One of the biggest and most important decisions that many married couples face is, “How many children do we want to have?” But for some, this decision becomes much more complicated and traumatic because of infertility.
Michael and Cindy Easley were one such couple. Well, actually they experienced what some would call “secondary infertility.” Early in their marriage they had a daughter, Hannah. About a year after Hannah’s birth, Cindy says, “We decided that it was time to try for number two. I had always wanted four kids.” But after months of trying, she saw a doctor and, after testing, learned she was infertile.
“It was as if someone had put a stamp across my head that said ‘Failure, Reject, Not Worthy to be a Mother,’” Cindy recalls. “That's how I felt at that time.”
They now consider Hannah to be a miracle. Because of the physical problems doctors later discovered, Cindy says, “She should not have been conceived, but in God's grace she was.”
For a few years, the Easleys worked with their doctor on different tests and procedures in an attempt to conceive. As they struggled through the issue, they learned that they needed to continually seek the Lord and seek His wisdom. “God is doing something in your soul and your family that you've got to hammer out as you walk through infertility,” Michael says.
Eventually they realized that it was time to move on and consider adoption as a means of building their family. To Cindy, it was a relief to end the long process of addressing their infertility. She felt certain that when she started pursuing adoption, “there would be a baby at the end. Infertility never gave me that guarantee. It only gave me the guarantee that I would try one more month. But the minute we said, ‘Let's contact an adoption agency,’ I knew that within a matter of time, I would have a baby in my arms.”
Yet Michael was apprehensive about adoption. He already had a beautiful daughter—why complicate things? And wasn’t it a risk to adopt an unknown child? “There was a part of me [that] didn't want to do it. It was somebody else's child, it wasn't mine. I didn't know what I was going to get.”
Eventually Michael learned the lesson that so many other adoptive parents learn. In the words of Dennis Rainey, president of FamilyLife and an adoptive parent himself, “God grafts this child onto your own heart.” The Easleys’ first adopted child, Jesse, is now 17 and is “the delight of my life,” Michael says. “Nobody makes me smile like Jesse … it’s a precious relationship.”
The Easleys didn’t stop there. Still pursuing their desire to have four children, they ended up adopting Devon and Sarah when they were ages 3 and 2.
One of Michael’s favorite stories is about his bedtime routine when Devon was young. He would tell Devon, "You know what?"
“I love you. You know what else?”
“I'm glad that you're my son, because before you came, I never had a son. You know what else?”
"I want a kiss." And after a kiss Michael would ask, “You know what else?"
“What?” And Michael would tickle him.
One night, at the end of this routine Devon said, “You didn’t do it right.” Then he stood on his bed and said, “You didn't say, 'I'm glad you're my son because before you came I never had a son.'"
As Michael, now the president of Moody Bible Institute, told this story on “FamilyLife Today,” he said, “You know … the power of being a dad to a little boy who didn't have a dad … That little boy's got a daddy, and I've got a son.”
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