Guest post by Julie Thomas, Woman’s Network Director, Foothills Community Church
Last night I sat with an incredible group of women.
This was not a social gathering or a party. This was a group of women who have consistently met together for the past three years because of one common experience: infertility.
Wounded and hurt by the ever-present fact that they have not conceived or carried a child to term, they meet together to encourage one another, to pray for one another and to find some common ground.
Their stories were much more than I expected.
- Painful accounts of loss and grief.
- Stories of the years spent trying to have a biological child with no success.
- Multiple miscarriages.
- Tens of thousands of dollars spent on infertility treatments.
Resulting in only sadness and debt.
Then came stories of attempted adoptions through the foster care system. A system that seems to have hundreds of available and waiting children, yet a system that is first committed to the biological parents, not the adoptive.
These women told accounts of caring for babies for months on end with the hope of adoption, only to have them suddenly taken away and placed back with their broken biological families.
On this night, only one woman was cautiously optimistic about a pregnancy.
She sat quietly, 16 weeks pregnant. She’s been pregnant twice previously, carrying one baby to only six weeks, her second to only ten. This gift of 16 weeks was almost more than she could hope for as she desperately clings to the dream of a full-term baby.
As one woman shared, “I never thought this would be me. I never thought infertility would happen to me.”
But here’s what else I heard from these women. Hope.
A hope not in systems, government offices, or adoption agencies. But a hope in God. A God they do not pretend to understand. But yet somehow even through their disappointment and devastation, they believe that God is their hope and that He Himself is writing their stories and forming their families.
And not only are they believing God for this, they are seeing Him do this.
God has not forgotten these women. Have we?
- Do we know a woman who has had a miscarriage?
- Have we wondered why she hasn’t been able to “get over it”?
- Have we sought to understand?
God hears the pain of these women, and their pleas for healing and comfort are etched across His heart. His response, though, is often expressed through you and me.
We are invited to be the arms that hold, the shoulder that supports, and in some cases the voice that brings healing.
My challenge today is this: Intentionally reach out to woman you know who has either struggled with infertility or who has adopted.
Here’s some suggestions.
- Ask her to tell you her story.
- Listen when she tells you. Don’t offer trite answers or platitudes.
- If she has a spouse, ask her how he dealt with everything (dads get forgotten)
- Ask if you’ve ever been insensitive to her journey.
- If she has kids, take them for a night.
- Tell her how amazing she is.
All of us want to be known. All of us want to be understood, and to know that we have not been forgotten.
May we faithfully accept God’s invitation to be His hands and feet, offering the HOPE of Jesus to women (and men) on their journeys through infertility and adoption.
©2011 Julie Thomas