I have another guest writer today. I asked my cousin Ashley to share a bit of her story. Ashley and I basically grew up together, always at all the family functions together, all the normal family traditions we were there! Our family has always known Ashley is the “baby hog” or the “kid fanatic” she just always has been a kid lover as long back as I can remember. Thats why my heart broke for her and her husband Josh when they began battling infertility early in their marriage. My heart hurt because I’ve always known she would be a fabulous mom and how badly she wanted children.
Fast forward–today my cousin Ashley has her big family with a house full of kiddos! God heard her cries and answered her prayers but not in the traditional family way but by foster care and adoption. Ashley and Josh said yes to foster care and in 3 years of being foster parents they are now the parents of 5 kids under the age of 6. And 2 sets of those kids have birthdates in the same year…(crazy right?!).
Of course there are many details and many stories that could be told about Ashley’s family . Like how the two oldest boys are only 9 months apart, they came within weeks of each other with one named Aiden and one named Jayden, one black and one white. Basically twins with matching names and different color skin. Or how her 2 youngest girls are sisters, they are only 363 days apart and both were born premie teeny tiny babies…..let’s just let Ashley share a bit of her journey. Here it is:
Written by Ashley:
I was asked to share my story because deep down we know there are plenty of women, couples, etc. that need to hear it. I’m sure everyone has heard the word INFERTILITY, but some may not have experienced it. Some may be going through it right now, while some may be hiding it in the closet. Let me tell you this, DO NOT HIDE IT! There is nothing to be ashamed of. I totally get it; you don’t want people to think something is wrong with you or that you are a failure. I’m sure you are feeling like a failure. I have been there and done that. When I was 13 years old, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Disease. I remember the doctor being very blunt about it “You are going to have a hard time having kids and that day may never come for you. So prepare yourself when you hit that stage of life.” Now, at 13, that was the least of my worries. Yes, I knew I wanted to be a mom, I just didn’t think it would overtake my life when that time came.
My husband and I got married in 2011. I was up front with him when we started dating in 2010 about the reproductive issues I have. I always thought, be up front so if they don’t want the fight or battle of infertility, they have a chance to walk away. This brave man did not walk away.
In the summer of 2013, we did our first infertility cycle at St. Lukes Hospital in Chesterfield, MO with Dr. Pineda. I was making trips back and forth every other day for ultrasounds, Clomid, injections of Follistim, etc. It was overwhelming with not only what all hormones were being pumped into my body but the amount of money we were spending. Long story short, the cycle did not work. I couldn’t get pregnant that round. Dr. Pineda walked in and said “I’m sorry but we have to stop this cycle and you need to go home and talk it over about the next round. The reason why is because the amount of hormones and money will double or triple.” We went home that day and I refused to talk about it. I was so upset. I had failed my husband and I had failed my family. I couldn’t give them a baby. I got really angry with God. I questioned him every single day on why he would do this to me. He knew that we were capable of taking very good care of a child and more than ready. He knew how much love we had in our hearts for a child. The anger and sadness went on for a good while. I had to watch other people announce their pregnancies. I had to politely decline going to baby showers. I couldn’t deal with it. I didn’t want to deal with it. Why should I go and fake a smile and happiness when all I really was, was sad. My husband was such a trooper through it all! He never gave up on me and he always had the faith that we would pull through this.
One day, I decided enough was enough. I apologized to God and I begged him to show me why he did this. What did he want us to do? What were we missing? I prayed and begged for him to show us signs for a while. Finally, he answered that prayer. He threw Foster Care/Adoption straight in my face. It knocked me down. I couldn’t believe it. Did he really think we would be good at that? Did he really want to break my heart even more by bringing us a child and then having said child leave our home? I had enough of the heartaches. Why bring on even more? Then I realized, any child that came to us, whether biologically or through foster care, was ultimately his child, and he could take any of them away at a moment’s notice. I had to trust him. I had to let the control go. I had to come to terms with foster care/adoption was the reason why God put us on the path of infertility. I stopped asking questions and we decided that we had to answer God’s call for us.
We have had a total of 8 kids in our home since the end of 2014. Aiden, our very first child to come to our home, is now our forever son. His adoption was completed at the end of 2016. Jayden, was our second child to come to our home. We have guardianship of him and will be pursuing adoption this year with him. L.C is our 3 year old little boy whose laughter is contagious. His journey is still unfolding.
Kam is our 1 year old who we have had since birth. We are in the process of finalizing her adoption this year. We also just brought home Kam’s 1 month old baby sister from the hospital. We don’t know where her journey will take her but all we can do is pray for God to do what is best for her and hold on tight.
We had 3 other children come into our lives from 2015 to early 2016. Two of them stayed for a short 4 weeks and the other one was with us for 9 months. They all 3 returned to their biological parents and we celebrated with them, even though we miss them like crazy.
Our lives are crazy, messy, beautiful, blessed, and I would not change it for anything! We are living out the journey God specifically planned for us. Why he thought I could handle 5 kids, under the age of 6 years old I have no clue! I am trying my hardest at being the best mommy and wife I can be. I love my life even though I have days where I want to throw in the towel or go sit in the bathroom and just cry all night. But when my kids run up to me to give me a hug or tell me they love me, it makes this journey completely worth it!
If you are dealing with the infertility, don’t give up the fight!!! I always like this quote “However Motherhood comes to you, it is a MIRACLE”!! Don’t think you have to go down one straight path to become a mother. Listen to God. Pray for him to show you what he wants from you. He will show you when he is ready and when he knows you are ready!
Always remember that you are not alone in this fight. There are several women and men battling infertility. Find a support group or a friend who might be going through the same thing. They are the ones that are easiest to talk to. They get it. No offense to family and friends, but if they haven’t experienced it, they truly don’t understand.
Don’t be afraid to share your story or your journey. You never know who it might help. Don’t give up! Don’t be afraid to consider the “non-traditional” way of having a family. All children are God’s children and now I see they can come to us in all different ways.
Thanks for reading and I hope it gives encouragement and hope to those that may have being some of the same feelings I’ve had.
Thank you Ashley!!! Gosh–I am so proud of my cousin. Let me tell you I had 3 kids under the age of 4 1/2 for a while and it was H.A.R.D! Mad props to Ashley and Josh and their awesome support team.
I think what I love so much of Ashley’s story is how God not only fulfilled Ashley’s dream of being a mommy but he also clearly hand picked each of those kids for Ashley and Josh.
I hope this brightens your day, makes you smile, gives you hope, challenges you..whatever it is your feeling today.
I”m grateful for my little cousin,