Posted by: rcwriter | November 13, 2008

Linda’s Adoption Road


November is National Adoption Month, and November 15th, is National Adoption Day. Our featured author Linda Leigh Hargrove is an adoptive mother. Here’s her story.

A Familiar Darkness
Darkness was my best friend in 1997. I started each day crying quietly behind the closed doors of my walk-in closet. There was a deep comfort there – comfort that I didn’t get in my flesh-and-blood friends, not even in my sweet husband. Wrapped in darkness, I could sit and cry and nobody judged me or scolded me for my lack of faith that God would ever bless me with a child.

I was in my second year working as an environmental engineer for the state. It was a position that required a lot of concentration as I interacted with local, state, and federal environmentalists. I liked the job for that reason. When I was there I could lose myself in work and pretend the emptiness didn’t exist. Submitting forms in triplicate was a great distraction from the deep sadness that loomed inside me. But when I got home it was a different matter.

Shadows of Doubt
At home, my husband and I talked about my sadness. More realistically, he did most of the talking. I just wanted the hurt to end; I wanted to be happy again. But I didn’t know how to stop the pain. ‘I trust God,’ I would tell my husband. And truly I did trust the Lord to provide for us, to answer our prayers. It was just so hard to wait. To see test after test come back with bad news. To have no one that understood.

My Christian friends would hug me and give me scriptures. ‘They mean well,’ my husband would say. Many people prayed over me. But no one seemed to really care about my pain. What would my pregnant friends think of me if I told them I was disgusted by their baby news? Christians didn’t talk like that.

I doubted my friends—they were all treating me like an unbeliever. I doubted God—He didn’t seem to know me either. I had come from a very large family. Babies always bouncing on somebody’s hip. I came to Christ in college and stayed true to my vow of purity. When I married at 25, I was a virgin, for goodness sake. Why was God punishing me with infertility? I asked God countless times, ‘Why me?’ I couldn’t take the pain, the disappointment.

Around August, I had a laparoscopy and was finally diagnosed with endometriosis. My spare moments were spent on the Internet searching for answers. All my doctor wanted to talk about was using special drugs and performing in vitro. I didn’t want that, especially with all the national news of women having multiple births. My husband was pursing his doctorate. All we had was my modest salary.

So I scoured the web for information and solace. My knowledge broadened as I read about my disease and its treatments. But my heart sank further as I read about all the other women like me lost in grief and suffering – sitting in the dark. There was so much anger and hurt in their words. They seemed lost in a desperate pursuit of pregnancy. I didn’t need more of that. I needed help.

Light Through the Tunnel
Help came in the form of a box of candy hearts. My husband and I were in a drug store shortly after Christmas, standing in line to buy a digital basal thermometer. I’d grown weary of my ‘regular’ basal thermometer. As I stood there thinking about my predicament, I started crying. Not just a few drops but rivers coursing down my cheeks. I couldn’t stop it. And then my husband left. Oh, great, I thought, he’s had enough of me.

But then a funny thing happened, he came back with a box of candy hearts. ‘I love you,’ he said. In that simple gesture I felt that someone had come inside my pain with me and genuinely hugged me. Not judged me for my weak faith but come with comfort and cheer. Finally someone understood.

That digital basal thermometer hadn’t transformed my life. It made it easier to record my temperature in the morning but I still didn’t have a child. No, that thermometer wasn’t a magic wand but that delightful moment in the drugstore turned my thinking around. It freed me to consider other ways of parenting. Adoption became our answer.

Walking in the Sunshine
We wanted an infant. Typically infant adoption takes months, years. Our little son came to us in less than a month. We had the good fortune of not only meeting with his birthmother several times but taking her to the hospital when she went into labor. I became her impromptu birthing coach. I’m not sure who was more scared – me or her.

During the first few months of our first child’s life I began to feel new life again. I started a personal Bible study of the return of the children of Israel from exile. Jeremiah 31:4 struck a chord. God would build be up again. I was returning from a faraway place and being restored to my former self. I could feel the sun shining on me again. The dark clouds had blown away.

We have gone on to adopt two other boys. Those two placements have not been so easy, but they’ve been worth it when I consider the alternate life for them. Sometimes it’s hard for my children to understand adoption. ‘Why couldn’t I stay with my first mommy? That’s a question I answer a lot. We talk a lot about being a family and work hard at bonding. I think it makes us all stronger. I like to think of us as being an on-purpose family. God purposed us to be together. He will perform His will in our lives individually and corporately in a mighty way in the years to come. I’m sure of it.

In 1996 I started writing a story for several racial reconciliation discussion groups my husband and I were leading. Then the 1997 darkness took over my life and the story got shelved. In 1999 I picked it up again and transformed it into a novel about a young biracial man searching for his birthparents. It had found new life because of the transformations God had brought to my life and the lives of my boys. In 2007 the book, The Making of Isaac Hunt, was published by Moody Publishers. I dedicated it to my three boys. It is my prayer that they know who they are, and whose they are, and that their darkest days will point them to the light of Christ.

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