Retrospective Perceptions on Normative Family Constructs and the Impact of Revised Expectations: Reframing the Paradigm of Parenthood

Wow, time sure flies when you’re getting three shots in the belly each day.

Actually, this was my first day of three shots. After my appointment yesterday, the doctor said to begin taking the third type of injection – an ovulation suppressant (called Ganirelix) – and decrease the dosage of another – an ovarian stimulant (called Follistim). These new orders came as a result of my ultrasound and blood test, which showed that things were “on track,” with the follicles growing and my estrogen level rising. Apparently the doctor thought enough progress was being made that the Follistim could be cut back a tad and the Ganirelix regimen could commence to avoid premature ovulation. In other words, this was good news.

Five days into it, and we are already looking better than last time around, thank God. We still have a ways to go, with many more potential disruptions and disappointments. But for now, I can certainly be thankful for this one step forward, and pray that the Lord will continue to carry us each step of the way.

In the meantime, I’ve got plenty of bright ideas for blog topics, including a top 10 list of some of the most insensitive things people have said to us related to infertility and a rant against irksome pregnancy-deifying Facebook status updates. However, I recently discovered that November is National Adoption Month, and since I haven’t talked much about that part of our story, I thought I should share how God has grown our desire to adopt a child. My criticisms of society and social networking can wait for future posts.

Colin and I started talking about adoption when we were dating. Obviously, we didn’t want to do so at the time; we just discussed our views on adoption, how we considered it to be symbolic of God’s love for us, and agreed that we’d be open to it if/when we got married. We tied the knot, waited a few years, and started trying to conceive. Then the you-know-what hit the fan, and it became apparent that this whole getting pregnant thing wouldn’t be as easy as it looks.

Thinking back, I don’t recall how the topic of adoption entered our conversations, though I do remember that it was a mutual initiative – both Colin and I thought it would be a good idea to start pursuing adoption even in the midst of beginning fertility treatments. So we did some research online, talked to friends and family (especially drawing on my mom’s expertise as a counselor at Care Net pregnancy services), and discovered Bethany Christian Services, a large U.S.-wide agency that provides domestic and intercountry adoption.

We attended a Bethany informational seminar in April and quickly got the ball rolling on the paperwork for domestic adoption. It was incredibly time-consuming and exhausting filling out all the forms and procuring the necessary documents, and at times felt invasive, as we had to answer question after question about our personalities, our marriage, our infertility, our faith, and numerous other topics that were part of the home study.

But honestly, I enjoyed it. Not that I took a great amount of pleasure in rehashing my whole life story in the questionnaires or learning about the grief that birthmothers experience when they make adoption plans for their children or talking to the case worker about our childlessness and struggles with infertility. The adoption application and home study process wasn’t enjoyable in that sense; rather, it was a blessing in terms of how it appeased my task-oriented nature and allowed me to do something working toward the goal of being a mom. I had been feeling overwhelmed with loss – loss of control, loss of fertility, loss of a biological child I didn’t know if I could have – and adoption gave me hope that the Lord would redeem those losses and create a beautiful family for us, just in a different way than I had expected. Hence, the title of this post, with buzzwords straight from the pages of Colin’s academic journals.

There’s a lot more I could say about adoption, and I plan on doing so in the future because we plan on adopting regardless of whether or not IVF works. Of course, we’re not just doing IVF for kicks – we wouldn’t be spending this much money or investing such a ridiculous amount of emotional and physical energy into it if we didn’t think there was a chance of success. We believe that God works miracles through biological pregnancies and adoption, and we know that He answers the prayers of those longing for children (see: Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah, and Elizabeth). We just don’t know how or when He’s going to answer our prayers.

In the absence of that knowledge, I’ll continue to blog about IVF and adoption, and perhaps in the future blog about having a biological child or adopting a child. Hopefully I’ll get to do both.

Published by jennhesse

Coauthor, Waiting in Hope: 31 Reflections for Walking with God Through Infertility. Content director at Waiting in Hope Ministries. Wife and boy mom x3.

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