I love to knit. I love to knit because what starts out as one unremarkable knot on a stick eventually---with diligence and patience---becomes something useful---a dishrag, a scarf, a hat, a shawl, a blanket.....but really--the most satisfying part of knitting isn't completing a project---as the many half-finished projects languishing around my house can firmly attest to---it is the transformation. It is watching order emerge from what usually begins as something incomprehensible. Two rows of a lace pattern---when you stop and look at your work-- all you can think is---how did I fumble this up? It doesn't make any sense---it isn't nearly as pretty as the pictures I've seen...it's more like a tangled mess than anything else. But then you continue, you trust the pattern---and after some time...if you haven't in fact fumbled something up....order emerges....sometimes even something beautiful begins to take shape. It's that moment that I love. That little epiphany. I find that moment often in my profession as a music teacher as well. That moment between the first rehearsal and the final performance. The final performance---with the audience, the costumes, the set fully in place, the excitement of the children----some might think that's where I'd find the most satisfaction. But it's not---the satisfaction I find in my job lies in the moments between that first awful rehearsal when everything goes wrong and that final performance where everything has come together: watching relationships form between the children, being privy to the times when they discover that what they once thought was impossible is possible---that they are capable of more than they realize. That's really where I find my happiness--my peace.
Infertility sucks. I'll make no bones about it. It's a long, hard road littered with tears, disappointment, fear, and more unpleasant emotions swirling together than you could ever hope to name. The treatments one undergoes when combatting infertility are always expensive, sometimes painful, usually humiliating---and in our case---ultimately ineffective. The disappointment one feels at the end of each unsuccessful cycle is by far the worst part---worse than the injections and side effects, worse than the embarrassment of personal questions and dreadful procedures and tests.....the disappointment is devastating. There are people who will say, "Why don't you just adopt?" The truth is no one "just" adopts. Adoption is a long, rigorous, heart-wrenching, expensive process itself. There is no "just" about it. And when one pursues adoption after battling infertility---I believe that one's heart has to experience its own transformation. A couple must grieve for the biological children that they will probably never have. A couple must decide if adoption is right for them----and making that decision forces one to honestly confront the expectations that couple will have of being adoptive parents. It's not simple---in theory, in practice, or on paper.
After two years of fertility treatments---Stuart and I have decided that God is calling us to adopt. I think that God has been telling us this for a long time---but that we didn't want to hear it. I suppose we could have saved ourselves a lot of money and sorrow had we listened to Him in the first place----but I don't know....looking back on the road that lies between battling infertility with modern medicine and opening one's heart to adoption---I don't think I'd trade the past two years for a smoother passage. Flashes of images often cross my mind when it is idle: Stuart, holding my hand when I'm vulnerable; Stuart cracking jokes about the uterus x-ray which was ALWAYS on display in the doctor's office (and it wasn't even my uterus by the way, mine was never quite that famous) We never could fathom why it was always there since my uterus was fine and dandy thank you very much. Stuart liked to recall an episode of 30 rock where Dr. Spaceman (pronounced Spa-cheh-man---for any non 30 rockers out there) posed thoughtfully in front of an x-ray before pondering aloud: "Now where did I leave my car keys?" Stuart---being kind and strong---despite the fact that everything we went through was just as hard for him as it was for me. I wouldn't trade that time---though if one judges an experience from its outcome---that time was spent in vain. But I like knitting---and I like teaching music to elementary school kids----and I like those things because I value transformation---whether it be transforming yarn into scarves, or sour notes and disjointed rhythms into song----or hearts which are stubborn and hard into hearts which can accept the beautiful plan that God has for our lives---even if it isn't what we expected.
Yesterday, Stuart and I filled out the preliminary adoption papers. I feel as if this is one knot on the stick. I wonder what kind of beauty will emerge. The nice thing is that I have no pattern to fumble; I am not dependent on my clumsy fingers; I am dependent only on God---the one who wrote the pattern to begin with. That realization can sometimes be scary (teachers like to be in control)----but when I have my head on straight---and when I allow my heart to be fashioned in its rightful shape----I understand that the plans of God are not the plans of men---and that is an exceedingly good thing.