My son, Noah, is quite possibly one of the brightest little lights to ever enter this world. I often think that his birth mom must have had to layer herself in black burlap to keep him from shining through those nine months.
I have spent more than a decade pursuing the things of this life that I think will make me happy. Money. Girls. Possessions. Rare M&Ms. (Not that I was ever good at getting any of those things). Never in my most abstract thoughts would I have thought a child could and would end up being the number one on my list. And not only did he take the top spot, he did it with authority.
Noah is beautiful. His skin is beautiful. His eyes are beautiful. His face is beautiful. Everything about him is, quite honestly, beautiful. But take a step back from that.
Who Noah is, far outweighs what he looks like. Noah has a spirit that emanates light. Noah has a kind countenance. Noah has an affinity for making people feel good, for making people feel better. Noah is happy. Noah is full of energy. Noah is affectionate, altruistic, and indulgent. Noah has a tenderness about him that not many people have. Noah loves the people that love him. He believes so much in his own potential, even as a three year old. He has a laugh that would make Miss Hannigan smile. He loves to crack a joke. He loves to hug people and his hugs are always so warm and so yielding. He loves to tell people he loves them. Yes, Noah is all these things and more.
Now, picture having all that; everything I mentioned above, running at you full speed, arms swinging wildly with each step, straight into your arms. Imagine all of that, with a face better than Christmas morning because he’s so happy to see you. Imagine all of that, climbing into bed and snuggling with you on a Saturday morning. Imagine all of that, screaming and laughing hysterically at your dragon slaying bedtime stories. Imagine all of that, every little bit of that, kissing you on the mouth because nowhere else will do, and saying, “We’re the bestest buds ever, dad.”
That’s what I get every day that I have Noah. Forget any other horrible or difficult thing in this life. I get that. And that makes it so that nothing bad matters. Everything else… it’s trivial. Throw the worst day you possibly can at me. Take me to the edge of my ability to cope. Rip the rug out from under me. Just let me have that when it’s all done, and the world will be right again.
Permit me to share with you the miraculous story of how Noah came into my life. It’s a story that I could never tell well enough to prove that God loves every one of us, even those of us who probably don’t deserve it much. It’s a story I hold dear to my heart. It’s a story that I wish could bring hope of good things to parents who may be struggling with infertility, the road to adoption, or other similar struggles.
My first wife and I tried unsuccessfully to have children for many years. I’m certain that I don’t have to tell many of you just what kind of stress and heartache infertility places on a marriage. Long story short, we ended up trying to conceive in a petri dish through the process of in vitro fertilization (an entirely different and hellish post for another day that will likely never come). They were able to extract a whopping 17 eggs from my wife on our first attempt. Through a process called ICSI, they then microscopically injected one sperm into each of those eggs in order to fertilize them. On our first (and only) attempt at in vitro, we ended up with 14 embryos. This was incredible news because that meant we could freeze 12 of them for future attempts and not have to go through all of the painful injections, extractions, and doctor visits if we chose to do it again.
But over the next few days, before they were mature enough to insert them, they all started to die. That doesn’t happen. Once an embryo is formed it will amost always get healthier and stronger. Ours got sicker and weaker. On the day we were due to implant the embryos, the doctor broke the bad news that only three embryos were still alive, and barely. The chances of pregnancy were nil, even implanting all three of them. We decided to do it anyway, and a few days after that we got the news that… we were pregnant. But barely. In order to not miscarry, her HCG hormone levels had to be over 100. Hers were at a six. “Don’t expect this baby to survive” they told us. Of course we didn’t listen. And of course we were heartbroken when she miscarried days after that.