On our wedding day fifteen years ago, we dedicated our lives to serving God however He desired. Right after our wedding, we began working as youth and children’s pastors. Not long after, we began to desire children of our own that we could raise to know and love God. We had no idea how God was going to answer this prayer!
For the next 6 years we continued to beg God for a baby. Every month was a roller coaster of emotion as we would get our hopes up only to be severely disappointed. After many doctors, many tests, and no answers, we decided to look into adoption. The very same week, God dropped two precious girls into our laps. Megan was nine and Allison was four. We adopted them through the foster care system in California.
Perhaps we should have been content with the beautiful family God had given us, but the overwhelming desire to have a biological child continued to burn within us. We could not escape it. When we moved to Ohio in 2005, we decided to see another doctor. He told us that we would not conceive without a procedure called In Vitro Fertilization. With a price tag of $20,000, that was not an option. We were devastated. Incredibly, 3 months before, I had seen a small advertisement in a magazine about an IVF scholarship and had decided to apply, knowing that there was very little chance that we would be chosen. Eight months later, we checked our voicemail and was SHOCKED to hear that we had been chosen to receive a scholarship!! It was a miracle! After multiple tests, procedures, and minor surgery, we finally went to Chicago for our first cycle of IVF. There was never a happier couple than the day we found out that we were pregnant with not just one, but two baby boys. We had waited and prayed for those boys for almost 10 years.
Everything went well until around 17 weeks gestation. Andrea went into pre-term labor when one of the baby’s sacs broke. We really believed that everything was going to be ok. After all, we had waited so long for those babies; there was no way that God was going to take them away from us. But His ways are not our ways. Five days later, Andrea gave birth to two, beautiful, perfectly formed baby boys. We held them in our hospital room for as long as we could. Saying goodbye to them was the hardest thing we ever had to do.
That was the beginning of a new journey for us. A journey that God set us on, to know Him in ways that we did not know we could. In His mercy He allowed us to experience deep loss, so that He could make us who He wanted us to be.
When we finally returned home from the hospital, I was so devastated; I didn’t think I could go on. At that moment, we received a call from the scholarship committee saying that they wanted to give us a second scholarship. God is so kind. He gave us hope again.
One year later we traveled to Las Vegas for another cycle of IVF. This time we rejoiced to find out we were pregnant with one baby boy. What a mixture of joy and fear. God was teaching us to trust in His goodness. Aiden Jeremiah Smith was born on June 9th, 2008 with many tears and laughter. God had finally answered our prayers, but along the way He had accomplished a deep work in our hearts.
We still had 7 frozen embryos. These are called “snowflake” babies. They were fertilized, and thus alive. Multiple times we traveled back to Las Vegas for IVF transfers to give these children the opportunity to live. Each time Andrea got pregnant with twins, we would be so excited, and so grateful to God. But each time we lost the babies. They were early miscarriages each time, but each loss was still so deep and painful. And with each loss, God taught us more about Himself. We wouldn’t trade those lessons, for anything, because we know that we have treasure in heaven. Ian Mackay, Caleb Joshua, Peace, Rainn, Micah, Mercy, Daniel, Judah, and Icey are all waiting for us. We can’t wait to hold them in heaven!
But for now, God has given us even more blessings. In August of 2011, Erica, age 6 and Destiny, age 4 came to live with us through foster care. Their adoption was finalized on April 11, 2012. They have enriched our lives and God is using them to teach us how to truly love. Then, in December of 2011 Heather came to live with us. Although at age 22 she was too old to legally adopt, we have claimed her as our own, and love her as our own.
Now, we say with burning hearts, “Lord, we are yours. Use us however you wish.” Only God can write a script to our lives that we would of never envisioned. What happens next is up to God. We are just listening to Him and whatever He says, we say, "Yes Lord".