This was submitted by one of our readers who wished to remain anonymous.
If you asked anyone who went to high school with me or church youth group how they would describe me, I bet most would use words like-responsible, over-achiever, “good girl”, and square-if anyone uses that term anymore. I was the one who always raised my hand first when a teacher or youth pastor asked a question, when everyone else was studying the carpet. I was a nerd and my friends were nerds.
I didn’t play sports, but was very involved in choirs at my small Christian
K-12 school and my conservative, large traditional church. Actually involved is an understatement-I participated in every musical, 2 touring choirs, and was one of the lead soloists. My hard work in school paid off when I achieved becoming Valedictorian of my graduating class-of 30. Okay, not a huge accomplishment. I went on to attend my town’s community college for two years.
During this time, I never dated. I was shy, and boys just didn’t pursue me. In community college, that changed, when a dark haired handsome, young man from one of my classes began attending my church. After hanging out for a while, he told me that he was a Christian, but he had a secret struggle. I thought he might admit the common teen/young adolescent struggles (like defiance of parents, occasionally doubting God, impure thoughts) but he admitted to being a heroin addict, though he had been clean six weeks.
I seriously had no clue about how big of a deal that was. I continued to hang
out-we never even kissed, but I had such a strong desire to have a boyfriend. And,
frankly, I had horrible self-esteem. At that point in my life, no one had really
told me that I was attractive or had made me feel in the slightest desirable. I
also felt he needed a friend. My youth pastor helped Andrew acquire a job at a
local golf course and pro shop, but shortly after that, we found out that
Andrew had stolen items from the shop, and was on the run from the police.
After that, my experience with males (and poor judgment) would not improve for
years until meeting my husband.
Not long after this, my aunt, who lived in a town about an hour away, set me up on a blind date with a Christian, church going, young man. We dated long distance, and I eventually moved to town to attend the university and to be close to him. Chris was my first boyfriend. We had lots in common, and both of us even wore promise rings.
Unfortunately neither of us stuck to our commitments. We didn’t have sex, but
we dangerously danced around the “point of no return.” We dated for nearly a
year, but with each month, I noticed that he became more verbally and emotionally abusive-the worst part was it was in front of other people. Friends, family-it didn’t matter. It got so bad that his grandmother sat me down, and voiced her concern.
When I didn’t heed her advice to put an end to it, she called my father, and talked to him. Needless to say my parents were at their wit’s end when I got engaged to him at 21 yrs. old. One day, when we were doing our usual “dancing,” he became very forceful, and the line was crossed. I remember thinking that it couldn’t be rape because we were engaged. I blamed myself-it was true that I had placed myself in a compromising situation, so I convinced myself it wasn’t rape. Until I went to class that day, and talked to a friend. He said,”Girl, what you described sounds like rape.” Even with his confirmation of my feelings, I still chose to stay with Chris. After all, I was damaged goods.
It wasn’t until Chris told me that he wanted to date more people before marrying me, that I returned the beautiful engagement ring, dodging a huge bullet. My parents breathed a sigh of relief.
I confided in a few close friends my mistake of becoming intimate and the rape and of course, I never felt comfortable telling my parents anything like that. Sex was such a taboo subject. My sex education was my mother handing me Dobson’s “Preparing for Adolescence” and whatever was discussed in church group. The guilt I felt about becoming sexually involved with my fiancé, was overwhelming. I had not planned on becoming sexually active prior to marriage, and now I wouldn’t even be marrying him and “correcting” the mistake.
I tried to get back on track by joining a Christian Bible study group at the University. At that time, I developed a huge crush on Greg, who in my mind, was the epitome of what I was looking for-strong in his faith, and an all around good guy. We began dating, but when we began sharing our past, he asked if I had ever been intimate with anyone. I confided that I had been with my ex-fiance. He told me that he was committed to marrying a virgin, which made me feel like scum of the earth. I was convinced that all Christian guys were looking for virgins, and I began to lower my dating standards.
When my roommate told me about her brother, I was intrigued. Glenn lived out of town, but called his sister often, hoping that I would answer the phone. He was from a Christian family, but he never professed to be a Christian. One weekend, he came to visit his sister and to meet me. He stayed with us, and we spent lots of time together. One night, after his sister went to bed, we began kissing. Before I knew it, he had coerced me into my room. I kept telling him that I didn’t want to go “all the way.” Glenn was over 6 ft, very large, an ex-Marine.
Before I knew it his hands were all over me, and I couldn’t break free. I wanted to scream, but then I thought about how embarrassing to have his sister walk in on us. I quietly begged him to stop, but he didn’t. I felt I had no choice but to close my eyes, and let it happen. After all, I was damaged goods already.
When I told my good friend what happened, she told me that it was rape, and that I needed to go to the college health clinic, and I needed to tell my roommate. That was the most difficult thing-when my roommate Holly heard what her brother had done, she exclaimed,”Oh, no! Don’t tell me this has happened again!” Apparently her brother had a reputation for not taking “no” as an answer from girls he dated though no one had ever reported him. She begged me not to go to the police, and that it would kill her parents.
When Holly was out of town, I told my parents what had happened. They moved me out of the apartment and in with family, and encouraged me to go to the police. I did, but I never pursued it more. The police wanted me to call Glenn, so they could listen in on the conversation, and catch him admitting to the rape. But, I opted not to do it. I was already deserting my roommate, so I wanted to save her family the embarrassment. To this day, I regret that decision. I pray that others did not have to endure what I did…
After that, I was convinced that I shouldn’t expect much when it came to guys. I began dating Kenny, a self proclaimed agnostic, which was fun in a weird way. He challenged me spiritually and philosophically. We became sexually involved, and though I had guilt, at least I felt like I was finally in control. Kenny was a little too open sexually and it scared me. I was worried about being involved with someone who had no sexual inhibitions and who didn’t even refer to me as their girlfriend.
This is about the time that I met my future husband. I had gone out one night dancing with a girlfriend (something I was never comfortable doing), and met my husband on the dance floor. He was a free spirit, from a very different family background (one with no moral or spiritual guidance), and we became friends fast. Eventually I left Kenny, and began dating Jefferey. I fell hard for him, and we to had very in depth conversations about God. I knew that if I was going to marry someone, they should be a Christian. However, I didn’t wait for that to happen prior to getting engaged. I had also not waited to become sexually active.
At that point we were pretty much secretly living together. Again, my parents were unhappy with my decision to get engaged to Jefferey-and understandably so. They encouraged me to get back into church, and to get premarital counseling from a pastor prior to marrying Jefferey. I opened up the yellow pages, found a conservative church similar to mine, and called the church office. They actually allowed me to speak to the pastor, which was amazing! I told the pastor my dilemma, and he encouraged us to start attending his church, and he agreed to meet with Jefferey. We did just that, and before long, Pastor Tim had led Jefferey to the Lord, and he was baptized.
I wish I could say that our lives were perfect from then on but that is not how life usually works…
I often wondered if our infertility was God’s punishment for what I’ve done in my past. Did God see me as damaged goods as well?
Jefferey and I were married nearly three years before trying to have children. When I didn’t get pregnant, we had my gynecologist run tests on both of us. The tests showed that everything was normal. We went to a gynecologist in my home town who did IUIs-intrauterine inseminations. We just knew it would work! After 3 unsuccessful IUIs, we opted to take a break from the roller coaster of emotions one feels when dealing with infertility.
Everyone we knew was having kids. We began to feel like “the odd man out,” especially at church. Eventually we stopped going; we just didn’t feel like we fit in. We were too old to go to the young marrieds group and we couldn’t go to the parenting class. There was a Sunday school that “older” people went to, but we just grew tired of answering people’s questions. And, we were both starting to feel abandoned by God. We both had a past and lots of guilt. We knew that we had asked for forgiveness, but we felt we were “sowing what we had reaped.”
One day I mentioned to Jefferey that I wanted to begin pursuing treatments again-it was time to be more “proactive.” We took a 2ndmortgage on our home, and jumped in with both of our feet-the world of IVF (in-vitro fertilization). I had been praying that if God wanted us to go to this level of treatment, He would allow us to be approved for the loan.
When we were approved, it was our “green light,” and again we just knew that we would have success. We began attending church again, praying together, doing all the things we needed to “ensure” that we were making God happy so that He would grant us our request. Obviously flawed thinking. I even started an infertility
support group. We went through 2 unsuccessful IVFs cycles, before our doctor sat us down.
She shared that she was starting to wonder if I had an autoimmune disorder that was keeping the embryos from implanting-over active natural killer cell condition. One of the tests she had run, seemed a little out of range. She suggested that I be treated for the condition, prior to transferring our embryos. The treatment, called IVIG, was an additional $8,000, and we managed to gather the funds.
After doing the IVIG treatment and IVF, we were shocked to discover that the cycle was a success-I was pregnant! But, within a few weeks, I began having bleeding, and eventually miscarried. That was our lowest low! We couldn’t believe that God would allow that to happen. We decided to take another break from treatment.
About three years later, we heard that our old fertility clinic had hired a new doctor, who happened to be the doctor who had done our IUI’s years ago. Once again we gathered up the funds to do another IVF cycle. This time we didn’t even tell my parents what we were doing in hopes of surprising them. Prior to the cycle, we met with our doctor. He wasn’t convinced that I had the natural killer cell
condition, but agreed that he would order a new, less expensive treatment for
it if I wanted it. We opted for me to go through the lipid therapy and then
Once again two weeks later, we received a positive test result! We drove
to my parents’ house and surprised them with the news-way too prematurely.
Within a couple of days, my beta numbers began to drop, and I miscarried again.
We were devastated, and at a new emotional and spiritual low. It would take
months for us to process everything we had gone through. We weren’t getting any
younger-Jeffrey was in his late 30’s and I was a couple years behind him. I
decided to bring up an option that we had discussed a couple years prior-one
that Jefferey wasn’t quite ready for then.
I told Jefferey that I was wondering if this was God’s way of re-directing us to adoption. I had always wanted to adopt after we had biological children. He said he wasn’t completely opposed to adoption but wasn’t sure if that was what we should do. One Sunday, as we were watching a televised sermon about finding purpose for our lives, Jefferey told me that he felt God’s plan was for us to adopt. I was thrilled that we were finally on the same page, and we applied for a local adoption program last summer.
After 6 months in the program, we were getting so discouraged. We hadn’t received one “bite” on our profile-no interest from a birthmother. Then, on March 16th , my grandmother’s birthday, we received a call that we had been selected by a birthmother! Jefferey spoke with our adoption facilitator first, and then I called her. I was amazed to hear that the birthmother was due in a month! Since the birthmother had health issues and was on medication during her pregnancy, we were very concerned. The meds were not high risk to the baby, but could cause withdrawal symptoms.
We actually wrestled with the idea of not moving forward. However, after talking to a good, Christian friend, she told us that she felt strongly that this was God’s answer to our payer, and that we should trust His plan. Through lots of prayer, we began to feel comfortable with moving forward. As a teacher, I began to prepare for going out on leave in April-an ideal time with the summer around the corner.
Many other details began to fall into place. And, in April, our son L.J. was born-perfectly healthy!
After three months with L.J., I can’t imagine him not being in our life. He is absolutely perfect for us, and I know that I couldn’t have loved a biological child anymore than I love him. Jefferey feels the same way. He was definitely worth our 9 year journey.
Though I regret many decisions from my past, I no longer feel that our infertility is a punishment. I look at it more as the means God used to draw us to the adoption of L.J. I’ve learned so much from this, and I have a much deeper understanding of the importance of trusting God’s plan, which is best for us. I know we desire to have more children, hopefully not too long from now.
I hold to a memory I have: years ago while on a break from treatment, we were shopping and Jefferey ran into an old coworker, an elderly man. They were not good friends, so it was interesting when the man began to, out of the blue mind you, tell us about his daughter’s and son in law’s struggle to have children. He explained that they had gone through unsuccessful IVF cycles, and then adopted from China. Shortly after the adoption, his daughter found out she was pregnant, which she carried to term.
I always wondered why this man chose to share this personal, family story with us. I wonder if God intended for this to be an encouragement to us, knowing that we wanted to have more children after L.J. For now, I will try not to “lean on my own understanding” (Prov. 3:5-6), and trust that God will work out the details when it is the right time, just as he did with L.J. I’m excited to see what He has in store for us!