Open to Life
Van and I have always been open to life. In fact, we wanted a large family after we got married. However, we figured that once we got married, we would wait two years, and then have children. I’m not sure why we wanted to wait two years. We weren’t exactly spring chickens. I was 27 and he was 30 years old when we got married. I think we were just listening to the voice of the culture. The culture said to wait two years, so that’s what we planned to do. Van and I planned to use Natural Family Planning when we got married to space our children.
Discovering Our Infertility
When we first started to date, Van told me that he had a hernia repair when he was an infant and due to complications, he wondered if he would be able to have children. I couldn’t even imagine the reality of not being able to have children, but if it was going to be difficult to conceive, I certainly didn’t want to postpone children. So, before we got married, Van got checked out by a Urologist and sure enough, conception looked very unlikely. I remember after we got the results, Van and I were just kind of stunned. But I asked him, “If someone wants to give us a baby, would you be open to adoption?” Van was like, “What are you talking about Teresa?!”
I told him how I had grown up on the reservation and sometimes when people couldn’t take care of their babies, they adopted them out. Van was agreeable to this, even though it seemed very unlikely that we would be offered a baby that easily. But a few days later, I was telling one of my high school girl friends that Van and I wouldn’t be able to have children. And you know what she said? She told me that her teenage cousin was pregnant (6 weeks along) and was looking for a home for her baby.
Fast and Furious
We met the birth mom in December and in January we got married. In July we had our first born son, Dane. And honestly, most of our babies have come “fast and furious” like this. The only baby we really had to wait for was our little Korean baby, Mattea. With all 10 of our other children, we had people come to us and ask if we could adopt the baby/child. So, we have never “spaced” our kids with Natural Family Planning. We have just said “yes” when we were asked to take someone.
This has led to a very exciting and adventurous marriage! It has also lead to many challenges. One of the challenges has been a financial one. But the very awesome thing about God is that he has “had our back” the whole way. We have spent almost four years eating high quality, expensive food that has taken up more then 50-60 percent of my husbands monthly pay check. For two of those years, 9 of us lived in a 750 square foot home in order to sustain our food budget. But healing our family (with the GAPS diet) was a HUGE priority. We just felt like if we would take the next right step, God would cover the rest. And He has.
One way He has blessed us is with our Christmas Angels. For the past three years, a couple from our faith community has blessed our family by buying Christmas gifts for all of our children. They collect each child’s wish list and they buy, wrap, and deliver the gifts. If you are a parent out there, you know what a gift this is to Van and me. The stress of shopping (buying) and wrapping for 11 children can be exhausting. It can suck the Christmas joy right out of a person. But, as we have said “yes” to God’s orphans, God has taken care of us every step of the way.