Sunday, September 6, 2015

A Healing Mass

As you can tell, Mr. M and I haven't updated this blog for a while, now that we have a new, more public blog at - public meaning we share our first names and pictures.

But - I am glad this blog still exists. As excited we are for our adoption pilgrimage, infertility still hurts, a lot! I read back through a lot of entries on this blog this morning, and I had a number of emotions: sadness to think of everything I have gone through and still experience (and so many people do too) -- admiration at myself for surviving without too many psychic scars -- and a whole lot of gratitude for our friends and especially God who have carried us through the roughest parts and kept our hope alive that life is good, despite everything.

I felt moved to write a new entry today because I wanted to capture some thoughts from a beautiful Mass we attended yesterday for couples experiencing infertility or healing from pregnancy loss. It was at a parish with a pastor who has a good reputation as someone very gifted in healing. Mr. M and I personally have been blessed by him. I honestly forget how we first got in contact, but we ended up having a private Mass with him twice along with some very honest conversation and guidance, and him praying over us and anointing us with blessed oil. Whoa. Pretty powerful experiences. We were struck by how much he "gets it" - gets the suffering of infertility in so many of his facets.

So we were looking forward to the Mass yesterday, and we were not disappointed. Somehow his homily managed to hit what seemed like practically every point you could make to a crowd of infertile/subfertile people plus those who have lost children: it is not your fault; God loves you so much; your marriage has value; surrender to God on a daily basis; find ways to love; maybe you're called to adoption, but it's a call, not something you have to do; stay close to your spouse; and so on.

Definitely some tears during the homily! It just felt so good to have a priest, a spiritual father and representative of our Church, speak words of both comfort and challenge, calling us to greater depth of acceptance and holiness while assuring us that yes, this hurts and it is okay to be sad/mad/fed up.

After the Mass, Father exposed the Blessed Sacrament (awesome) and then everyone was invited to come up and kneel and receive a special hands-on blessing and anointing - with oil from the Church of St. Anne in Quebec, which was pretty cool! There is something so beautiful and of course sacramental about being prayed over and physically touched on the head and shoulders during the prayer. It's impossible to describe, but just felt very peaceful and definitely like the Holy Spirit was there.

Afterwards there was time to pray some more in front of Our Lord, and Father again invited anyone who wanted to come meet with him later to do so - I loved that he made himself available, and really stressed that we can't (shouldn't) walk this path alone. Such an example of true pastoral accompaniment!

After the Mass we had a lovely lunch with two other couples we've gotten to know largely through our shared experience of infertility, so that was a nice way to top it off. I am just so grateful when our beloved Church offers this very concrete act of love to those who us who are carrying this heavy cross. It really boosts my spirit, helps me not to feel as alone, and has very much strengthened my faith to know that yes, God IS with us.


Monday, June 22, 2015

We're Adopting! New Blog

Hello all! We know it has been awhile since we have posted, but that is because we have been busy at work on adoption: we just started the home study and hope to finish it by the Fall. We know even this announcement is hard news for some of you, so we want to be respectful of that and let you know that we will be blogging about adoption on a separate blog called. Check it out if you want updates about our adoption process, learn more about us, and please, if you are able, help us out in one of the many ways we listed on that blog. We would appreciate it!

Also, yes, due to the demands of work, the adoption process, and many other things, we will be taking a break with the infertility blogging to focus on the adoption process and adoption blogging. Although we probably will write something from time to time and we won't be taking the website down. After all, "adoption doesn't cure infertility." This is true, although we feel that God is calling to us to adopt through our infertility, and adoption does help remedy one of major losses of infertility - the opportunity to parent a beautiful child together.

Please be assured of our prayers! All couples who struggle with infertility are never far from our thoughts. Please pray for us!

Ecce Fiat & Mr M

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Beginnings, and Endings


This week has felt particularly long, and difficult. Two unexpected pregnancy announcements, both from women I don't know that well, but who are younger than me and married less time than me (ouch). A few projects at work that involve thinking about Mother's Day and/or editing texts about research on marriage and families that contained not a few triggers for the unsuspecting infertile woman. By the end of the week, I was just fried, mentally and emotionally.


However - a very exciting thing happened this week! On Monday, April 20th, we put our 12-page application in an unassuming manila envelope and mailed it to our agency. We have officially started the adoption process!

Cue fireworks and cheers here :)

It felt great - it really did. Because we work close to each other, we were able to meet for mass before I mailed the application, so we had a special time of prayer together, entrusting our efforts to God and praying for the path ahead and all the people we'll meet on it - not least our child and his/her biological parents.

It really does feel like a fresh beginning, the start of something so, so good.

But there's an ending, too.

One of the questions on the application asked about how long we've been in treatment for infertility, and what the current status of treatment was. When we started filling out the forms on April 2nd, I was in a wacko cycle where it appears that I didn't ovulate and had a "missed period" - although I did get a real period in mid-April after all (started on a plane, on a 3-day work trip, and me not bringing any "female products" because I thought I wasn't going to have a period...thanks, AF. Well played.)

At the beginning of April, I was on my 5th dose of letrozole, out of 6 that were prescribed. But my cycles have just been so, so weird since taking these meds, and I was sick of it. I had (have) the 6th dose in our bathroom cabinet, but couldn't take it until my period started, which it didn't, and then when it finally did, I was out of town on the 3rd day when I was supposed to take the next dose.


All that is to say - we discussed it, and decided that we could put an end date of infertility treatment on the application (April 2015) and also say something like, "No further treatment is planned at this time." The meds will stay in the cabinet until further notice. Or maybe I'll flush them down the toilet defiantly - not sure yet.

For us, that leaves the door open in case we want to pursue medical treatment in the future, if we both discern that that's a good thing to do. But for now, that particular path is done for us. No more doctor's visits, meds, or charting (other than what I'm conscious of from charting for so long). It felt good to put that down on paper - it felt more real, somehow. (But also somewhat scary, and sad.)


Yesterday was our 3rd annual archdiocesan mass for couples struggling with infertility and miscarriage. As usual (we've gone all 3 years) it was emotional, draining, but also healing and beautiful. The mass was great, the talk was great, the conversations over lunch were great - but I want to talk about one particular moment that I will be reflecting on for a while.

After mass, everyone was invited to come up for healing prayers from a priest. This year, I liked how the priest made it personal. He asked us (quietly) what we would like prayer for. I said, "For the gift of a child, for freedom from jealousy, bitterness, and anger, and for our marriage to stay strong." He prayed for us, and of course I cried (and of course forget tissues at my seat).

Back in the pew, I had a crystal clear sense that I needed to say to God, "Lord, help me fully accept the fact that I may never be pregnant; that I may never feel a child kick inside of me; that I may never give birth; that I may never raise a child that looks like me and Mr. M and is a blend of our personalities; etc."

Cue the waterworks!

I hadn't planned on praying this - it just came to me. At the same time, it made so much sense, given what we had put on our adoption application. And I had a sense that this moment had been long in coming, that at some point I would have needed to pray a prayer like this, to look directly in the face the fact that I may never be a physical mother. (Not crazy about the word "physical" since adoptive mothers have very "physical" roles too! Whatever word is best: biological, natural - they're all limited, but hopefully you know what I mean: I may never conceive and give birth to a child.)

Note that I didn't pray, "Help me accept that I may never be a mother." Maybe someday I'll have to get to that prayer too, but at least now, we are hopefully that we will become parents via adoption, so I am taking a step of faith and saying, "I believe I will be a mother someday."

And note that I said "may," not "will." (I may not be pregnant, etc.) I'm well aware that I am not medically infertile, meaning that I (we) have all the apparatus to conceive, and it is still possible that that will happen.

But I think this prayer came from my need to accept my reality right now, which is that we have been engaging in the marital act for 3.5 years more than what is normal for couples using NFP. We have pursued medical treatment. We have tried...and we have failed. Have we tried "everything"? Probably not. But we've tried enough. And have not succeeded.

That is a hard, hard reality for me to accept. Hence, the prayer. I just felt a strong need in that holy space, during a holy time, to lay at the feet of the altar this dear, dear desire to be a pregnant, birthing mama - to give that to God, what feels like "again" but also feels like a distinct ending.

How will this prayer change me? I don't know yet. Ideally, I would like to arrive at a place of true acceptance - of being at peace at maybe never conceiving and giving birth. I don't feel like I'm there yet. Maybe the adoption process itself will help? Maybe adopting will help? Maybe the pang will never go away? I don't know yet.

But I feel like this "ending" - combined with our "beginning" of starting the adoption process - is a good place to be right now.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

This Upcoming National Infertility Awareness Week Consider Attending or Promoting...

A Morning for 
 Hope and Healing
 for those struggling with infertility or pregnancy loss
Saturday, April 25, 2015 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m

Saint John Paul II National Shrine 
3900 Harewood Road NE Washington, DC 20017
10 A.M. - Celebration of Mass 
11:30 A.M. - 12:30 P.M. Lunch and Personal Testimony:
“Living as a Family of Two” by Deacon Tony & Donna Maciorowski
1 P.M. - 2:00 P.M. Veneration and Prayers before St. John Paul II Relics for His Intercession of Healing

This event is free of charge but we encourage registration for planning purposes. Nevertheless, walk-ins are welcome. For more information or to register please contact Mary Hamm at 301-853-4499 or
Sponsored by the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Musings on the Paschal Mystery (re-post)

I'm re-posting one of my favorite posts, which I wrote a few years ago. Blessed Triduum and Happy Easter!

Before they slip from my mind, here are some thoughts/reflections/insights that came to me during the Triduum this year. Fair warning: these are unfiltered and relatively stream-of-consciousness.

Good Friday - yes, it really is that bad

Maybe it's my melancholic temperament, but one of my biggest pet peeves is when I relate a hardship to someone else and their response is, "Oh, it's really not that bad." Now to be fair, probably some of the things I complain about aren't that bad and I need to lighten up. And I know that the respondant is seeking to help me, seeking to make things easier by helping me see the "positive side" of a situation. But the fact is, some situations don't have positive sides. Or if they do, it's not in the form of a "silver lining" that I just need to squint harder in order to see. Some things in this fallen world are just broken and bad and hard, period.

Such as Good Friday. It hit me in a fresh way this Good Friday the fact that Jesus really died. I know that sounds so basic - it's what we say every Sunday in the creed: "he suffered death and was buried." But this year, for whatever reason the fact really sunk in that Jesus' agony and death on the cross wasn't an illusion. It wasn't an optical illusion or a prank. The Son of Man, God Incarnate, really truly died that black, black day. He gave up his spirit and "descended into Hell," as the Apostles' Creed says. There's no amount of squinting that will find the silver lining in that reality - Jesus died

The Good Friday liturgy brings this point home. It's stark and sparse. Images covered in red. Priests prostrating themselves. The crowd (us) saying "Crucify him!" This year I felt a real, aching sense of sorrow at thinking of Jesus bleeding on the cross and being placed in a cold, hard tomb. We sang a song that had the line, "Heavy with weeping let these three days pass." If Jesus hadn't really died, then this would all be a show. It would be play-acting, drumming up emotions for the sake of catharsis. Instead, it's a real mourning - Jesus died that day on Calvary. If Easter Sunday didn't arrive, there would be nothing "good" about Good Friday. 

In trying to parse out why this point impacted me so much this year, I think it's because it hit home that our faith is not one of rose-colored glasses and optimism. It's one of resurrection and hope, which are two markedly different things than a tinny sort of forced cheerfulness. For me, that gives me the freedom to really grieve over the sorrows in my life - yes, infertility really is that bad. It's that hard. There's not really a "positive spin" you can give to the fact that my body is broken and my vocation to motherhood is stunted. It's all right to grieve that - in fact, it's a fitting response. 

The same goes for any truly tragic thing - yes, it really is that bad that babies die in the womb, that children starve to death, that young men and women are murdered in their prime, that the elderly languish alone, unloved. Christianity's response to the suffering of a broken world was not to say "there, there, it's not that bad" - instead, the response for which the world had been groaning since the dawn of time was the sacrificial offering of God Himself on a bloody cross, knowing that no platitudes or bandaids would go to the heart of the crisis.

Easter Sunday - there is no ultimate loss

But....and this is a huge, world-changing, history-altering BUT, Good Friday is not the end! It's not! Could there be a more joyful three words in the English language than "He is risen"?

Because of Easter Sunday - because of the resurrection - because Jesus rose - Loss is not the last word. Sorrow is not the last word. Grief is not the last word. The final word is Love and Joy and Peace and Happiness Forever. These are stronger than death. As C.S. Lewis wrote in the Chronicles of Narnia, there is a deeper magic at work than the pseudo-magic of death. 

It's not that death and sorrow and pain are "really not that bad" - it's that they're not the final note of the concert. After three days of silence, the music plays on, and at dawn on Sunday the weeping turns to laughter and the sorrow to joy. 

It's hard to put into words how much hope this gives me! The best way I've found of expressing it is to say that because of Easter, there is no ultimate loss. The final enemy, death, has been defeated. What else is there to be afraid of? The sorrow I feel on a daily basis over my childlessness is a real sorrow responding to a real suffering. But it's not the final word or the deepest reality. None of this is pointless - everything can be redeemed. There is something greater going on in my life than the daily heartache I feel. That, too, can be redeemed. It's not an ultimate loss. Death and sorrow and pain are real - but the resurrection is more real, if I can put it that way! 

Regardless of how poorly I've expressed this, the fact is that at the Easter vigil, as we were all welcoming the light of Christ - the light over which darkness has no power - my eyes flooded with tears and my heart filled with hope. Not hope for any tangible thing that I believe will make me happy (*cough baby cough*) but just HOPE, pure and simple - hope that everything will work out okay in the end, because Jesus went to Hell and back. Hope that love will triumph, because it already has. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.


Friday, March 6, 2015

thoughts on the adoption process

I'm just wondering if any of you ladies who have adopted, or are in the process, or are even just thinking about it, have had a thought like this:

"I don't want to adopt. I want to be a mother."

This popped into my mind this week after we received some very helpful but very, very thorough (!) feedback on our adoption fundraising letter from some close friends. I am super grateful that they took a lot of time and put a lot of thought into examining our letter, and I think in the end their suggestions are going to strengthen it a lot.

BUT as they were giving us edits - "shorten this, expand this, move this here or there" - I was starting to feel really exasperated with the whole project. It was one of those moments where it felt immensely unfair that in order to be a mother, I have to be good at writing fundraising letters!!! Ugh.

I mean, of course it is ultimately up to God! He will bring us our children one way or another, even if our fundraising letter is awful.

But seriously, the skills needed to adopt are not necessarily the skills needed to be a good mother! To adopt, to just get through the process with some efficiency and without going into major debt, we need to be organized, write a fantastic fundraising appeal letter, set up a decent looking website, be vulnerable to friends, family, and strangers alike, be articulate about our life story, jump through hoop after hoop after hoop. And so on.

For goodness sakes, we even had to move in order to adopt!

Sigh. I really want to be a mom, and since biological motherhood has not happened and is not looking super promising, I am very glad to have the option of adoption. But I wish oh so much that I could skip over the whole adoption process and just get to the motherhood part!! Or at least the baby registry and nursery decorating part.

The best analogy I can think of is with wedding planning and getting married. For the most part, I enjoyed planning our wedding. The anticipation of the big day brought me a lot of joy, and it was a great bonding experience with the family and friends that helped us with the logistics and were so generous with their time. But there were definitely moments - especially towards the end - when I was just so sick of thinking about centerpieces and the wedding day schedule and the seating plan and I just wanted to get married already! After all, that's the real deal. The planning is just a means to that end, and thank God it doesn't last forever!

Thinking about adopting in that way gives me some perspective. The adoption process is a means to the end of becoming parents. An important and necessary means, but not the end goal. It's a process, and it is painful at times, but it is not going to last forever. And I don't want to waste too much energy complaining about how we have to do this while so many other people don't. This is the path we're on, and complaining won't change that. (But it does feel cathartic every now and again...!)


Monday, February 9, 2015

Good and Evil Recently in Our Lives

Mr. M here - 

This last week has served as a "Sign of Contradiction" week in 2015 where you can see what a difference it makes to follow Christ and to not follow Him. That is, St. John Paul II said that Christ would be a "Sign of Contradiction." For some, Christ's and His teachings (taught by the Catholic Church) would be life and happiness itself despite the difficulties, sufferings, and wounds we may encounter. "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me" (Mt. 16:24). For others, Christ would be a reminder of the evil they have done and their guilt would lead them to resentment and rejection of Him and His teachings. They have bought into the lie of the world "that you can have it all without truly following Christ."

This week, we were first presented with great goodness and holiness on Wednesday, February 4th (the positive sign) and then later in the week we were presented with some depressing, evil news (the negative sign). There is such a temptation in these situations to forget the goodness and be depressed by the evil. This has been our experience and evil continues to tempt us with despair. But no, we will not be wrecked by the sins of others and the evil around us! "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with goodness" (Romans 12:21). We choose to do this overcoming by following St. Paul's other advice, "Love does not rejoice over wrongdoing, but rejoices in what is right" (1 Corinthians 13:6). In other words, we need to speak out against the evil around us by particularly highlighting and rejoicing in the grace that we find among the thorns. This is what I intend to do in this post.

So let me just say - if you want inspiration about the grace going on in the world and a saintly life to follow then let me point no further than to the upcoming documentary - THE DROP BOX.  

Pastor Lee

This documentary will change your life. Please do your soul a favor this Lent and see it on March 3rd, 4th, or 5th in theaters. Pastor Lee and his wife who are the heroes of the documentary are incredible examples of Christ's love and compassion to the least fortunate in the world. They decided to do something about all the abandoned babies in the world who were left to die on the cold streets of South Korea. Through a drop box, where women can place their unwanted infants instead of killing them, and an incredible ministry of Christian love poured out as total self-gift for each other and the world, they have saved over 600 babies!

Most of these babies are placed into foster care to adopt and then placed with loving families. This is particularly moving for a couple like us who want to adopt and have not been blessed with a child due to infertility. But also noteworthy is that a number of the mothers have had a conversion of heart. Pastor Lee and his wife have been able to reunite 140 mothers with their formerly abandoned children. Pastor Lee has also adopted 15 children, mostly with severe disabilities.

He also takes care of his own biologically conceived disabled child, who due to his disabilities had to spend 14 years in the hospital. Pastor Lee and His wife sold their home and literally lived in the hospital for those 14 years prior to the beginning of his orphanage. They credit their time in the hospital and their disabled child as the inspiration behind the founding of the orphanage. Talk about the sacrifice and love he and his wife have made for this ministry and the care for their disabled child! They are a true witness of Christ and they don't shy away from talking about how only their faith could have led them on such a radical journey of love.

To make things even more crazier, we had the privilege to meet Pastor Lee and to hear directly from him about his love of Christ poured out in this ministry at the prescreening of the movie. Wow! I felt like I met a living saint. He, along with his wife who wasn't able to come, really reminded me of Mother Teresa and her order's love.  As we heard Pastor Lee spoke, everyone was moved to tears all around us, including us. There was an grace-filled electricity in the room that spoke to our hearts: "We must be more like this man and his wife" and "We must change and be more Christ-like than we have been." I felt an incredible grace to give more self-sacrificially and be less damn selfish. Aren't we all selfish individuals in need of ongoing conversion? How arrogant we are when we deny this about ourselves and this is why we need to see films and meet people like Pastor Lee and his wife.

Also, the director at the pre-screening shared a moving testimony. The director experienced a conversion to Christianity while doing the film! He said that "he had intended to go over and help save these children, but instead was saved by them." This director is a young man of 26 who as part of his conversion gave up an addiction to pornography and an unhealthy, abusive relationship with a girlfriend.

Amen, amen in the goodness of Christ. Let's rejoice in what is right by seeing this film. Let's be like Pastor Lee and his wife and "take up our crosses and follow Christ."

See the trailer for the documentary here:

Please pray for us and pray for those around us.