Editor's note: This is part of series of stories about adoption. Other stories about domestic adoption are available here and here . Stories about international adoption can be read here , here , and here .
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--My 11-month-old son Graham is saying "da-da" now.
Actually, it's more like "da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da," and he rarely says it when looking at me, but I'm not complaining. I'm just enjoying the moment.
He says it when he's going to sleep, when he's waking up, when he's playing. I'm not even sure he knows what it means, but that's OK. Soon enough, he'll figure it all out.
I've seen him grow a lot since that night he was born nearly one year ago, 38 minutes past midnight. I was there in the delivery room, holding my wife Julie's hand, as together we stood on one side of the room and watched Graham take his first breath and voice his first cry. You see, Graham isn't our biological son. My wife and I adopted him the day after he was born, some nine months after Graham's birth mother learned she was pregnant and wondered what she would do. Unable to provide for him -- and unwilling to consider an abortion -- she began exploring other options. That's where we entered the picture.
We had had a strong desire to be parents but had struggled with three years of infertility, and the doctors couldn't point to any one specific reason as to why. All of our friends, it seemed, were pregnant. Our low point emotionally came during the summer of 2007, when during a vacation to Maine we thought we finally might be expecting. For a few days, our sightseeing was a bit more exciting than usual. Our meals were more exciting, too. How crazy, I thought at the time, would it be to find out we were pregnant, more than a thousand miles from home? Yet the day before our flight home, we learned we weren't. We sat together on the edge of our hotel bed, held one another and cried. And sobbed.
Little did we know that at that very moment, our son had already been conceived here in the U.S., and was waiting -- through the providential hand of God -- for us to learn about him and his birth mom.
I don't know all the reasons why God allowed us to walk through infertility, but I'm glad He did. If not for infertility, we wouldn't have Graham. And Graham, even though his genes are different from mine, is the baby I always wanted. Why would I trade Graham -- the son I love more than my own life -- for a baby who has my own genes and my own blood? My wife and I aren't royalty, desiring to continue a pointless bloodline. Our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20), where bloodlines are meaningless anyway. Graham is our son, and we wouldn't want it any other way. He is "our own."
Last night, I gave Graham a bath. (Baths and bedtime are my responsibility in our house.) Graham and I did what we do every night: I ran the bath water, and he, still sitting on the floor in his diaper, excitedly pulled up on the edge of the tub, wanting to see the action. Once in the tub, we got the scrubbing and the cleaning out of the way early so that we would have time to play. On this night, he chewed on his favorite toy, a red plastic teething circle -- he has five teeth with a sixth one coming through -- and also splashed his little hands and arms in the water. I put my hand in the tub and splashed along with him, which may sound crazy to some moms, but Graham thinks it's funny and I enjoy it. I then dried him off, put his long-sleeve blue pajamas on him and took him to his bedroom to help him wind down for bed.
Once in his room -- and after he had said goodnight to Mommy -- I read him a short story from his Bible toddler board book, which, as usual, he tried to grab and chew. Finally, I gave him his final bottle of the day, shared the Gospel with him, told him that I loved him and that I wouldn't trade him for any baby in the world, kissed him and placed him gently in his crib. Somewhere during all of that, he smiled and kissed me, too.
Thanks to the healing power of God -- and a wonderful gift named Graham -- I no longer have that burning desire to have biological children. If God gives us a biological child, I'd be thrilled, but if He doesn't, that's OK.
Sure, pregnancy and biological children are a wonderful blessing, but adoption is, too. After all, Scripture tells us that every believer was adopted by God (Romans 8:15, Ephesians 1:5).
During our battle with infertility, I remember pondering the same question that many infertile couples consider: Will I love an adopted child as much as I would a biological one? The simple answer was yes. In fact, we hope to adopt again in the near future.
Perhaps God took us through infertility to encourage other couples struggling with the same issue. Today's fertility treatments often present infertile couples with multiple unethical options. Thankfully, we studied all of those options early during our battle, and never crossed that ethical line we had drawn -- for instance, we ruled out IVF -- even when tempted. We didn't "try everything."
Perhaps God guided us through infertility to help couples who are considering adoption, which is expensive, time-consuming and full of its own emotional trials, but worth it. I had always had a heart for adoption, but infertility made it a reality sooner than I envisioned.
Graham will grow up knowing he is adopted. He'll know that his birth mom loved him so much that she gave him not only life, but a better life. He'll grow up riding bikes with his Mommy, throwing the football with his Daddy, and hopefully playing outside with a brother or sister.
By then, he'll know not to chew on books. And he'll know that I'm his "da-da."
Michael Foust is an assistant editor of Baptist Press.