Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Here's the FULL story...

In the September/October issue of Stepping Stones magazine, a ministry publication to couples dealing with infertility, our story was published.  Another adoption site re-posted our story, but they edited a lot of the "Christian" parts.  So, I'm reposting it here to give God all the glory He deserves.  Please feel free to share.

At this time of year with all the holiday hustle and bustle of events, parties, shopping etc., many feel lonely and especially those who are still waiting and longing for a child.  It can seem extremely quiet and heart breaking as they await their ultimate heart's desire of becoming parents.  Nothing packaged in pretty wrapping paper and the most beautiful bow can ever replace that achy desire inside one's heart.  So, please share, be prayerful for those hurting, be mindful of the true meaning of Christmas - Jesus came to heal, deliver and set us free.  He gives peace where there is no peace, joy where there was once sorrow and He fulfills our every longing.  He loves us so much and it's worth shouting so others can hear, even if our shouting isn't done with our voice, but is better seen through our actions.  

Tugs on My Heart         
By Jennifer Maynard

The grief following miscarriage had a very strong grip on me for a long time. Every year, I continue to feel tugs on my heart when the anniversaries of my lost babies return. It’s not that I haven’t been surrounded by people who love, support, and pray for me, but people have continued with their lives, and I have had to walk this lonely path myself.

My story began more than eight years ago. I became pregnant after just a few months of trying. It's something that I dreamed would be the next step in my life after marriage. However, my steps were far different than I imagined they would be.

October 18 marks the anniversary of when our first baby was due to have been born. It's so hard to believe that my husband, Mark, and I could have had an 8 year old walking around right now. At this point in our lives, you’d think that the sting would be gone, but it’s still there. As my husband said recently, “The Lord has really brought healing and continues to heal our hearts.”

We are blessed with a beautiful baby girl now. No, she wasn't born "naturally" to us, but in my heart she's mine naturally, and in my heart she is truly my daughter. I am her real mother.

Just a couple of years after my first miscarriage, I found myself pregnant again. Months later I discovered that my child had no heartbeat. Both miscarriages were at Easter time, when there should be resurrection power, but I once again I (delete) only faced death and loss. Satan had a goal in all of this: to have me doubt my Father, lose my faith and hope, and throw in the towel.

The next several years were full of frustration, medication, surgery, and tests. Finally I began to think that my overwhelming desire to be a mother just wasn't meant to be. I didn't understand why I wasn't pregnant when everything I read in God's Word spelled out His promises to His children...and to me. I had thought that becoming a mother could only happen one way: by giving birth to a child.

A Turning Point
Then I came across a teaching by Dave Roberson…a teaching in which he made a powerful statement that changed my course. He said something to this effect: God doesn't give's man's decision to have children.

In 2010, Mark and I determined that our burning desire to be parents wasn't going away, and we decided to pursue adoption again. Four years earlier, an infant was placed in our home, but the child’s birthparents changed their mind about parenting. We had to return the baby.

When that happened, I was full of shame and embarrassment thinking that I had pursued an Ishmael and really God really wanted me to have an Isaac. That wasn't it at all, though. Those were just thoughts from the enemy twisting God's Word and trying to get me to doubt my Father's will for our life.

So I quit my job thinking that less stress would do the trick. I tried to get pregnant again for six months and still nothing. I was full of fear because we had experienced loss three different times and it seemed like every time I tried to become a mother, I failed.

Trying Again
Only by God's grace did I have the courage to go down the path of adoption again. I had truly lost faith, hope, and even my sense of joy, even though on the outside, I had put on the mask of faking it. It was God's mercy, people’s prayers, cards, phone calls, letters, notes, and other’s adoption stories that allowed me to walk this journey.

God has brought a beautiful and healthy baby girl into our lives, and I would go through everything again just to be brought to this point in my journey. Our daughter is a priceless and precious gift. As I try to find the words to express this journey, you can truly never know unless you've walked this path what women go through and what their husbands experience. It's a quiet pain and a silent hurt. I have come to realize how much adoption needs to be more supported in the Church. Out of this pain and hurt, God has given me opportunities to talk with other women and to encourage those who've encountered loss.

On Friday, October 26, 2012, we finalized our daughter’s adoption. This is a significant date to me because it's the day right before I present at Pearls Women’s Ministry Conference. God is good and no matter what comes our way, we can always have confidence that He is all-wise and will bring to pass the desires of our hearts. He loves to bless us, and His Word is always truth.

Satan lies to us and tries to get us to doubt just as he did in the garden with Adam and Eve. If we can shut off those thoughts of doubt and magnify the Lord instead of our pain, we will be able to conquer every fear of loss that comes our way. God is always good! This is one thing I am confident in.

The Love Reach
Now I make it a point to be more purposeful to encourage all around me to seek out and reach out to women who have lost a baby or a child and to let them be comforted with a hug, prayers, encouragement, or a note of love. I know they appreciate it more than can be imagined. I call it the love reach.

My life was changed forever as we finalized Niyla's adoption and completed this long walk and journey. The day her adoption was finalized, I held back my tears all day until I got home and sat down that night with just me and my daughter in the quiet of our home and praising God. They were tears of exceeding joy!

I am so appreciative of everyone who followed our journey, supported us, loved us, encouraged us, and prayed for us. We love each and every person and are so happy that we are officially ending the chapter of our first adoption and starting the new one of being Niyla's parents. To God be the glory for the great things He has done!

Editor’s Note: Jennifer and Mark have now begun their second adoption journey.

Does it hurt you to see other women pregnant?
Yes, it still does. The sting isn't as great as it once was. I think often about the two babies I miscarried and wonder what they would look like and what life would have been like with them. Even though they aren't in my “present,” they will certainly be in my future. I always say that they are being raised by the best Father ever...our heavenly Father.
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