Disclaimer: This story mentions infertility and may be triggering to some.
“‘She is now an heir to your family, as if born unto you,’ our lawyer said. We are on her birth certificate; she has our name; she is now a branch in our family tree!!
Hope. There was a very long season in my life when I despised that word. I refused even to use it in sentences. I remember in the beginning of losing my hope, a good friend tried to encourage me, telling me if I didn’t have hope she was going to have it for me. So I let her have it—I didn’t want it. It was too painful to hope, when my husband and I would try and try and try to start a family and dead ends met us at every turn. Like one of those maze puzzles with only one way to get through, and you have to figure out how to navigate it.
I finally was understanding what the Bible was talking about when it referred to, ‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick.’ Well, I certainly was becoming sick. Sick with depression and bitterness. Which, in turn, just stole my joy of the life right in front of me. I don’t remember the exact day or moment I became OK with the thought and idea of being at peace if I never had children, but I do remember after our third attempt to adopt a child, getting the phone call in the middle of the night that the birth mama had lost the baby. I cried my heart and lungs out on my hotel bed with my husband, and then we heard a songbird just outside our window in the dead of the night, literally and figuratively.
It became an anthem, almost. I decided soon after, though I still despised the word hope, I would get it tattooed on my back to be a reminder it was still there, even if I could not feel it or see it. When we knew it was going to be difficult to become pregnant, whether it was due to my body mysteriously not allowing us to carry or the fact my husband had testicular cancer in his mid-20s, we decided to focus on the adoption route. We looked into adopting refugee children, and after all the time and energy we spent, it sadly became a dead end for us.
Then we turned to international adoption. We began all the initial paperwork, filling out all sorts of forms and answering all the questions. We sent it in and waited, while dreaming of what it would be like, receiving a child we could love as our own. We finally received a response: ‘Due to the fact your husband had testicular cancer, it is a risk to continue. He needs to be ten years in remission in order to continue the process.’ Well, we were only at year seven. It was a punch in the gut and like pouring salt in the wound for both of us, and basically knocked the wind out of our sails.
So we put our noses to the grindstone and buried ourselves into work and adventuring together. I began pursuing life—whatever was in front of me. We both did. My husband, Roy, and I packed up our lives and moved to Florida from our home in Seattle, Washington, for a new job opportunity, and whatever else was on the horizon for us. I am not going to say it became all rainbows and butterflies, because it didn’t. It still was hard. There was still this deep, deep ache and question of ‘why,’ and a yearning to become a mama.
But I began believing the best—and yes, I guess you could say hoping again. Not for what my husband and I wanted, but what our God wanted for us. Because we believed God placed desire in both mine and my husband’s heart at an early age. I trusted if God had created me, then he knew me best and knew what the best was for me and my life. I gave my deep desire to be a mama to him and trusted. Plain and simple. I trusted him if he chose not to make us parents and I trusted him if he did choose it for us one day. But I knew I’d be OK no matter what.
Backing up about seventeen years ago. May I tell you a story? I don’t believe in luck, I believe in divine promises and miracles. I believe there are no coincidences, so I don’t believe in luck. Roy and I have believed this our entire relationship the past nineteen years, starting with how we first met as strangers in a city park. For some reason, since we first married, Roy has noticed 11:11 a.m. and p.m. almost daily. We have gotten in the fun little habit every time we see it to call out, ’11:11!’ or text each other, ’11:11.’
It has become a message to each other, saying, ‘I love you, thinking about you.’ Several years ago, my brother-in-law had been praying for us, and the verse Hebrews 11:11 came to him for us: ‘It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise.’ We held on to this promise very close to our hearts and found peace for whatever God had for our future, however it would look.
Jumping forward to the day our daughter was born—October 18, 2018! Waiting anxiously in the waiting room of the hospital as we received text updates from our lawyer, I grew more and more nervous and excited. I kept looking at my phone for updates. I checked the time at one point and it was 10:58 a.m. I looked up with sheer wonder and excitement in my eyes and said to my family and friends, ‘Guys! Wouldn’t it be so cool of God to allow Nevaeh to be born at 11:11 a.m.?!?!’ Excitement in the room burst through the roof at this incredible idea.
As the time on my iPhone turned to 11:11 a.m., we all fell silent in thought and prayer. I kept praying, ‘God let it be, let it be.’ I looked at the time again and it was 11:12. Several seconds later, we received a flood of texted pictures of our baby girl, with the announcement she had been born at 11:11!!! Coincidence and luck? I think not! Without a shadow of doubt, this was God’s wink to us telling us, ‘She is yours, this is MY promise and gift to you.’ NEVAEH: who was sent from heaven. ESTHER: born at such a time as this. HOPE: bringing hope and life. Hope can come back. Hope will come back. Hope does come back, and if you don’t have hope right now, let me have it FOR you until you find it again.
But wait! The story doesn’t stop here! When Nevaeh was four months old, we found out she was going to be a big sister! And exactly one year and eleven days after Nevaeh was born, we welcomed biological baby sister Nyah Elizabeth Jean! Our beautiful Nyah’s name means ‘purpose’ in Hebrew. Because we believe she was chosen for a purpose at such a time as this. Another wink from God giving us a double blessing. Miracles do happen. And God does keep His promises.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Loree Rowland. You can follow their journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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‘Any chance you’re interested in adopting a redhead?’ We went from 0 to 3 kids. Two weeks later, we were pregnant.’: Couple battling infertility become parents to 10 after miracle pregnancies, adoption
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