I have to preface my story by saying that I will speak often about God and his miracles. Each one of my children was indeed “A miracle”. But one thing you must know is that I haven’t always been a strong member of my faith. I struggled so much as a teenager, I rarely attended church, and I’ve made so many mistakes in my life. Finding my way back to God was also a miracle which makes my story that much sweeter. I hope it can help and inspire any of you that read it.
I was married in 1996 at the age of 21. My husband and I tried to get pregnant for 4 long years. Each month came and went and my hope turned into frustration then disappointment, then utter despair. I prayed often during those difficult years, but my prayers of becoming a mother were not being answered. I became angry with God and started to lose faith completely.
At the time I didn’t understand, but He had a plan for me, a big plan. I was being refined. I was also learning patience, humility and compassion. These were qualities that I needed to learn. They would become gifts that would help me tremendously in the future.
In the year 2000 after dozens of doctors visits and several procedures, I was diagnosed with stage four endometriosis. This is not only a very painful disease, but it was causing my infertility. I was grateful for answers, but I still needed guidance. What was next? How do I become a mother? It was such a difficult time in my life.
I remember the day vividly, it was a beautiful spring day in May of that same year. The following day was Mother’s Day. This day was like torture. All the mom’s at church would receive a flower or some special gift. They would feel sorry for me and give me one anyway, but I had really come to hate that day.
I was at the point where I needed answers, I got down on my knees and poured my heart out to my Father in Heaven. I thanked God for all of my blessings and sincerely asked for His help, but added that I would follow His will for me, whatever that may be. When I finished my prayer I was sobbing. I waited in silence and then I felt it. The most comforting, warm and peaceful feeling came over me. It was amazing and something I will never forget.
I didn’t know how, but I knew everything would be okay. The power of prayer is very really and over the course of the next 2 years, 3 babies came to our family through the miracle of adoption. Two of my children were born and I had one days notice before I got to bring them home. Our third child came to us through my doctor who had shown a letter I had written to his birth mother.
Each baby was a miracle and I consider each of their birth mom’s my angel’s on this earth. God had his hand in everything that happened during this miraculous time in my life. He inspired several people during those years in getting each one of my babies where they needed to be.
Three years later, another miracle happened and we were approved for a grant that allowed me to do I.V.F (in-vitro fertilization) for a very minimal cost. I gave birth to twins in 2005. Having 5 babies under the age of 6 was tough and trying at times, but those things I had learned through my years of infertility made it easier.
Sadly, my first marriage ended in divorce and I was a single mom for a year and a half. My oldest child was 7 and my babies were 2. I prayed often to find a man who would not only love me, but also love my 5 children. I met my amazing husband online of all places. He lived 2 states away and he had 3 beautiful children. He was the one I’d been praying for. In July of 2008, we were married. We blended 8 kids and began a wild adventure.
Okay now let’s be real, second marriages are tricky especially with that many children. We have definitely had our share of tough times, but it has also been a tremendous blessing. We are going on 12 years together and I feel so grateful for my beautiful imperfect life.
What was the hardest thing you went through during this time?
I think the hardest thing for me was having patience and learning to trust God. I had a tough childhood. My parents divorced when I was 10 and I felt like I was always put in the middle. I was a very angry teenager and I learned that I could only rely on myself. I started working at age 14. I bought my own clothes and paid for my own expenses. So “allowing” God to help me and being humble enough to ask for his help was tough, but that became key in becoming a mother.
What advice do you have for people going through a hard time?
To know that they are not alone. With so many social media outlets people put their “best selves” out there so it can be hard not to compare yourself to others or to feel like we are inferior or not good enough. Everyone is struggle with something whether it’s infertility, anxiety, divorce, abuse, depression, illness, loneliness, losing a loved one, losing a job, or losing your faith…God knows each of us. He is waiting for us to turn to him for help. We are never alone.
What helped you the most during your trial?
Besides prayer, there were so many people who were such angel’s in my life. Two couples in our ward gave us money to use towards our adoptions. One of them said “We don’t want you to pay us back, when you can, just pay it forward.” This has always stuck with me and I’ve tried to help others in any way that I can, as often as possible. People were so kind and compassionate. I felt so much love during that time.
Another really awesome thing was the experience I had of volunteering with LDS Family services. For 3 years, I went with different birth mothers who had placed babies for adoption. We spoke to dozens of seminary classes at the high schools in Central Utah about adoption. Through us, they heard both sides of how adoption worked and what a blessing it was. I also had the honor of helping two couples adopt.
What quote or motto got you through this difficult time?
Share an update on your life now
Life now feels a lot more calm than it did 5 years ago with a bunch of little kids running around. When we got married our children ranged from ages 8 to 2. Now our oldest is 20 and our youngest 3 kids are 14. Our oldest son just came home from his mission in Chile. Our oldest daughter was married in February. We have 2 high school seniors, a junior, a freshman and two 8th graders. Three of them also live with our former spouses.
Life is a rollercoaster. You have to pick your battles and try to roll with the punches. I have dealt with anxiety and depression over the past 12 years as well, but life is good.