, even a shared interest in adopting after we had our own child.
Our first year of marriage was really hard. Five months into our matrimony, I was diagnosed with uterine cancer and spent the next eight months in chemotherapy treatment chairs. (This isn’t the story I want to write today, but I promise I will. I just need to provide context.) So when I got better, we wanted that time back, together, so we delayed having a child.
On our five-year anniversary, we decided to go for it. I stopped taking birth control, and we assumed that I would be pregnant within days. But I wasn’t.
And honestly, I didn’t think anything of it at first. I had just run my 4th full marathon, so I thought that could have affected things. So I backed off of running, but it didn’t work.
The weeks passed, then months, and the next thing I knew, it has been a year. I tried all sorts of supplements and weird foods that I read could help fertility. (Do you know how hard it is to find papaya juice?!) But of course nothing worked.
We decided it might not be a bad idea to seek medical intervention, just to make sure everything looked okay. The next year was pills, shots, tests on me, tests on him. It was awkward, it was uncomfortable, it was confusing, it was sad, it was maddening, it was anything but romantic, it was fruitless.
Our fertility specialist was wonderful. She was kind and empathetic, and she was committed. She had prescribed some sort of pill that I was to take a specific time each day, without fail, or it would not work.
Enter that trip to Target, and upon arrival, my prescription wasn’t ready, which meant I would miss my window, and I lost it. I was crying so hard that I could barely breathe. I called Chad, and while staring at the cotton balls, I said, “I can’t do this anymore.”
The doctor had already advised us that IVF was our next step in conception. We agreed that this was not our path.
Look, I admire every single woman who has done IVF. It takes an incredible strength, physically, mentally, and emotionally. But after a year of my life in chemotherapy and oncology, I had zero desire to go through that process.
So that’s when we decided. The idea that we had tossed around while cuddling, or eating ice cream, or drinking beers. We were going to adopt.
In January of 2016, I called an agency in Kansas City that was recommended to us. I made an appointment, and Chad and I went for a meeting. We walked out more sure than before. This is what we were called to do.
Nine months of paperwork, background checks, and writing checks. Lots of checks. But in October of 2016, we were live on their website and were approved to meet with birth parents.
You might think that is a relief. That you feel a sense of peace, or of hope. But I felt more helpless than ever. You have absolutely zero control over the process after you’re approved. You just have to wait.
People are so kind. They don’t know what to say, but they want to say something to let you know they care. Every day, “Have you heard anything?” So kind. But every time it was like a punch in the stomach.
That’s the part of infertility that I don’t really discuss. The sadness, the anger, the resentment, the jealousy. I vividly remember sitting in the back row at church on Mother’s Day one year, crying through the worship songs, because I was so envious of the happiness around me. Crying out to God to make me a mom too. There are songs that I listened to during that time that, even now, leave me breathless when I think of those emotions. Every time a friend called to tell me she’s pregnant, and I could hear the hesitation in her voice, almost like she’s apologizing for having a baby when I can’t. It’s a lot of feelings that I’m not exactly proud of, but I’m being honest.
So in March of 2017, when we still hadn’t gotten any interest, I wanted to give up. Chad and I sat on a beach in Naples, Florida, on a work trip, and I said, with teary eyes, “I don’t think I can do this anymore.” I’d had a couple of frozen drinks, so Chad just hugged me and said we could talk about it when we got home. (Smart dude.)
We flew home the next day: March 9, 2017. We landed in the early afternoon, drove home, unpacked, and reconvened on the couch to relax. Just as I sat down, my phone rang. Our adoption case worker’s name popped up on the screen. “Molly, we have a match.”
God heard me that night on the beach. He heard my helpless call. He had heard it many times before. And He answered, reminding me that this was exactly what we were called to do. Chad and I were meant to adopt, and this match was meant for us.
I’ll tell more of the story over the next few weeks, but that call was THE call. The call that brought us our sweet baby Jack. The call that changed our entire lives.