I met and fell in love with Judy Rodrigues. Judy has a son, Jared, by another relationship. The three of us entered a life together on October 20, 1990. Judy and I planned on waiting two years before adding more kids to our brood. Well, practice makes perfect, they say - and after some time to adjust financially, we felt we were ready to "add on".
We planned on having three more kids, and even had names picked out. After a year of trying, no baby. We decided to try an infertility clinic at Kaiser Permanente; the HMO Judy had through her work. After getting the results of the blood tests Judy and I had done, we were ok'd; they just needed a seminal specimen from me. After getting the results back of the specimen, I was hit with some bad news - my sperm count was extremely low. In fact, the Doctor said from the results he was wondering if I was sterile. Judy and I set up an appointment for the doctor to go over our possibilties. I suffer from Crohn's Disease, which is an inflammation of the intestine, akin to Irritable Bowel Syndrome. He asked me what type of medicine I was taking; I told him, "Azulphidine." When the doctor heard this, he told me to stop taking it. That was what was causing my low sperm count. After three months on a different medicine, I had to give another sample. This time the count was better, but they were all swimming around in circles with little forward movement. Some of the guys at the place where I was working at the time, told me that explained a lot about me--chasing my tail with little forward movement.
There was little we could do. We tried artificial insemination once but nothing happened. Money was starting to become an issue so we backed off on the clinic approach. We then cautiously approached the idea of adoption, but this proved to be too costly with the initial monies needed up front.
I had a discussion with an older gentleman at work a couple of months ago on the issue of abortion vs adoption. My view is, don't blame the child for one night of passion or even, God forbid, a rape; it's a life and it needs to be lived. Adoption is always the best option considering the other option is death. There are hundreds of willing couples who would do anything to give an unwanted life a home. The counter argument was why haven't you adopted then? "It comes down to a matter of money," I replied. I was then told that I shouldn't tell a women what to do with her body if I don't have the money to take care of her baby. My reply was, "I didn't say I didn't have the money to raise the child, I said I didn't have the money for the initial down payment for the adoption process." To use an analogy, I may have money for the upkeep of the vehicle I'm driving now, but I may not have the initial down payment to buy a new car.
I realize we live in a culture that thinks life and all of it's consequences shouldn't be judged by the heart; for the argument is usually, "you don't know what is in my heart". We are not judging hearts here, but rather actions. Adoptions give the childless family life long enjoyment and pleasure. I'm pro life. I will always be for life. I'm also pro choice, but not in the conventional way. A woman should also have the right to choose between these two options; adoption or raising the baby herself. Death should never be a choice. If she gives the baby up for adoption, she will give a childless couple great joy, the baby will have a life, she will be relieved of any responsibilities of being a parent, and the adoptive parents, society, and those around her will see this as a great act of love. If she decides to keep the child this too will be seen as a great act of love, because she is facing her responsibility as a parent by doing what is best for the child. I married a woman like this; Judy has always tried, and will to the best of her ability, do what is best for Jared.
Chances are I may never get to see the combination of Judy's eyes and my red hair on a little girl name Joy. I may never get to hold a bundle of immense joy named Jeff. I even probably won't be able to feel the bear hug of a two year old named Jovanna. But I do know what it's like to be an example to a great kid named Jared!
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And you are the best dad Jared could ever have!