Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Lessons from Mary and Joseph

I keep thinking I need to sit down and write, yet it’s that time of year when sitting down to do anything is laughable. Christmastime is go-go-go-go. Next to August, it’s my second least favorite time of the year, mainly for that reason. Call me Scrooge, but the holiday drain on both the bank account and my energy (and sometimes emotional health) as well is less than holly-jolly. I don’t like to hear of the virgin birth (because, let me be real for a second, He’s powerful enough to mysteriously impregnate a virgin, and yet our infertility?) because it’s a reminder of that “‘round yon virgin, mother and child” snugly-baby-feeling I may never feel. It hurts. I know, I know. I’m missing the point. I try not to dawdle here. To seek the joy of Christmas, I focus on the other important details of the story of Jesus’s birth - Joseph’s stepping up to the task to be the dad he didn’t have to be, sticking beside this unwed mother, painting a picture of adoption for us all, and Mary was probably none too excited to be expecting - think of the fate of a unwed mother in her day, her fiance’s likely reaction… so it’s not like she signed up for this (imagine Mary pulling a Katniss move - I volunteer as tribute!), so she too probably felt what it’s like to have God lead you down a road you don’t want to trod, to have a fate you wouldn’t have chosen.

These realities help me get over the cutsy-wiggling-baby in a manger trope we see around Christmas. It probably wasn’t sweet and adorable. It was a manger, a barn. It likely stank and I bet Mary looked and felt like the refugee she basically was. It was beyond humble for the King. I But this year is extra hard to look beyond the commercialized manger scene. See, every Christmas since we began hoping to start a family (and even before) there was hope. Hope of pregnancy and babies and birth and somedays. Not so much anymore. Our tests have come back, and Baby Wilson number 6 was yet another little boy, perfectly genetically normal, who should have grown and lived. My doctor’s office has said they’ve done everything they can to help be sustain a pregnancy but my autoimmune disorders are too complex to fix and my only possibility of biological children is through surrogacy. Jake and I have prayed, thought, discussed, and dissected the idea of surrogacy and it’s simply not an option for us. BCBS health insurance in NC for teachers doesn’t cover IVF ($24,000) and furthermore, we have no biological family members who are candidates to carry for us. So add to that the prenatal care and surrogacy fee (up to $50,000) *if* we were to find a carrier, and then, the state of NC requires the baby be adopted as the legal parent is the person who births the child regardless of who’s DNA is involved, so add to that at legal fees ($5000 or more). We’re talking $75,000 dollars or more that we don’t have. All this, for a child I can’t carry or birth or feel kick, just because he or she has our DNA? Granted, I want to know who’s nose s/he’d have, I want that strawberry red hair… but none of that is necessary for my love. None of that is necessary for a family. Love makes a family. Heck, DNA isn’t even necessary - Makinzy looks like my little twin most days, opens her mouth, and my words tumble out, and she runs and acts and misbehaves like a little version of her nerdy goober Daddy. Her smart mouth preteen sass? All me. Her mannerisms, style, and silliness? Me. Everyone knows, everyone can SEE, she’s ours. So is it worth the cost, the risk, the hassle? No. Not when we know there are many other kids out there - and somewhere out there is a child meant for us. There is that hope that I long for.

That hope, though, doesn’t negate the grief of Baby #6, of his little life and who he would have been. It doesn’t negate the loss of his brothers and sisters before him. It doesn’t negate the pain Jake and I feel when people carelessly talk about pregnancy and breastfeeding and maternity leave and all that in front of us without stopping to notice the pained look in our face. It doesn’t stop the loss of the experience of pregnancy, labor, delivery, birth. The lack of something to contribute when women compare their stretch marks or when they started showing or which baby gave them the most morning sickness or caused the most painful contractions…  
Subsequently, we are grieving this Christmas. Like how the death of a loved one leaves a scar overtime (like a pain that subsides, but always remains in a dull ache), so too I imagine this loss will linger throughout our lives. Part of me thinks, well, look what God did through Mary - He impregnated this young virgin girl - why can’t He make a miracle within me? But, I know He probably won’t. I can’t live my life in this expectant hope for what He just might not choose to do. I can’t let that need for a miracle hover over me like a fog. I have to move forward and accept (like Mary) a difficult road I didn’t choose. Like Joseph, I am called for a purpose to love a child who did not come from me but from Him. I’m not going to live my life waiting in line hoping He shows up, I’m getting up and finding him. Following Him. Running after Him in obedience.

We’re adopting again. In 2016, expect fundraisers, prayer requests, and for God to move mountains to build our family. He shut a door, and I don’t like being told no. But this Christmas, in the midst of my grief, I find inspiration in Mary and Joseph’s obedience to take the difficult path and accept the road He wants us to travel. And to think, what came of Mary and Joseph’s difficult path? A Savior, a plan, a purpose fulfilled. The greatest gift of Christmas.

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. - John 1:14