Can’t go back to the beginning,
Can’t control what tomorrow will bring.
But I know here in the middle
Is a place where You promise to be.
As I sit before the Blessed Sacrament in a moment of full-blown despair and anguish, these words from Elevation Worship’s song “Here Again” play in my earbuds. The lyrics define the limbo I have lived in since my very first miscarriage three years ago this month. By the grace of God, I have survived in the “Wilderness of Waiting” – a desert in which I have lost six precious lives to miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. If you’re reading this, chances are that you know too intimately the wilderness of which I speak. Like me, you wince interiorly at the memories of all the time that you have spent waiting for God to find favor with you. You’ve existed in a limbo between before and after, in a middle that feels so vast and lonely. The person you were before is someone that you can’t relate to anymore, and the woman that you’ve become carries grief that is difficult to put into words.
One year ago on this day, which also happens to be our wedding anniversary, my husband and I began our journey through adoption. We were eager to begin the process. We have longed for children since the start of our marriage and discerned that the door to adoption was open for us! We enthusiastically pursued this path to parenthood after choosing an adoption agency and building our home study. We felt hopeful and excited knowing that, at the end of this process, our arms would finally be full. We felt at peace, knowing that God called us to this mission and we had confidence that He would finish what He started in our family.
Throughout our preparation and education for adoption, we were told, “adopting will not be the answer to your infertility, nor will it heal the wound of what you’ve experienced.” This was a truth that I accepted to an extent, but my heart’s longing was for a child, and I knew that adoption would mean growing our family. Additionally, I had worked through my grief in counseling, and I felt strong, standing on the edge of “Approved and Waiting,” but no one prepared me for what came next.
At an adoption conference that we attended this past spring, a pastor said to us, “adoption is Kingdom work, and it is akin to spiritual warfare.” Nothing has been more true about my lived experience within adoption. For us, the wait within adoption is almost identical, emotionally, to the cycle of waiting within infertility, only more intense. Now, without paperwork to fill out, appointments to make, and all the distractions that took up my time and energy while trying to naturally conceive and prepare our home study, the most intense season of waiting began, and I became paralyzed by disappointment and grief.
The process of discerning information summaries on expectant mothers and hoping for a match is emotionally and spiritually demanding in a way unlike anything I have ever experienced. Finding the balance between guarding my heart and being vulnerable to the potential of a precious baby joining our family feels much like navigating the highs and lows of trying to conceive and carry a pregnancy. Simultaneously, the reality of all that we have lost up until now suddenly required tremendous grace and healing.
So here I was again, as I have been many times before, with the Lord in Eucharistic Adoration, begging Him for answers. Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament has, over and again, been the balm which soothes my wounds. Christ is Healer, and in my fatigue and weakness in the battle over my family, He has offered Himself. I come to Him thirsty and ravenous, broken and falling apart, surrendering my human weakness to Him in the middle of this trial that I never asked for.
He has never told me how much longer I will have to wait. He hasn’t yet shown me the reason for my suffering or why He asked me to carry this cross. Those are revelations that may only come when I pass from this life to the next. What He has given me is grace, and it’s always enough for me to continue on this path upon which He has set me. He is jealous for my gaze and my heart, and desires that my joy come from Him alone and not only in motherhood. I trust that He has miraculous plans for my family and yours! I know that He is preparing my heart for a child who will carry grief of their own, since every adoption begins with devastating loss.
Friend, infertility and adoption are hard! If you find yourself in the middle of a battle that you never asked for, remind yourself with Whom the victory lies. If you are in the middle of the Wilderness of Waiting and you are exhausted from wondering if it will ever end, take your weary heart to the Good Shepherd so that He may lead you back to green pastures.
Maria leads the Atlanta chapter of Favor Fertility Ministry. She and her husband of four years live in Kennesaw, Georgia.