From No Eggs to a Full Nest: A Journey of Infertility

By Erin Shonio

Everything inside of me died the day I got the phone call. Everything I had worked for, pursued, and hoped for came to a screeching halt. You see, I had spent almost the past 2 years calculating, documenting, and charting my female reproductive system. Each month started with anticipation and hope, then ended in disappointment. There were new tests, new doctors, no answers, and no money left. That phone call meant we had reached the end of our journey, and my body would not be able to produce a biological child as I had no viable eggs. My whole life was built around children. I was a camp counselor, went to college for teaching, worked with kids with mental and behavioral health issues, and even married my husband for his fatherly potential. I believe God gifted me to work with children, and they are my passion. Motherhood was my dream. Did you hear what I said? MY dream.

I loved God and grew up in the church. I knew the Bible, but struggled at times with connecting this historical book with real life. Hope is a word tossed around at church frequently, and we sing about how Jesus is all we need. What does a life of only needing Jesus look like? Is he really enough? After that phone call, I really struggled with God. I hit all the stages of grief and asked him why I was unable to fulfill my dream of motherhood. I often listened to remakes of old hymns. When Peace Like a River (It Is Well With My Soul) stuck with me and often brought peaceful tears to my eyes. The guy who wrote this song has quite a story of despair and yet wrote these beautiful words about peace and hope. God began to challenge my heart. Where is my hope? If I turn my eyes upon Jesus and eternity in heaven—a greater hope—then the things of earth grow strangely dim. My inability to have children became a small piece in the bigger picture of salvation and eternity. If I couldn’t have children, I still could have Jesus, but if I couldn’t have Jesus then what is the point in having children? Just for kicks? No.

So what was our next step? One option was an egg donor, but this is very expensive. At this point, we were still paying off our college loans and living pay check to pay check. I wanted to experience pregnancy—the whole nine month build-up of anticipation, the conversations, the ultrasound pictures, announcements, and showers. Adoption was an option, but I was holding on to some lies I had believed about adoption. I had worked in the mental health field and knew of some sour adoption cases. Fear drove me away. I knew I could love an adopted child, but would there be less of a connection? What if we get a challenging child that didn’t love us back? What about the expense of adoption and dealing with the birth family? Or worse, what if the birth mother changed her mind and left us devastated? The fear of the unknown made me feel like maybe I wasn’t emotionally ready. Well, God had other plans. I received that devastating phone call the end of June, had an informational consultation with an egg donor infertility doctor in October, and in December, we received another life changing phone call.

Often in a journey of infertility, you can find yourself feeling alone, even questioning, where God is in all of this. Well, God’s timing was perfect, and he was with us each step of the way. My sister-in-law’s voice on the other end of the phone brought excitement, hope, and complete shock. She was pregnant, and due to some personal reasons, was unable to care for this new child. Her and her husband have not had an easy life, but made the ultimate decision of love and sacrifice. They chose to place this tiny little life in our care—our forever home. Despite being many states away, we were involved in every step of her pregnancy. God protected the baby from a lot of possible health complications, and on July 26, 2015, birth mom and adoptive mom entered the operating room and shared the intimate moment of the birth of our son. In adoption stories there is loss, grief, acceptance, new life, and hope. This profoundly mirrors God’s desire for us to accept his love and be adopted into his kingdom (Galatians 4:4-5).

That isn’t the end of our story though. God loves to write beautiful plot twists to show his love and faithfulness. About four months after we adopted our son, the craziest thing happened. I took a test—multiple tests—and to my shock, I was pregnant. After fully surrendering my dream, God gave it back. On June 12, 2016, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. These two little cuties are best friends. My previous views and fears about adoption have changed. Motherhood is the most difficult thing I have ever experienced day in and day out, but also the most rewarding. Who knows what the future holds, but I know I can place my hope in God.

We are the Shonios. Mario and Erin have been married almost 10 years. Mario works third shift while Erin holds down the house with 2 goofy toddlers, Malachi (almost 4) and Raya (3). Our story is about surrendering dreams, finding hope, and embracing adoption. 


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