We suppose it's only appropriate, on our journey of life, to share something of our story of infertility. We have always wanted children and looked forward to the possibility of getting pregnant right away after we got married, even though Shawn was still in college. Kim told Shawn she wanted "more than 5 and less then 12" children, so we knew that we shouldn't wait! When we were dating, we studied together every Sunday from an Institute Manual called "Achieving a Celestial Marriage." From the beginning we were planning to make our marriage last forever, and, for us, that meant starting with a solid foundation. Studying the lessons together allowed us to have some frank discussions about our plans as husband and wife and also as parents, as we talked about many issues: education, discipline, resolving disagreements, and so forth. It never really entered our minds that we wouldn't be able to conceive.
We did know that we might have to see a doctor eventually because Kim had been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), which is a hormone imbalance that 10% of all women have. It's not a serious condition and can be controlled via some medications, but Kim was able to control it on her own by losing a little weight, because weight-gain was a side-affect and increased the symptoms of the PCOS. While she was working on losing weight, her doctor put her on a common fertility drug to increase the odds of conceiving in the meantime. Kim responded really well to the fertility treatment, and her doctor also had her tested to make sure that her fallopian tubes were not blocked. One tube was blocked, but it was not considered to be a major impediment.
Kim's doctor encouraged them to have Shawn tested as well. Six days after our fifth anniversary, our doctor contacted us with the results of the test and, basically told us we should begin looking into adoption because we would not be able to conceive on our own. Needless to say, that was a very hard day for us. Kim left work and came home and we cried together on the couch for quite a while. While we had always planned on adopting a child, we had also planned on being able to conceive on our own, too - and having all of the joy that comes with expecting a baby. What made it even more difficult was each of Kim's siblings announced or had a baby that year.
We didn't apply for adoption right away because we went to a specialist for a second opinion. Hearing the words "unexplained infertility" is still really hard. If there was a cause, or a known problem, it might be easier to bear. But when the second opinion came through, confirming the original test, we knew we would need to move forward with adoption.
As we mentioned in our Letter to Birth Parents, we have always planned to adopt. Both Shawn and Kim have family members who were adopted, and we always knew that it was right for us, too. However, it's a difficult thing to know that our ability to have children is entirely dependent on other people, and that we will never know the joys (and difficulties) of pregnancy and childbirth.
Through the Holy Spirit, priesthood blessings we have received, and assurances of our Patriarchal Blessings, we know that we will be parents. The hardest part is the wait. Every day we wonder when it will happen, when we will be chosen. We recently heard a statistic at an adoption conference that for every child being placed for adoption, there are 80 waiting families. That made us really feel for the families that have been waiting longer than we have, and also helped us know that we will likely have to be very patient.
Some days are hard, some days aren't. There are days when infertility is something only in the back of our minds and other days when it is all we can think about. It's the surprising things that really get to us and prick our hearts. Friends and family announcing new pregnancies or births doesn't hurt as much as it used to (it still does a little), but seeing a child mistreated or neglected just kills us. Sometimes just seeing a tender moment between a parent and child pulls at our hearts because our arms remain empty and we have so much love to share.
Our nephews and nieces have been a big comfort to us. It's so wonderful getting to play and cuddle with them - and to know how much they love us. One night we were over at a relative's house, and our nephew was ready for bed (he is 2). For some reason, that night, he wanted "Imm" (he couldn't say his K's yet) to put him to bed. His routine includes snuggling together in the rocking chair with both blankies (one of which Kim knitted for him) and his toy puppy. Then you have to sing to him. He has a few songs, in particular, that must be sung: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star; ABCs; Popcorn Popping; and The Itsy, Bitsy Spider - and in the order he selects. Sometimes he also requests The Wise Man and the Foolish Man. It was so tender and just made us both grateful that he lives so close and increased our longing for our own children.
So, we move forward day by day and take this part of our journey one step at a time, always grateful that we are hand-in-hand together. This journey would be so much more difficult if we didn't have each other. We really support one another and comfort each other through the rough times. We are also very grateful for family and friends who are always there for us and who keep their eyes and ears open just in case they can introduce us to our future baby.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read our story. It's a hard one to write, but we appreciate your willingness to read it. If you have questions, or want to contact us, please feel free to do so.
-Shawn and Kim