When Infertility Still Stings

There were four yesterday. FOUR.

Sweet black and white pictures of little nuggets (that mostly look like aliens) fill my newsfeed.

And all these years later, it still hurts. Not nearly as bad, but it does.

I still get baby shower invitations in the mail, and it still stings as I hang them on my fridge. I rest my hand on an empty womb and I'm reminded, again, that my body was created to produce children. But unlike most every other woman in the world, mine doesn't.

I still ache. I still grieve. I still tell my husband when he asks me what's wrong. He still hugs me tight, and tells me how sorry he is. And I still run to Jesus, every single time. I still cry out to Him in the shower. I still run to Him in that pain.

And He's still there.

He still reminds me, 

for now

, that is not my story.

This is... and it's much better.

Almost two November's ago, we got "The Call."

Well, I got a text.

"We're getting a baby," my husband TEXTS me. WHO DOES THAT?!!!!

So I do what any

waiting mother

does, I run out of my classroom, and call him immediately. "Yeah. The case worker called me because she knew you were in school. You're going to be a mama! A birth mom chose us. It's a baby girl. She's due in January." I believe he was in shock. The rest I didn't hear. I heard a few sniffles on his end, and he heard loud sobs on mine. I was dancing around in the teacher's bathroom in the elementary school where I teach. Our math coach heard my hollering, she came in to hug and dance with me. Pretty soon, the teachers on my grade level started peeking their heads out into the hall to see the ruckus. My principal was there within seconds and wrapped me in a huge hug. I quickly texted our families to let them know before they found out from anyone else.

The rest of the day was a blur. Pink, bows, monograms, dresses, and dreaming of HER face filled the rest of my day and all of the days to come.

That was the day. That was my positive pregnancy test. I'll never forget it.

The days followed were filled with anxiety, excitement, and all of the emotions in between

. You can't possibly understand the extremes unless you've been there. Waiting. Yet again, but in a different way. This time in hopes that a baby just might call you mama.

We met the strongest woman I know

. We immediately connected and it felt as if we had always been family. She allowed me AND my husband the amazing privilege, to watch her child, our child, come into this world. I cut the cord binding them to one another, she was placed in my arms, and the weight of the miracle in that tiny baby's body crushed me.

The nurse asked who should wear the "mommy bracelet" and her birth mom looked at me and said, "Jessica is her mommy. She should wear the bracelet." In that second, she gave me permission to be Selah's mom.

After all of the waiting. After all of the negative pregnancy tests. After all of the gallons of tears I had cried over the years, longing to be a mama, in that second, every single tear and moment spent waiting, was worth it.

She's almost two now. That six pound, itty bitty baby, who made me a mama, is almost two.

And I can barely deal.

And the

story of how her little brother came home to us

, just makes me cry. His birth mom chose life for him. She made the brave choice. The hard choice. He is a miracle, and a little fighter. He has

overcome so much already

, and although our days are still hard, they are beautiful. He is our miracle.

I fell into the bed last night, dog tired. Like the kind of tired where you lay in the bed and your feet are still pulsing. I was rushing through the "before I go to bed list," remembered a few things I forgot to do, and then thought of the next day only a few hours away. I started feeling overwhelmed. Micah's Gotcha Day party is this weekend, he also gets dedicated on Sunday, and we have lots of therapy and doctor appointments to still make this week.

Selah wanted me to hold her from the moment I walked in the door yesterday. She would hold up her little hands and say, "Hold you, mommy. Hold you." So instead of washing the dishes that towered over the sink, or sweeping the cookies she threw in the floor, or making 24 calorie formula for my little guy, or priming his feeding tube, or packing my lunch for the next day, I picked up that little girl. I took her in the living room with that sweet baby boy, and I enjoyed those tiny hands wrapped around my neck.

I snuggled my nose in her neck and kissed her squishy cheeks over and over. I made baby noises and silly faces with her brother. We all laughed at one another. And I was there. Right in the moment with them.

When my feet were aching in the bed after a long day, and I started my "overwhelmed, you picked the wrong girl" speech with Jesus, His Spirit reminded me of MY story.

He reminded me of the hurt I felt when I saw those black and white pictures in my newsfeed. He reminded me of the sting I felt as I hung up that baby shower invitation on the fridge today. And He reminded me of how much better I know Him now because of all of those years of waiting, still with a barren womb.

He also reminded me of my story. The story He has written in my life. The story that is so much greater than me, but one that tells of His Kingdom. Not the story I expected, but better than anything I could have ever dreamed. He reminded me how tired I was because

I worked a full time job

that day, came home, and was a mama to TWO babies.

Infertility still stings. Some days worse than others. But I still run to Him, He is still there, and He still reminds me of the beauty He has made from my brokenness.

The story He has written, the way I know Him now, and the two brown babies sleeping upstairs, have made every.single.second, worth it.

So when infertility still stings, remember He's writing a story greater than you. A story that tells of Him and His Kingdom. Nestle up close to Him, and remember all He has done.

It's worth every.single.second.

*Photos by my friend,

Rachel Ackerman


Beautiful Brokenness

I sat in our hospital room with tears in my eyes and a heavy heart.

How can something so broken, be so beautiful?

My whole family was sleeping.

I watched her mince as she changed positions and found a more comfortable way to rest. Her poor body had endured much with this pregnancy. And in the last 48 hours, she delivered our son. Brandon was taking a much needed nap from sleeping sitting up the whole night. He insisted that I have the couch. The room was filled with the sounds of rhythmic breathing. And a blanket of heaviness covered us all.

I looked down in my arms and studied the lines of my son's little face. He too asleep, unaware of all the love held in that room for him. I wished for him. Years ago, when that

lonely pink line

showed up again after months of hoping. I prayed for him, like I did his sister. Prayed he would find his way into our family. Little did I know during our

failed adoption

last summer, God was already growing him in Selah's birth mom's belly. What she considered a mistake, God redeemed, like He always does. What we thought was loss from our failed adoption, was only God's kindness in

biological siblings.

While the quiet lingered, my heart cried out to Him. "Do you see her? She'll loose a son today, Lord. And what we have prayed for and wished for so long will finally happen. We'll gain a son. How do we do this?"

The days our birth mom has signed, placing her children into our family, have been both the happiest and saddest days of my life. Happy, because without her, I would never be a mommy. I would never change diapers, watch first wobbly steps, get wet kisses, and hear that name. Sad, because she will miss those things. And even though right when it happens, I send her a message or video, the children that share her DNA, call me mom. "The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege is not lost on me."-Jody Landers

Right when the weight was too much to bear, I received a text from a dear friend, "This is a beautiful brokenness that will draw you both to Papa. His love covers."

Did He see her? Absolutely. He is crazy about her, just like He is crazy about me. He watched our sweet son form in her inmost parts, and He was knitting him together right in her womb. He was preparing her heart for this day, the day she became a mom again. The day, she would love him so much she would sacrifice her feelings, for his future.

Did He see me there, grieving one second, and filled with complete joy in the next? Of course He did. And those tears I shed when the room was sleeping, He sat right there with me and caught every one.

His love covers. It covered us both. And still does.

Our adoption story is quite different from most. Never had I imagined I would have two children with extremely

open adoptions

. I wanted to adopt internationally so I wouldn't have to "share" my children with a birth mom. Looking back, I see how selfish my motives were. I was thinking about me and the desire I had lived with for so long. Now, looking at all God has done in our story, I am humbled how God has grown our family. Not only do we now have a son and a daughter, but we have a dear sister, and her two boys in our extended family as well.

People ask me all the time how I "let" her be so involved in our lives. And although I understand their concern, it's because it works for us. She respects me as mommy, and I respect her as the mom who gave my children life. We share a bond that is like no other. My children will never know the depths of our love.

But it also works, because we share a similar story. One of loss and brokenness. A story in great need of redemption. And right at the time in both of our lives when we experienced our darkest days, God picked up a pen and started writing.

And He wrote a story of beautiful brokenness...

A woman with a choice to make, and a woman with no choices left.

And throughout His story, He drew our hearts to His. In a way we both never imagined.

Welcome to our family, Micah Rand Satterfield.

You will never know how you are loved.

brown baby. white mama.

The Top Five Things I've Learned From Our Transracial Adoption

5. People


ask me if she's adopted.

Ummmm. That would be a yes.

One of my favorite stories is when Selah was about six months old. We went to dinner and we're going to a late movie with our dear friends. This was when she was small enough to sleep in her car seat. It would be a nightmare now, but then, she was a great little movie go-er. I would feed her right before the movie and she'd sleep through the whole thing. It was wonderful! We haven't seen one since. Just kidding! Anyways, the story.

We were standing in line to get our tickets, and this sweet little man came over and asked if she was adopted. Of course I smiled kindly, and said, "yes." I was thinking in my head, "duh." He told us how he took mission trips to Africa every summer and really had a heart for the orphan. He mentioned how he and his wife wished they would've adopted when they were younger. Then he asked me where she was from. I'm 100% positive he was expecting an African country. And without skipping a beat, I replied in a VERY southern accent, "Greer," (our town). Everyone laughed at what to me, was the honest truth, and when he got over his shock, I explained that we adopted through a local agency and shared a little of our story with him.

I know that people KNOW she is adopted when they ask us. Her brown skin attracts attention and people are curious of her story. It's a way for them to ask permission to step into our story in a non-threating way. And I really do love that. She has given us more opportunities to share the Gospel than we could have ever dreamed. And although I could take some of their questions the wrong way (Is she yours? Where's her mom? Are you babysitting?), people know there is a story to be told. And she gives us an opportunity to tell it. One day soon, she'll be old enough to tell it herself.

4. Not everyone will be happy about it.

And that's okay.

We have learned that we are not responsible for changing those hearts. Only God can. Their hearts will not change until the Spirit helps them understand the Gospel more clearly. While we pray that for them and practice humility, we love and show them grace. And I remember the grace God has shown


through Jesus.

My husband is way better at this than me. He has taught me more about grace by watching him give it, than anything I've ever read before. I'll have to admit, my mama bear comes out extra ferocious in this area, and I am still in desperate need of being tamed. I guess really what I've learned, is that I still have much

to learn

about loving others and showing them grace when I feel it isn't deserved. I wish I could say this comes easy to me, but it doesn't. At least, not yet.

3. As a white mama to a brown baby, it is my responsibility to be educated on skin and hair care.

PLEASE HEAR ME, I am by no means saying I know all there is to know about this, I don't! But I do WANT to know. I want to be educated, and I want to always have her hair and skin looking nice. And when I don't know what to do, I need to get help from someone who does!

Anyone who knows us well, will tell you I can go to the grocery store looking a hot mess. But you better believe Selah's hair and skin will look nice. I want the African American community to see that she is well taken care of by a white mama.

Here are a few things I've learned...

  • Coconut oil is a great moisturizer and smells so yummy. I use this on both her hair and skin. Right after I wash her hair (once every one or two weeks) in Carol's Daughter's Cleansing Conditioner, I comb out the tangles, and put a heavy helping of coconut oil in her hair. Even if it's not a wash day, and it feels dry I still put coconut oil in it. 
  • I LOVE the kids detangler spray by Shea Moisture. I mix conditioner and water in a water bottle and spray her hair in the mornings to freshen it up. I've recently started using Carol's Daughter's refresher spray and love it too.
  • I put Shea Moisture Style Milk in her hair after I fix it. This helps hold the curls so they don't get fuzzy.

*You can find all these products at Target. The Coconut Oil can be found at Trader Joe's or your local grocery store.*

  • For her skin, I swear by this natural lotion recipe! Selah started getting eczema on her tummy really bad and NOTHING would get rid of it. I asked one of my sweet friends, Ashley, what she used on her kids, and she gave this lotion to Selah for her birthday. I will NEVER use anything else! You can find the recipe here. It says diaper rash cream, and you can use it for diaper rash, but I use it as lotion. Ashley adds 20 drops of lavender essential oil to hers. She makes it in huge batches and says it lasts forever. You can buy the products to make it here. I rub her down in this every night! The lavender essential oil clears up her eczema, helps her sleep, and smells heavenly.
  • I also put Aquaphor on her cheeks every morning and every night. They get very chapped in the winter, and this seems to help heal the dry spots. 

I still have SO much to learn, but these things have worked wonderfully for Selah. They might not work for your brown baby, but it's worth a shot!

2. Our skin does not match, but we match hearts.

She's brown. And I want her to be proud of that! 

Brandon and I want to always have an open, on-going conversation about how we do, indeed, have different colored skin. The fact is, our skin doesn't match. She should feel comfortable talking with us about that. We want her to know her African American heritage and connect with other African Americans. She has curly hair like her daddy, her and I have brown eyes, but her skin is brown and ours is white. And we shouldn't push that under the rug, or say that we don't see her skin color, because the world does. She needs to have the tools to be successful and confident as an African American woman to Caucasian parents. Who doesn't want that for their baby?

But the truth is,




see her skin color. We both were there to watch her take her first beautiful breath. I cut the cord, and she came straight to me. Most days, I have to remind myself that I did


give birth to her. I have to remember sometimes that I didn't carry her for 9 months. Her

birth mom

did, and we are forever grateful. 

But this little girl is mine. She is my daughter. And although our skin doesn't match, we match hearts. She has started laughing like me. She wrinkles her nose when she smiles, like I do. She pats my shoulder with her little hand like I pat her's. She has a kind and sensitive heart like her daddy. Like him, she is very pensive and observant. And one day, I want her to know Jesus like we do. We want to teach her to love Him. That this life is nothing without Him. He is Life. 

We match hearts. 

1. Love really does make our family. 

Love is an action, not always a feeling. 

After we brought Selah home, I experienced somewhat of postpartum. The adoption blues, as it's often called. I know this sounds crazy. I couldn't believe it either. I was even ashamed. There were so many factors that caused these "blues."

For one, although it was beautiful and absolutely perfect, the whole hospital experience was extremely emotional. Not just the normal, your baby was born emotional, this was different.

Honestly, we weren't even certain that we would come home from the hospital with a baby. Our birth mom couldn't sign until 24 hours after she was born. Up until that point, she could have changed her mind at any time. So we had all the anticipation of "will she really do it?" We prepared ourselves for the possibility of an empty car seat. Thankfully, it was full of six pounds of sweetness.

We had the beautiful experience of seeing Selah come into this world. But we were also being sensitive to our birth mom and all of her emotions. Although she is literally the strongest woman I know, all of the hospital emotions were heightened to the max.

So after we got home and started sorting through those emotions of her adoption,

complete joy and sadness at the same time,

I had this precious little life that now depended on me. Forever.

Then we started sorting through,"Oh my gosh, are we really parents?" We were sleep deprived and didn't know what in the world we were doing. I didn't get to bond with her for nine months. And she didn't have Brandon's chin or my nose, but she shared our last name. 

It took me a while to feel like she was really mine. And this shocked me. It made me feel guilty. No one prepared me for that. I read a little about it, but never thought it would happen to me. I wanted this child more than anything, and we walked through a really, really dark season to get her into our family. And I didn't feel as if she was mine?

Those days quickly passed and before I knew it, I couldn't imagine our family without her. And like I said earlier, it wasn't long before I had to remind myself I didn't carry her. I don't have maternity pictures

to show her, or the crazy stories about Brandon running to get me ice-cream or pickles in the middle of the night. 

But we do have the story of how we prayed every day to be her parents. We have countless stories of a faithful God. 

The time He used a couple in our church to give us 10,000 dollars for her adoption. The story of the William's children who sold lemonade to help us bring her home. The countless really large checks we received. All the times I laid in the floor of her nursery dreaming what she would look like and wondering, honestly, if God would answer our prayer. 

The story of the day we met her birthmom for the first time and how she cried when we told her about Selah's name. 

We don't need maternity pictures or our skin to match. Love really does make our family.

She will always be my baby, and I will always be her mommy.