Shooting Stars

It was a crisp, clear night along the shores of Saint Lawrence Gap in Barbados. We were right at that sweet spot in a vacation when you have been away from the stresses of everyday life for long enough to gorget them, and yet you’re still far away from thoughts of going home again. After some nice drinks, laying in a cabana, watching the sunset, we stowed away to a little table by the waves for dinner. It was a peaceful night, and our conversations drifted from family matters to scuba diving stories to the delicious food. Underlying the night — no, the whole week — was this expectancy and hope, and a little hesitancy of the unknown.

My parents, Arundel and I had travelled 4,284 miles for this momentous week. I had been taking pills and tests and injections for weeks. We had been praying and anticipating and dreaming of what would take place on this beautiful island. And, now that we were actually there, it felt a lot like we were still dreaming. This night, in particular, felt especially fairy-tale like because while we were sitting there, enjoying yummy seafood as we sat by the waves in the balmy evening breeze, God sent shooting stars to light up the sky. Two of them, in fact. They were so bright that it caught my gaze and made me turn — and made the waitress come to ask us if we had seen lightning. But no — it was a shooting star! The waitress said they never see shooting stars there. It was as if God had sent them just for us. We were amazed at the display in the sky — there for a just a few seconds but burned in my mind in it’s bright eruption of splendor. We know that God has used rainbows as a sign of promise, but it felt like that night He was using those shooting stars as one.

Three days later, we were sitting in the clinic waiting room, looking out the window to the view of the turquoise Carribbean ocean. I had just been through 45 minutes of relaxing acupuncture, and now it was time for the transfer. The doctor came to tell us that they had thawed the first two of three embryos that we had adopted. One of them was looking very healthy, the other was not growing. Unfortunately, it had not survived the thaw and was not viable. They waited as long as they could to make sure what they were seeing was correct — it would not make it. As we had discussed with them earlier, they moved on to the third embryo we had adopted and thawed that one. While we waited 30 minutes for the third embryo to thaw, Arundel and I talked and processed and grieved for that little life that didn’t make it. It was hard to process the excitement of the two growing embryos and the death of one all at once. But as we sat there and tried to be present in that circumstance, we felt the overwhelming peace of God with us. It was clear that it was His grace that it had happened this way. If the embryo that didn’t make it had been the third one, we would have not known that it wasn’t viable and would have gone through this entire process again in a few years, only to find out that that little one didn’t make it through the thaw, and come home empty-handed. But the Lord allowed it to happen this way, which was a lot easier to walk through.

The embryologist came back a few minutes later to tell us that the third embryo had thawed successfully and was looking beautiful. We were very excited! Arundel and I went to the back room, changed into scrubs, and were taken into the “theater” to have the transfer done. This was the moment that we had been waiting for — another moment in time where we were faced with a choice. We could either choose to believe that this was a defining moment in the history of our family that would change our lives forever, or we could step forward in fear and not put our hearts too far into it. Believe me, the latter sounded a lot more comfortable.

But, God has been so faithful to us all the way through this rough journey to keep reminding us of His ways and His thoughts and His goodness. So with His strength we stood in faith that this moment was going to change our family forever. As we watched the nurse transfer the embryos to my uterus, the little flicker on the ultrasound screen was all it took — we saw that little speck and we were in love. Our two little babies were home. We prayed for them and together asked the Lord to allow them to stay. Within minutes, we were out of the clinic and walking along the beach, white sand between our toes and lunch being ordered.

And just like that, our family was changed forever.

You see, we always have a choice. No matter how many valleys you are taken through, no matter how many roadblocks you encounter, you have the choice as to how you are going to respond to them. We cannot control when and if God answers the cries of our hearts. But we can control who we choose to believe and how we choose to see Him while we are crying out.

From the moment those embryos were in my womb, we chose to believe that they were ours, and they would stay ours.

For the next week, we stood in faith. Every day and every night, we prayed for and sang over and stood in faith for the babies to implant deep into my uterine wall. It was out of our hands, but it was in God’s. Arundel laid hands on my stomach every day, talking to them and praying for their growth and safety. Our hearts were all-in, head over heels, given to this process. It was scary. It did not come easy, and I was constantly battling the fear and negativity that was wanting to creep into those unknown days of waiting. But that was not who God had called us to be — He has called us his children, full of faith and His Spirit, whom He loves. When I reminded myself of whose I was, I was able to stand stronger in who I was made to be.

We were supposed to wait until Wednesday, 12 days after the transfer, to take our first test.

There was no way we could wait that long.

We decided that we would take an at-home test for the first time 7 days after the transfer. We knew that it might be too early to get a good result, but we decided that if we got a negative, we would just ignore it and be patient for a few more days. But, if we got a positive — well, that’s a positive!

We woke up Friday morning, opened the curtains, and all we saw were huge snowflakes falling all around us. It was not supposed to snow that morning, but here they were, reminding us of the two little “snowflake babies” we had put into my womb 7 days prior. This made us even more excited to take a test!

With Arundel by my side, I took the test and set it down on the bathroom counter. We covered it up while we waited the mandatory three minutes until it was ready to be read. We prayed, held each other, and bounced around with nervousness. After the three minutes, we took off the cover and looked at the test.

TWO. PINK. LINES.

TWO. LINES.

I immediately saw it and knew what it meant — we were pregnant! I started laughing and jumping up and down and hyperventilating — not really knowing how to respond! Arundel just had to stare at it for a few more seconds, completely in shock that it was actually positive!

After five and a half years of waiting for this moment, it was finally here. It felt so full of joy and life and happiness — as if everything we had walked through with the Lord had been for this moment.

We were ecstatic, and still are. We spent the next few days continuing to take at-home pregnancy tests, and continuing to see a positive result. We shared the news with our parents, close family and friends over the next week. We tried to get in touch with everyone that has been praying for us, standing with us, and supporting us over the last five years. We were celebrating with them all, one by one, as we recounted the amazing testament of God’s goodness and faithfulness to us. Each one of them — each one of you — are a part of that story, which is something we are so grateful for.

We have never felt more needy, more vulnerable, or more in debt to the community around us more than the lowest moments on this journey to finding our children. We have also never felt more supported, loved, and cared for than the times when we have opened up to those in our lives. Each and every one of you have been the hands and feet and mouthpieces of Jesus to hold us up when we didn’t think we could go any further. This has been the most difficult thing we have walked through in life so far, and yet we have come out of it closer to Jesus and closer to each other than ever before. There are some things you just can’t learn from any old book. For this, we are so thankful.

It was not any of our efforts or spirituality that have allowed us to stay close to God during this long trial. If it had been up to what we could do, we would have fallen far away long ago. It has and will continue to be His pure, unbridled grace towards us to always show His faithfulness when we look to Him. If you feel like you can’t find His faithfulness or grace in the midst of trials great or small, know that all you have to do is look to Him and give your heart room to trust Him. He will not let you down.

We are still in the very early days of pregnancy — the ones that everyone gets scared of. We don’t know what will happen in the next few weeks, but we know that as of tomorrow, I am five weeks pregnant. For this, we celebrate, and we stand in faith that we will continue to see growth and health in these babies.

We will find out in two weeks whether we have one or two little ones growing inside me — and will be eternally grateful to God for whatever He has given us!

Let it be known that God is good and faithful and true.

Jane