Some people have said that we are resilient. That we have persisted, and held on to hope.
The truth is … Last year at this time I was ready to call it quits. I asked Ryan for a vasectomy. He said, “I don’t think we’re done.” I told him my body had already made the decision for us.
After 5 losses — none of which seemed to have any underlying issues we could treat — the idea of trying again seemed ridiculous.
But I thought back to the years he was willing to try to conceive — against his own fear — just for me. I didn’t want him to ever resent me for saying no. And so, a few weeks later, I agreed to not start birth control again, and we would just see.
Before Ryan and I had this conversation, I had recently attended IF:Gathering (a conference for Christian women). It was both amazing and brutal. Z had recently left, and I swore I wore my beat-up, broken heart right on my sleeve.
At the end of the conference, we had to pull out a domino from a hat, and write on the back of it a decision we were going to make for God. (Signifying that when we each do the one thing we are called to do, it creates a domino effect that only God could orchestrate.)
On my domino, I had two dots across one side, and on the other side, it was blank.
Instantly the blank side looked like the hole Z had just left in our family, and the two dots represented my girls.
All weekend long, I felt God was telling me, “Keep your home and your heart open … I have another child to fill that space.”
For God, the space wasn’t emptiness as I saw it, but an opportunity for us to love another child.
I wrestled and wrestled with God all weekend. I assumed He wanted us to keep Z’s space open for another foster child. But I didn’t know how I would ever return a child home again. Or even open myself up to the possibility.
But God won me over that weekend, and I committed publicly that I would remain open to whatever child He had planned, whether that was to keep a child through adoption, or return them through foster care. What I never even considered was that God had something different — someone different — in mind.
Just weeks later, we found out we were pregnant with Eleanor.
Eleanor means “a bright, shining light” … And that is exactly what she has been through this year following the return home of Z and multiple losses. She is a light in what could have been a season of darkness.
“Grace” means the unmerited favor of God.
Medically, we have no idea why she stuck around, and not our other babies. But, I believe in God and I believe in miracles.
And I believe that while God never owed us anything following our losses or Z’s return … he did choose to show us unearned, unmerited favor. He chose to give us Grace.
So this is our baby. Our sweet gift from God, shining such hope and light into our world.