Accepting that I was infertile was painful but necessary in my path to becoming a mother.

After many rounds of fertility treatments with no positive results, it was apparent that I would not bear biological children. The desire to be a mother was so strong, though, that I was willing to look into adoption. My husband, however, was not.

Shortly after finishing treatments, I went to a picnic hosted by Cradle of Hope Adoption Center, where I learned about a program called “Bridge of Hope.” They bring Russian orphans to the United States to spend five weeks with an American family, hoping that permanent adoptive families will be found for the children. Fortunately, both my husband and I felt good about participating in the program and the fact that we would be able to spend time with a child before committing to adoption (which my husband was still wary about). When I saw a picture of Anya, I knew that she was my little girl. I knew that she belonged in our family.

The summer day we picked her up and brought her home was perfect; she immediately began calling us Mama and Papa and held our hands. She was comfortable in our home and soon felt, to all of us, that she belonged with us.

One day, toward the end of the summer, we took Anya to a family picnic. On the way
home she told us that she wanted to be our daughter. I finally felt like a mother. She wrote us a note the night before returning to Russia: ”I love you Mama and I love you Papa.  Please bring me home soon.”

The next five months were torture as we gathered and submitted the necessary paperwork to finalize Anya’s adoption. When we traveled to Russia in December, Anya flew into our arms and together the three of us waded through the final processes in order to bring her home in time for the holidays. When she introduced us to her best friend, Yana, we promised Anya that we would try to find her a home in the United States. Little did I know that the home I was trying to find was our own.

Over the next three years, Anya and Yana wrote regularly, and when I learned that Bridge of Hope was going to bring more children over from Russia to our area, I immediately asked if there was a chance of bringing Yana. It turned out that Yana was available, and we agreed to host her in hopes of finding her a home in America.

Even though Yana fit into our family like a missing puzzle piece, I was firm in the hope of finding another family to adopt her. When my husband expressed that we absolutely had to adopt her (“She fits right in!”), I began to let my heart hope. I worried about how Anya would adjust to a sister and if I could be a good mother to two children, but I felt peace when I imagined having Yana as a daughter.

And so we have begun the long process of paper work and visits again, hoping to bring our Yana home soon.

I thought that infertility was a death sentence to my dream of motherhood, but it wasn’t. Instead, accepting my infertility and moving forward allowed me to live something even better than what I had dreamed of for myself: becoming a mother to Anya and Yana.