The mid-winter weeks proved especially trying for John and Ginny W. (pseudonyms). Since their wedding in September, 1990, the young Manitoba couple has dreamed of becoming parents. But the intervening six years became the proverbial roller coaster of emotions – rising expectation and disappointment, frustration, and finally the realization of a dream.

Steeped in the ways of large families, the couple looked forward to a sizable brood of their own. As the months and years slipped by, however, the blessed event just did not happen. Consultations with doctors and visits to fertility clinics failed to come up with any definite answers.

“After all these years we still don’t have any answers as to why we weren’t conceiving,” Ginny said, “but we felt we had to run out of options.”

Eventually, the couple looked to adoption to begin their family. And after a long, frustrating journey, their patience and perseverance were rewarded. A son, born in late January to a young university student was awarded to the couple earlier this winter, ending years of longing and expectation.

“It’s as if a great void has been filled in our lives,” John said.

Some struggle involved

While the couple’s story has a happy ending, it didn’t come without a great deal of struggle and sacrifice. It is typical of many Canadian couples who must endure years on waiting lists before children come up for adoption.

Ginny and John, now aged 29 and 30 respectively, first considered the adoption route in their second year of marriage. They approached provincial and private adoption agencies, agreed to a home study and completed the myriad of administrative and bureaucratic minutiae required of adoptive parents.

The couple also considered international adoption and had made plans to visit a South American country to facilitate the process. They estimate a minimum 60-day visit would have cost them up to $15,000, but it was an expense they were fully prepared for if it would bring them the son or daughter they wanted.

Just prior to departing however, things began to change. A mid-week telephone call from their social worker brought news that a young woman was putting her newborn son up for adoption. The woman wanted to leaver her child with a stable, two-parent Catholic family. Would Ginny and John be interested?

We had prepared ourselves for practically every scenario, except for the one that actually occurred,” Ginny said. “After all of our efforts, the suddenness with which the baby became available was more than we could anticipate.”

Under Manitoba law, a mother putting her child up for adoption has 48 hours to change her mind once the baby has been awarded to the adoptive couple. Naturally, that 48-hour period was an especially anxious time for Ginny and John.

“We were involved with three similar adoptions that fell through at the last minute, so it was especially hard for us to get through those 48 hours,” John said.

Ginny and John praised a sensitive social worker, their families and their church community for supporting them during their ordeal. They also had praise for the biological mother who showed great maturity and sensitivity in brining the baby to term. The couple has limited information on the birth mother, although they did learn she bore a physical resemblance to Ginny, the woman who would become her new mom.

“She’s given us the greatest gift we could ever receive,” Ginny said. “In many ways, she is our dream birth mother. We don’t know if there was pressure on her to abort the child, but obviously she didn’t go for the easy way out.”

Ginny and John’s experience has made them ideal spokesperson for the value and dignity of adoption as a life-affirming alternative to abortion. It has provided them with an opportunity to share their love and nurturing in a new direction. “Infertility has been a major cross for us,” Ginny said, “but adoption has been the greatest blessing.”

At the same time, the new parents have great sympathy for couples who have been unable to conceive and who have been frustrated in efforts to adopt. They recognize that while nurturing new life is one of the central roles for married couples, sometimes it just isn’t God’s will.

Meanwhile, Ginny and John are adjusting to their new role as parents of an active two month old. They scheduled a mid-March baptism, and they look forward to welcoming a

brother or sister for their new son. “Every child needs a sibling,” Ginny suggested.

Joe Borowski’s role

There is one more twist to the Ginny and John story that will appeal to the unashamedly sentimental. The couple, who met while working on the pro-life political scene in Manitoba, became good friends of Joe Borowski, the great champion of unborn children. Borowski knew of the couple’s efforts to adopt, and just days before his death last September, he told Ginny’s mother that he would find them a child once he got to heaven.

Ginny still sounds a note of emotion when retelling the story. But she can be forgiven for hinting it was Joe’s influence that helped bring a son into their lives.