There was a time I asked my dad about his dreams when he was a young man. Like many people's stories, what he had hoped for ended up being different than what he received. My dad ended up working outside of his preferred career path to support my family. I am one of six children born to my parents. During that conversation my dad expressed that though things didn't go as planned, he felt that his "quiver was full." Much later I would realize he was referencing a Psalm.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!
I think most young people have dreams, and if they are headed toward marriage maybe they share dreams with their spouse. I remember riding a train with Jackie from Chicago to Holland, Michigan and we shared our thoughts on family. It was a somewhat typical pre-marriage talk (in our case pre-engagement also). "Well, 'if' we got married how many kids would you want?" "Two, maybe three. If four happened we could make it work..."
Maybe that isn't revealing dreams for the fullest quiver, but a couple arrows is alright. This was part of our dream. A phrase used for parents that have raised children to adulthood and then had them leave the house is "empty nesters." Being an empty nester often carries some shock and adjustment for life moving forward. I must admit that an "empty quiver" seems a more desolate place to move forward from.
But, God had prepared us for a brief walk through the desert.
See, on that train ride we also talked about adoption. My mom as a child was basically placed in an open adoption (open adoption is when the child is able to interact with his or her birth parents to varying degrees). I grew up with two sets of grandparents just on my mom's side of the family. Jackie's family was actively engaged in Safe Families, which is similar to foster care for children but through a Christian organization. Both of us already had a shared history of families pouring into the lives of children who were not their own. Before we got off the train we both agreed that we would adopt at some point.
So, when we received news that our dreams of a few arrows were now expectations for an empty quiver the desolation of that place had little hold on our lives.
There is a pattern emerging in the encouragement we receive that infers we will be great parents. We certainly hope so! Many people view this whole process as a commitment on our part to invest in and greatly change the life of an infant. That is precisely our goal, and when you help us you share in that investment. Yet, when you find yourself struggling with infertility, adoption is not the only option to try having a child. Most of those options, like adoption, tend to be quite expensive. God prepared our hearts a long time ago before we even knew each other for this time.
We chose adoption.
Picture is of Jackie and I holding two boys her family had the opportunity to work with through safe families. This is the day after we got back from our honeymoon. If you are interested in what safe families does visit them at http://safe-families.org/.