Friday, September 25, 2009

Parenthood Blessings -- by Clint

Debbie and our kids walking at the zoo in Tallinn, Estonia (from 2005)

The next several posts from me will be another narrative about a journey that our family has undertaken. My first narrative was about our journey to Orthodoxy. This current one will be about our journey into parenthood.

When Debbie and I were first married, we began to plan our life (as I suppose many other folks do). “This” is where we would live. “That” was what we would do for a living. And “Four” would be the number of our children.

I am not sure exactly where four came from, to be honest. I don’t remember if I suggested it or if she did. But somewhere, during those early years of our relationship, we decided to have four children.

We had been married for a year and a half or so when we determined to start “trying.” We quickly found out that we were fairly fertile. Debbie became pregnant and we found out that we could expect our little bundle of joy in late September of the following year. However, after about two months, Debbie had a miscarriage. Our sorrow was deep, but it wasn’t very long before Debbie was pregnant again and our daughter Becky was born.

After a couple of years, we decided to go for it again. Debbie quickly became pregnant, and our child was to be born the following November. Again, Debbie miscarried. Following the previous pattern, a few months later, she became pregnant and our son Joey was born.

In my mind, I was still shooting for four kids (I had the typical Protestant mentality and those two precious miscarried children didn’t count). But Debbie told me that she didn’t want to deal with the emotional turmoil of another miscarriage. So we stopped “trying.” I was at peace with that decision. However, I did tell her that if we ever had the opportunity to adopt a child that we should seriously consider it. She agreed.

Now, to give you a heads up, the remainder of these installments will deal with our adoption of our son Tommy. But as I close this introduction, I want to say a few words about our two miscarried children.

One of the greatest treasures that Orthodoxy has given to me are those two children. I had buried them in the back of my mind over the several years that had passed. It wasn ‘t until we had decided to become Orthodox that we were told by Fr. Christopher Foley (priest at Holy Cross Parish – OCA, in the Greensboro, NC area) that we shouldn’t consider those children to be “lost” from us. In fact, they were very much alive. We could pray for them, etc.

So now I am able to know that I don’t have four children, I have five. We have begun to refer to the two miscarried children by name, Bethany and Stephen (we figured we would go with one girl and one boy, since our two other children worked out that way). We commissioned an icon that we use to represent those two wonderful children. I kiss that icon every night.

As a parent, I have been blessed beyond measure. I hope you enjoy reading about our little odyssey.


elizabeth said...

Yes. I understand this and it is beautiful. Some of my Orthodox friends and I have talked about research my one friend has read about how the first born after a miscarriage does not always have all of the first born traits of a first born. I can relate to this, being the oldest but not first as my Mother had a miscarriage before me. I often think that I must have a big brother waiting for me and between this and the Saints as Fathers and Mothers, I am much consoled.

thegeekywife said...

Looking forward to hearing more about how you become Dad to Tommy.

Fr. James Early said...

Ditto to what the geeky wife said. Encore! Encore!

Isabel said...

As you say, becoming Orthodox leads us to truth we never realized, and so many blessings.