We all have ideas about how we want our life to be. We have dreams, and we're told, "If you work hard enough, you can achieve anything." For my whole life, I have believed this and can honestly say I've been able to work for everything I've ever wanted. Being a teacher. Traveling. Having a loving marriage. Owning a home. So how come the one thing I wanted more than anything I couldn't seem to achieve? Being a mommy.
The answer to this is both a mystery and a blessing. But let’s start back a few years. When I was in college, becoming a teacher was a no-brainer. I love kids. I love learning. After graduating from Portland State, I earned my Masters at City University. During this time, I would have loved to meet “the one”. Believe me . . . I was always on the look out, but with a dad as cool as mine, no guy even came close. I started to wonder, “Is it me? Am I too picky?”
Once I expressed my dating frustrations to my mom, and she said, “Honey, there was never a pot so crooked that there wasn’t a lid to fit. You’re only looking at the boys in Vancouver and thinking you’ll never find a husband, but I say, don’t limit yourself to Washington State. Don’t even limit yourself to the United States. Your husband could be in Africa for all you know.”
As it goes, I moved to Tacoma for my first year of teaching, and while I was there, I heard about a sister school in Lagos, Nigeria that recruited heavily from our district. As previously mentioned, I had no romantic ties. No kids. Just a dream and an opportunity. So I applied and was hired.
A few months later, and a half a world away, I met Craig Curry- “the one”. Within a week, I knew without a doubt, he would be my husband. And we’ve been inseparable ever since.
What a perfect love story. And what better way to memorialize our love than to start a family. It’s what you do. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage.
But that’s not what happened. Nothing happened for a year. Then two years. Then three. We sought fertility specialists and underwent thousands of dollars of testing (for which not a cent was covered by insurance). We did fertility drugs, fertility procedures, special diets, acupuncture, Chinese herbs, everything and anything to increase our chances of having a baby. I felt desperate. Depressed. Alone.
All my life I’ve been able to work for the things I want. And if it didn’t work right away, I could figure out a way to work harder or smarter. This was the first time that what I wanted more than anything, I couldn’t make happen. And it was very humbling.
An infertility counselor told me that there are two gifts we have as humans. The first is our willpower. We have the ability to create the life we want. We have intelligence. Stick-to-it-ness. Control. But the second gift is more powerful. Most people don’t even recognize it. It is vulnerability when things don’t go just right. It’s the ability to accept that you can’t control everything. It’s recognizing your humanity and knowing that you still have the choice to go on.
Our choice to adopt has brought me so much peace that I would be remised to think life wasn’t whispering this to me all along. It's like that saying about the guy who spent his whole life climbing the ladder of success only to get to the top and realize his ladder was leaning against the wrong wall. We may think we have an idea about where we're headed, but sometimes life has other plans for us. We just have to listen.
Africa called once, and I brought home my husband. Africa is calling again.