Category Archives: Blessings

Even in the midst of heartbreaking infertility, we receive blessings. What are they? How can we recognize and learn to find hope through them?

Irrational Advice? It Works

What if someone offered you (seemingly) irrational advice that could alter the course of your infertility journey?  Would you be willing to try it?  What if it didn’t change the time it took you to become a parent, or the number of heartaches you’d experience along the way – but it changed your perspective on the journey.  Would you still consider it useful advice?

Yes?  Then I want to pass on these words and challenge you to live into them for the next two weeks:

“…give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you…”                       [I Thessalonians 5:18].

I can tell you from experience, this is not a challenge for the faint-hearted.  It takes incredible effort and self-discipline.  But it’s worth it.  The results are dramatic.  Instead of feeling stressed, nervous, anxious, sleepless, worried, frantic, irritable, and much more… you will begin to experience peace despite the uncertainty of infertility.  You will find rest in the midst of your struggle.

How?  By resisting the natural impulse to respond to every bit of bad news with fear.  Fear takes our eyes off God and puts them on the things we cannot control.  Giving thanks in all circumstances redirects our attention – away from what we see in the moment, to the One who controls that moment and who has promised us hope and a future.

When your news is negative, expressing gratitude can seem like a completely irrational choice… unless there’s more to the story than the moment’s bad news.  When a long-awaited result isn’t what you hope for, it’s devastating… unless there’s more to the story than the moment’s bad news.  It’s easy to get mired in despair and the grief that accompanies loss… unless there’s more to the story than the moment’s bad news.

There is more to the story!  God is at work.  You are not battling infertility alone.  In the unseen realm, He is creating opportunities, scheduling “coincidences,” sending encouragement and implementing “the plans I have for you – plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

You might have scripted your story differently.  Most infertile couples would.  But God has chosen to let your story unfold this way in order to make “all things work together for good.”  There is a reason for everything that’s happening.  Some of that may become clear in hindsight; some may not.  But you can trust that God is in control.

Giving thanks actively asserts your faith in the goodness and purposefulness of God.  It makes you feel stronger because it replaces fear with confident hope.  It renews the prospect of joy because it anticipates blessings which are in-the-works.  It is a great coping strategy!  But, on the surface, it looks completely irrational.

That’s why I’m encouraging to take the Two-Week Challenge.  Try thanking God for what He’s doing, and lean into believing that it’s all good, and see if that doesn’t change how you experience this journey.  I predict it will.

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For more inspiration and cause for hope, visit PregnantWithHope.com

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A Surrogate’s Story

What kind of woman says “giving up a baby was the most thrilling moment of my life”?  Ask Pam MacPhee.

Nine years ago, doctors diagnosed her cousin Henry’s wife with aggressive cervical cancer.  Treatment was likely to cause infertility, so the couple froze eighteen embryos prior to the start of radiation.  Curious about their options, Pam researched surrogacy.  The more she learned, the more she became convinced that she should offer herself as a gestational carrier to Henry and Lauren.

“It was a leap of faith,” she explained.  “I had such a desire to give them hope as they were battling cancer.  I asked myself whether I had the mental, physical and emotional strength… and decided I did.”

How did she explain her choice to her husband and children?  “I told my children, ‘Lauren is sick and her tummy doesn’t work right, so I’m going to put her baby in my tummy until it’s ready to come out.  Then, I’ll give it to her.’  They were fine with that.  The truth is, it’s not that complicated.  My husband was totally supportive.  He wanted to help, too.”

Once the cancer was defeated, “with a foundation of honesty, trust, and open communication,” Pam said, “we found our way through the anxieties, challenges and awkward moments of the surrogacy process together.  The day after Mother’s Day (2001), I was thrilled to deliver a beautiful, healthy baby girl for them.  They were speechless with awe when they first laid eyes on Hope.”

What were Pam’s feelings, as the woman who had carried this baby for nine months?  Did she find it difficult to think of baby Hope as their child?  “Not at all,” she said.  “Intended parents fear that surrogates will bond with the babies they carry.  But a stable, mentally-healthy surrogate never feels like the mother; we are more like nurturer-protectors.  We connect with the baby, but we don’t form a mother-child bond.  Our bond is with the parents.”

Any regrets?  “No.  It was the most fulfilling time of my life,” said Pam, “watching my cousin become a father, and seeing his wife embrace life and hope again after the devastation of cancer. It was a privilege to share that moment of joy and wonder with them.”

Is that how all surrogates feel?  “The main motivation of surrogates is wanting to give joy.  They are women who want to help, who enjoy being pregnant and realize that they can give the gift of a life to someone else.  Whether or not they get paid, money is not the primary factor.  It’s a desire to give hope.”

Pam approached her role as a surrogate with a servant’s heart, giving selflessly out of love. That perspective enabled her, and the baby’s intended parents, to move through the journey with healthy boundaries.  “We focused on clear communication, mutual trust and sharing the pregnancy.”  Their experience models the ideal approach to surrogacy – one based on a foundation of love as scripture describes it:

“Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.”

Pam’s advice to infertile couples considering surrogacy?  “Trust that the surrogate is there for you.  She is not attention-seeking or self-serving.  She is a loving person who wants to help someone who’s hurting become a parent.  Focus on the miracle that is happening through her body, and the joy of anticipating the baby – rather than fear, or the need for control – and it will be a fulfilling journey for both of you.”

 

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Find more resources and cause for hope at PregnantWithHope.com

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Infertility’s Effect on Commitment

“Men are spending more time with their kids.  Young dads are  now spending more time each day with children than mothers between the ages of 29 and 42 are.  Which is staggering! Astonishingly, married men are now feeling more torn over balancing work and family than their wives are.  Norms have shifted.  Taking care of a child is now part of what it means to be a father.”                                                                                               – Newsweek

This encouraging report on the news that men are becoming involved fathers is most interesting for what it doesn’t mention.  Concurrent with the rise in involved fatherhood, the U.S. is experiencing a steady rise in infertility.  It’s getting harder to get pregnant.

If infertility is resulting in great numbers of fathers with a deeper gratitude for the opportunity to parent, that’s a blessing.  Admittedly, it’s not one any of us would ever choose — but it’s a blessing, nonetheless.  And not to pick on the guys; I’d say the same thing about women becoming passionately committed mothers.

If God converts couples’ gratitude into motivation to be “astonishingly” committed parents, then infertility has served an important purpose.

It’s tempting to say we would have been deeply-invested parents without infertility.  Maybe we would have.  But truth be told, many of us value things much more when we’ve had to work hard for them — and becoming parents is no exception.

“Does infertility teach you something?” asked Mike, formerly a member of the group and now the father of two boys.  “Yeah.  If it takes this much effort to have a child, you cherish them more.  If it takes longer to get pregnant, you appreciate it more than if you had a baby the first time you tried.”

Brent,  a father for three months, agrees.  “I had a life plan.  But now, I don’t feel the rush on the career side.  It doesn’t bother me.  If it happens, it happens.  I’m not going to force it.  I’m focused on being a father.”

In my experience, infertile couples go on to become incredible parents — whether by conception or adoption.  Not only are they deeply grateful for their child(ren), they are also deeply committed to stewarding them in the best possible way.  I believe that commitment is what God’s after.

Sometimes, the commitment is tested.

James, the father of twin girls, says, “Not having children seemed like the hardest thing.  But then, we had one kid who needed heart surgery and they  thought the other kid might have Down’s Syndrome….”  Difficult as it was — “We only had five minutes to enjoy becoming parents!” — James and his wife faced their new challenges head-on, and they continue to work as full partners raising their incredible girls.

That was my experience, too.  Our daughter required open heart surgery when she was just four-weeks-old.  Our son was born prematurely a week before I was (mis)diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and began chemo.  Of course, we recoiled at the thought of more suffering, hard on the heels of infertility.  But my husband had that “astonishing, staggering” commitment Newsweek talks about — so did I — to our children, and to each other.

Not that we would have wished for it, but the challenges of infertility prepared us — individually, and as a couple — for what would follow.  With faith in each other and trust in God’s purposefulness, we got through it all.

That’s one of the great blessings of the infertility journey:  You and your spouse discover strength, passion and a depth of commitment you never knew you had.  And, as best I can tell, they last a lifetime.  As does the desire to continue to grow in the faith that sustained you.

That may be part of how God’s setting the stage for your future — as a parent, as part of a forged-solid relationship, and as a believer whose faith has been tested, renewed, and proven.  May it be so.

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For more resources and cause for hope, visit PregnantWithHope.com

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The Many Blessings of Adoption

For some couples, infertility is simply the product of timing.  Initially, that can feel like a huge disappointment.  But, it can prove to be a great blessing.

Robin and Don met in their early 40’s and married just before Robin turned 45.  Statistically, they had an 87% chance of being infertile.  Robin conceived naturally – twice – but both times, she miscarried soon afterwards.  Said Don, “I thought, realistically, that chances of me becoming a father were slim.  I remember telling some friends one time that that would be my biggest disappointment in life….”

“ It was hard to think that we had passed the point of being able to have our own genetic children,” Robin agreed.  They talked to fertility specialists, but somehow weren’t at peace with IVF.  So, they began to consider adoption.  Here’s how Don described their decision process:

“I’m one who believes you’ve got to exert immense patience to understand – and wait for – what God’s doing in your life.  If you jump to a conclusion, you may miss the message.  At the time, I wondered:  We haven’t been able to get pregnant — is there a message there?  I was listening and thinking:  Is God saying, ‘You shouldn’t be parents?’ or ‘Take another approach’?  I knew God had messages for us, but we had to be listening.”

Psalm 37 teaches, “Delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.  Commit everything you do to the Lord.  Trust Him, and He will help you.”  Don and Robin did that:

1) They entered the adoption process focused intently on God’s love, His purposefulness, and His deep desire to bless them, 2) They sought His guidance and trusted Him to direct their steps, and 3) They chose to believe that He had a plan worth waiting for – one that would be better than anything they could accomplish without Him.

What happened?  Did God help them?  “We were told to expect a 12-18 month wait,” Robin said.  So, they trusted and waited.  Ten days later, they got a phone call.

“Our social worker said, ‘Are you ready to be blown away?  There is a mom who has 5-month-old twins.  She has been wanting to make an adoption plan since she was pregnant, but she’s had a lot of false starts and nothing’s come through.  She’s ready to go through with it.  She chose you.’”

“I look back on it now,” said Don, “and here’s the miracle: if we’d been ready six months earlier, this mom wouldn’t have been ready.  If we had been ready six months later, we might have missed adopting our boys.  God has a way of moving things around so that it’s a win-win for everybody.  This mom needed relief, these boys needed a home – they needed our home, Robin and I wanted children… and God worked it all out perfectly.”

Is their story an extraordinary rarity?  I don’t think so.  After spending five years struggling with infertility, Owen and Kelly had a similar experience.  They felt led by God to move onto a path toward adoption and they, too, are now the joyful parents of twins.

Want another example?  How about Bill Haslet, who emailed me about adopting his twins 30+ years ago.  He wrote, “We received a call on a Friday evening and picked them up on the following Tuesday. Talk about instant family!! Today, they are 33 years old, both married, both fathers, and two of the finest young Christian men I know.  Our lives don’t always turn out the way we might plan them, but God’s plan and his blessings are more than we can even comprehend!!”

Sometimes, infertility is the first step on the path designed to lead us toward  adoption.  Rather than a curse, it serves as the signpost that says, “Adoption’s pinwheel of blessings:  this way.”

Don’t be afraid to follow the signs.

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For more resources and cause for hope, visit PregnantWithHope.com

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At Last, Good News

I met Brent & Cathi the first time they came to the infertility Bible study group.   At that point, Cathi was so exhausted by the emotional toll of infertility, it took enormous effort to hold herself together.   Tears were very close to the surface.  Several times they spilled over and poured down her cheeks.  Brent was doing his best to be stoic-yet-supportive.  It was clear they were struggling mightily.

A year later, when I interviewed the two of them for Pregnant with Hope, they spoke candidly about the challenge of being surrounded by countless fertile friends, all of whom seemed to conceive effortlessly.  They acknowledged having wrestled many times with feelings of anger, resentment, jealousy, self-pity, confusion, heartache and more as they struggled.  They also spoke of the deep desire to join the ranks of the “alumni” (couples who’d completed the infertility course and gone on to become parents), and the fear that made that seem impossible whenever bad news overwhelmed them.

So, it was with great joy that I read the article, “Couple Realize Dream of Being Parents.”  Take a minute to enjoy the story, and then remind yourself that the Bible says, “No one who trusts God like this — heart and soul — will ever regret it.  It’s exactly the same no matter what a person’s religious background may be:  the same God for all of us, acting in the same incredibly generous way to everyone who calls out for help.  Everyone who calls, ‘Help, God!’ gets help.”

Here’s the story as it appeared….

“When it came to having children, Cathi Hilpert never thought she’d have a problem.  The freelance writer married her husband, Brent, in 2000 and wasn’t in any hurry to start a family.  ‘We were married for some time before we started trying,’ she said.  ‘I always thought I’d pop one out right away, so we took our time.’  But, it wasn’t long before Hilpert realized that having a baby was not going to be as easy as she’d assumed.  After consulting doctors and specialists, she began a rigorous treatment that included test, drugs and needles.  ‘It was pretty intense,’ she recalled.

She and her husband soon found that being infertile absorbed their private lives and spilled into their social circle.  It became increasingly difficult to be around children or to discuss their feelings with friends.  ‘When you’re going through it, you often don’t have friends who understand,’ she said.  ‘It was even hard to go to church — a very hard place to be infertile.  You’re surrounded by children, and there’s a lot of talk about children being blessings.  You start to wonder, ‘Have I done something wrong that I’m not blessed?’

After a year of dealing with the anguish on their own, the couple discovered a class led by author Susan Radulovacki and based on her book, Pregnant with Hope.  Hilpert and her husband began attending regular sessions for infertile couples.  ‘We really wanted to meet other people going through it,’ Hilpert said.  ‘This class was a safe place to share our feelings.  That’s probably the biggest challenge of infertility:  as much as friends and family empathize, it’s really difficult for them to understand.’

Brent Hilpert, a 34-year-old chemistry teacher, described the couple’s two-year struggle as ‘isolating.’  He said, ‘My wife and I looked for any resource we could find and there was very little out there.  The class was especially  helpful because it gave me a place to talk about all of these issues with other men.’

Last November, after nine months of an uncomplicated pregnancy resulting from IVF, Cathi Hilpert, 32, fulfilled her dream of becoming a mother when her daughter Molly was born.  But, she and her husband still attend the class to share their story with other couples.  ‘There are so many people who go through hell to build a family,’ she said.  ‘We want to be supportive of others as they go through the process.’

Hilpert said she knows ‘the whole experience made us different parents than if we hadn’t gone through the infertility journey.  I have a little more patience than I may have had.  I love being a mom and can’t imagine my life any other way than with kids.'”

The same faithful God who brought Brent and Cathi to the moment they longed for, and placed Molly safely in their arms, has a plan that will lead your life to intersect with the life of a particular child who needs you.  That is why He placed the seed of hope in your heart.  That is why He has nurtured and protected it, even as you have suffered through loss after grief after heartache.  He will execute His plan perfectly (if you do not willfully alter its course), as soon as all the pieces are in place.

Until then, trust Him… and visualize that reporter calling you to say, “So, how did your story begin?”

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For more resources and cause for hope, visit PregnantWithHope.com

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The Happiest Ending

I met Kirsten and Mike when they were well into their infertility journey.  They’d had a spontaneous miscarriage at 18 weeks.  “When you go through a miscarriage that’s further along in a pregnancy,” Kirsten said, “a big, huge hole opens up in your life.  You feel like you’re completely isolated.  You know in your mind that other people have gone through this, but you never expect it to happen to you.”

When they felt ready to try again, they had four unsuccessful IUIs and an IVF cycle that resulted in no embryos.  Their doctor, a well-known infertility expert, told them they had infertility “of unknown origin” – and then dropped a bomb.  As Mike recalled, “The doctor actually said to us, ‘You will never have kids.’  It took every bit of emotional strength to try to get through it.  Kirsten was nuts.  She was hitting herself and saying, ‘I’m worthless!’  It was really tough.”

Their doctor pushed them toward egg donation.  Mike was willing to think seriously about international adoption.  But Kirsten felt a need to try IVF one last time.  “I needed a period at the end of the sentence that said, ‘It will not work.’”  They found a doctor at Cornell who was trying a new IVF protocol.

When Kirsten woke up from the retrieval, they’d recovered ten eggs.  “Now, there was hope,” Mike remembered.  A couple days later, there were five embryos.   After the transfer, they flew home and waited for test results.  The call came.  She was pregnant.   “I didn’t relax the entire pregnancy,” said Mike.  “It was horrible – I was so anxious something would happen.  I didn’t exhale until the babies came.”

Two of them.  A boy and a girl.

“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! [Eph 3:20]”

Their dismal track record indicated no chance.  Their doctor said, “not possible.”  Their common sense told them:  not realistic.  Their fear repeated, “not happening.”  But their faith affirmed: “I still believe.” And God breathed life into their hope.

The story doesn’t end there.

They brought their twins by to visit me last fall.  Laughing as they shared the news, they told me, “We’re pregnant again!”  This time, it was completely natural.  Unplanned.  Definitely unexpected.  They baptized her a week ago.  She’s a total gift from God.

He can do anything.

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Find many more resources & cause for hope at PregnantWithHope.com

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An Egg Donor’s Perspective

What makes someone want to be an egg donor?  It’s a complicated, painful, time-consuming process that is not without risk.  Is it for the money?  For ego reasons?  Tia Swanger agreed to share her story.  If you are an infertile couple considering egg donation, it may give you some peace.

Thirteen years ago, Tia was a preschool teacher on maternity leave.  She hadn’t expected becoming a parent to be much of a change from her role as a teacher.  But, “I was wrong!  Having the baby changed us.  We saw how the miracle of life brings God close to you.”

One day, she noticed a newspaper ad soliciting egg donors.  “I read what it said about infertility, and I  started thinking about how sad it was that someone could want a child and not be able to have one.  I realized I could help someone have what I have – and feel what I feel  – and I wanted to do that.  I felt like God was calling me to do that.”  She talked to her husband about it.  “Jeff said, ‘If you feel led to do this, you need to do this.’”  So, she called the clinic.

“It was a huge process,” she said.  There were tests and screenings, a psychiatric evaluation, two shots a day, side effects (that, for her, would include leukopenia),  “plus, I had to find someone to watch the baby, we didn’t live anywhere near the clinic, and…  it was definitely a challenge.”

One day, an unidentified couple requested photos of Tia and her baby.  Then, they requested additional genetic testing.  “I did whatever they wanted, and everything came back perfect,” Tia said.  “There were never names or faces.  No information about them.  But then, I got a letter.  It said, ‘Dear Donor, Thank you!  After 14 years of infertility…!'”  It said the father had received a heart transplant, so this was not the family’s first experience receiving a gift of life.

“I read that letter,” recalled Tia, “and I prayed, ‘Please God, let this happen for them.’  I never heard another word.  I prayed and I hoped… but I’ll never know.  In my heart, I feel it was successful.  ”

Did Tia ever regret giving away a part of herself?  “I had no issues with that.  Ever.  I’m not the mother of that child.  I’m not holding that child’s hand and walking them to the bus; that’s the mother.  I’m not comforting them, helping them when they’re hurt, loving them every day; that’s the mother.  I’m just a way for someone to become a mother.”

Can she understand why someone might worry about using an egg donor?  “Sure, but there’s a bigger picture to consider.  It may not be your flesh, but that baby will call you ‘Mama.’  When you hold that bundle of joy, it will supersede all your preconceived notions.  A baby bonds, and it knows no one but you as the mother.  It doesn’t matter to that baby what the genetics are.  It just knows love.”

What advice would Tia offer infertile couples considering egg donation?  “Look inside yourself.  Ask, ‘Why do I want a baby?  Is it to have a part of me walking around in the world, or to share a life?’  It shouldn’t matter to you whose genes these are.  Once you love this child as your own, that won’t matter.  This child will be yours.”

Tia will never meet the child(ren) her egg(s) helped conceive, and she has complete peace about it.  “I think about it every now and then, but not a lot.  What I did was God’s will, not mine.  I was obedient to the calling, and what a privilege.  I never felt afraid, just like – a job’s got to be done, so you do it.  End of story.  Some people might question my decision, but if I know it’s God’s will, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do.  Nothing.”

The Bible says, “… serve the Lord with gladness.”  Tia did, and through her, God gave the gift of an egg to a couple longing to steward a little soul.

Might He intend to bring a child into the life of your family the same way?  If so, may the story of Tia’s selfless gift — given in response to God’s tug on her heart — bring you peace.

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Find more resources and cause for hope at PregnantWithHope.com

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Stepping Out In Faith

Recently, a reporter asked if she could interview me about the story behind Pregnant with Hope. She wanted to hear about our infertility journey, and  about how that led to a growing outreach ministry that delivers help and hope to infertile couples around the world.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch the video — and then, forward it to someone you know who might need a word of encouragement or a change of perspective on infertility.

Who knows? Maybe one day you’ll have a chance to share your own story of God’s goodness and faithfulness. If so, jump at the opportunity! I’m convinced that’s part of how we say, ‘thank you, Lord.’

 

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Fostering a Family

DCFS (the Department of Children and Family Services) is an acronym familiar to many because of news stories that report on abuse and neglect occurring in state foster care systems. These stories receive prominent coverage because “bad news sells.” The unintended consequence is that foster care appears to be a profoundly flawed system, and one that aspiring parents should avoid at all costs.

That’s not necessarily true.

The truth is that there are some amazing success stories in foster care. Stories of people who’ve opened their homes to children who were strangers and enabled them to experience loving family – in the process, altering the trajectory of their lives for the better.

Heather was 2 years old when she was placed in foster care. In the beginning, she resented the social workers who took her and her sister, Kayla, from their biological mother. But the girls quickly grew to love their foster parents, Barry and Marsha Yearwood, who later adopted them.

Heather, now 22 and happily married, didn’t fully appreciate the love she experienced in the Yearwood’s home until her biological mother resurfaced after many years. “She had a dead-end job. She moved every four months or so.” Heather’s younger brother, who’d remained with his mother, was a high school dropout. “She never instilled anything in him. I remember sitting there thinking that could be me.”

Today, thanks to the Yearwoods, both Heather and Kayla are attending college.  And, Heather and her husband, Dustin, have become foster parents. “It’s amazing what the Yearwoods were willing to do for me,” said Heather. “I felt like it was important to pay it forward.”

Is that story the exception that proves the rule?

John Silvey doesn’t think so. Growing up, he saw his parents take in and nurture hundreds of foster children. Foster care seemed completely natural to him. He shared his childhood with special needs children, and children who had been physically or sexually abused. Most, though, simply had no one to care for them. “When you’re a kid growing up in a family like that, you learn to have compassion,” he said. “It was a great experience.”

When he married, Silvey and his wife, Beth, decided to become foster parents. Less than two years after they completed their training, after having cared for three siblings and several other children, they got a call about newborn twins who needed a home. “From the moment we picked them up [on December 18th], we knew,” he said. “They were our Christmas present and they’ve been that to us every day. They are our girls.” The Silveys are finalizing adoption March 21st.

In one of his most memorable lessons to the disciples, Jesus taught that when we feed, clothe, comfort or welcome strangers, we do it for him. Not just in his honor, or in his memory. But also, as if we have literally done these things for Jesus himself. “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. Come, you who are blessed, take your inheritance.“

Might it be that your home could be a haven for a child who needs the love you are so hungry to share? And might it be that, in the process of giving generously, you would also receive? Might this be the way God is calling you to create a family – and in the process, to bring His light and love into the life of a child?

Think about it. Pray about it. And then, listen for His guidance. This could be the path to your family….

=====================================================================For For more information on foster care parenting and child placement, visit FosterParenting.com.

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Why This is Happening

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” [I Peter 4:10]

When I was going through infertility, nothing about it felt like a gift.  It was more like a curse that had sought and found me for reasons I couldn’t explain.  If someone had asked me, “How might this experience be a gift to you?” I would have felt patronized, defensive and angry.  No one was helping me find wisdom or insight, and I didn’t think I had the time.  I was busy trying to rush a heartbeat into an empty womb.

But, several years after our infertility journey ended, I was ready to ask some questions.  Why had we had to suffer so much to bring our children into the world?  Why had so many other forms of suffering been piled on during that same season?  What had been the purpose of all that pain and grief?  Why had it happened?

I wasn’t asking in anger (as I might have been years before).  I wasn’t picking a fight with God.  I just wondered if there had ever been a reason.  Truthfully, I didn’t expect to get an answer.

But I did.

“This happened so you would know you were never alone.”

I didn’t hear a voice.  It was more like I suddenly knew the answer with certainty, down deep in my spirit.

I wondered, What am I supposed to do with that information?

Again, there was no sound.  But my spirit received the answer very clearly: “Find those who feel lost and tell them they are not alone.”

In that moment, God showed me there had been a purpose for all we’d been through.  Throughout our infertility journey, He’d demonstrated His faithfulness – over and over – in unforgettable, life-changing ways.  He’d done it, in part, so that I could tell others with absolute certainty that He would do the same for them, too.

That moment signaled the end of one journey, and the beginning of another.

I never set out to create or lead a Bible study for infertile couples.  Or to write a book.  Or to help churches and hospitals launch groups.  Or to spend hours every week writing blog posts.  But that’s what God had planned all along.

He wanted me to tell infertile couples, “you are not alone” every way possible.  He wanted me to tell you that He has promised to be with you always, and He will be.  That He walks every step of this journey beside you – to comfort, to strengthen, to guide you.  That He has a plan and purpose, and that He intends to bless you beyond what you can ask or imagine.

I hope this blog gives you insight I never had on my journey.  I hope it gives you peace when you’re anxious, comfort when you’re grieving, and inspiration that urges you to look past each day’s struggle to the joy that awaits you.

That joy includes a child God has always intended for you.  If you’re willing, it also includes the joy of paying forward God’s goodness and faithfulness by using whatever gift you receive through this experience to serve others, “faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”

May it be so.

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For more inspiration and cause for hope, read Pregnant With Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples or visit PregnantWithHope.com

 

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