From Empty Womb to Full House


How long have you been off birth control?” the doctor asked at my annual checkup.

Two and a half years,” I responded.

Let’s run a few tests on you and your husband to see what is going on, okay?

Blood tests, MRI, ultrasounds, urologist referral, surgery for the husband and at the end, there was no hope of ever becoming pregnant.  We were infertile! Devastated!  This was in the Spring of 1993, three and half years after we had been married.  We prayed, and then tried to move on.

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Through a friend of a friend, a miracle occurred and we privately adopted a newborn baby girl who was born in July of 93.  This year-long process to adopt her totally wiped us out both emotionally and financially (there were all kinds of complications).  Although we were happy that we had a child, we were struggling emotionally over the disappointment that we would never have our large family.

After several years of heartbreak – never experiencing the miracle of pregnancy – our hearts began to soften toward the idea of adoption. But we knew we couldn’t afford a baby, nor did we want there to be a huge age difference between any of the children.

Our daily newspaper runs a weekly series “Wednesday’s Child” that profiles a child who is in the foster care system who was needing a forever family.  One Wednesday, we found a child who would fit great into our family.  It was at that moment that we knew that we needed to look at adopting through foster care.  We took our classes, got our foster care license and adoption certification, and eventually adopted a nine-year-old girl.   As we walked out of the courthouse after the adoption hearing was over, our newly-adopted daughter and our oldest daughter told our licensing worker: “Let’s do this again! We want another little sister!

Eighteen months later, we adopted an eight-year-old little girl — after that, a three-year-old boy — and then a nine-year-old boy.  None of these children are biological siblings, yet they have woven themselves together as brothers and sisters.

We have been married for twenty-three years and our children are now 19, 16, 13, 10, and 6.  Our oldest daughter and her husband have an 11-month-old baby boy.  We recently opened our hearts and home to fostering the 0-4 years old age group.  We currently have four placements; sibling brothers ages 2 and 4, an 18-month-old boy and a 12-month-old girl.  To our surprise, there is a possibility that each of them may become permanent members of our family as well.

It has been years since grief has overwhelmed us at the idea of not having our own biological children.  Baby showers are now fun to attend.  Ultrasound photos and pregnant bellies on Facebook are now moment of joy instead of jealousy.  Although  we would welcome a pregnancy, we believe that God has richly blessed us with our perfect family through adoption.

Cathy Eley is a 44-year-old stay-at-home mom who two years ago left a local government supervisory position after twenty years to be a full time mom to five adopted children plus a foster mom to children under age 4.  She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration in 2011. She married her high school sweetheart who is an elementary school principal in the school district that she grew up in. They have struggled with infertility their entire marriage yet been blessed through adoption with five children. Our family motto is “One At A Time”.  Our life verse is Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord. “Plans  to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”  They are active in their local church in Scottsdale, AZ and enjoy loving on children as much as they can.