I was given the blessing of growing up in a family that is passionately pro-life. I grew up knowing that contraception was not permitted for faithful Catholics and I always intended to use Natural Family Planning when I got married. I thought that I was as open to life as one could get. But, God always knows better. He knows how to stretch a person and draw them deeper into his magnificent plan. Over the course of the past few years, God has given me a completely new perspective on the inestimable value of life and the importance of being open to life no matter what.
Before my husband and I got married, we were trained in Natural Family Planning. We had thoroughly discussed our plan for a family, the bigger the better. By the time we were wed, we thought that we were ready for whatever family God was ready to give us. Of course, we were wrong. What we had never discussed was, what if God’s plan for us is struggling with infertility, losing our only pregnancy at 12 weeks, and ultimately being unsure if we would ever have a biological child? Well, that plan, even though it has turned out to be a strange blessing, we never considered, not once.
After struggling with infertility for two years, seeking help from Creighton and NaPro, achieving a pregnancy, and suffering a miscarriage, we knew that God was calling us to grow our family in a somewhat unconventional manner. We had always been open to the idea of adoption. Our plan was to have a nice large Catholic family that could fill and pew and then add a few more by adoption. Clearly, this was not His plan. Thus, in March 2011, we began the adoption process.
Throughout the adoption process, God taught me quite a few lessons. One of the more important being the value of life. As we went through this process, I began to think about all the women who were, for whatever reason, terminating their pregnancy. But even more, I thought about the babies who were being killed through abortion. That loss of life pained me in a unique way because here I was praying desperately for a baby and across town, innocent babies were dying needlessly. I realized that each baby that died could have been my child if only the birthmother chosen life and adoption for the baby instead of abortion. This realization drew me deeper into prayer as I considered that the birthmother of the child I would lovingly raise might be considering abortion at that very minute.
Another lesson that God taught me was that being open to life and open to His plan does not just mean using NFP or avoiding contraception. Rather, God asks all of us to be open to whatever plan for life He might have. For many couples, this will be lovingly embracing a large boisterous Catholic family. For some couples, this will mean silently suffering the cross of infertility, all the while shouting on the rooftops the importance of every human life. For still other couples, this will mean opening your heart and home to a child whom, while borne by another woman, is very much your own. God simply asks us to have an open listening heart to all the plans He has for us.
While the lessons I learned through this process could go on and on, I will leave you with one final thought. God’s plans for our lives are much grander and more magnificent than we could ever hope! Read that last line again and believe it. God taught me this lesson when, only three months after our initial meeting with Catholic Charities Adoption, our (adopted) daughter was born. We now have a beautiful 10 month old little girl who is more than anything we could have ever dreamed. My plan now seems very mundane and simplistic when compared to God’s wonderful plan for bringing our daughter to us. Through the lens of time, I can now see that everything I experienced with infertility and miscarriage was preparing my heart for the perfect plan He had written just for me. What could be better than that!
Danielle Abril is a stay at home mom to her darling 10-month old daughter. She blogs about cloth diapering and being a mother at http://www.clothdiapertales.com.