A Season for FamilyNov 30, 2018 ● By Dru Bickham
When it comes to planning a family, everyone is different in what makes the best fit for them — there is no “right” way to start and grow a family. However, a good place to begin can be assessing sexual health, learning about options and exploring what might work best for you, especially in terms of health care.
LifeTalk Resource Center in Frisco is dedicated to being a place of comfort and compassion and provides professional, comprehensive care and education in the area. It is a great place for consultation to find out if you are pregnant, learn what options you have if you are pregnant, educate yourself on prenatal care and much more.
LifeTalk provides many services, not just to people hoping to start their own families, but to anyone who is unsure where to take their next steps in a pregnancy. Each pregnancy is different, and LifeTalk maintains that each woman should have access to all the knowledge necessary to decide what comes next in her pregnancy. Whatever your needs are, scheduling an appointment with LifeTalk can be a great first step in exploring the future of your family.
Many times, the process of starting a family can be stalled because of one's physical ability to have biological children. For some people, this is not an issue, and they experience no hiccups during the entire term of a pregnancy. But many women and couples trying to start a family battle with the difficulties of infertility, miscarriage, infant loss or stillbirth.
Sam Martin, a writer and mother living in Frisco, is one of these women. After suffering a miscarriage with her first pregnancy, Mrs. Martin felt alone and ashamed, not knowing how many other local women walk with the same pain she was carrying. “I knew a few people who had experienced more concrete losses through stillbirth, but people do not really talk about such early losses as miscarriages. And, when they do, they tend to downplay them. So, it was a very isolated feeling,” she shares.
About a month after her miscarriage, Mrs. Martin opened up about it to her community, and she was surprised by the number of people who sympathized with her and validated her feelings of motherly grief. Later, she and her husband were expecting a son, but he tragically passed away, shortly after being born. As the two grieved together and tried to comprehend that immense loss, Mrs. Martin started to use writing as a tool to process it all. After speaking with close friends she had made in a small group at their church, she realized how many sides of the story of motherhood there were, and how many women and couples were trying to work through pain like hers. The blog gloryinhermidst.com was started, and two-and-a-half years later, these women are reaching many others with their stories of hope and trust in God. “Our main priority in writing is to make sure people know they are not alone and they have a community,” Mrs. Martin says. “We have girls writing for the blog who have struggled with infertility and pursued intrauterine insemination (IUI) in order to get pregnant. We have girls who have had miscarriages, but we also have girls who got pregnant straight away and are now learning how to be moms. We want people to be able to see themselves in our blog, no matter where they are in their journey of motherhood.”
Mrs. Martin is proud of the blog’s reach to older women of her church and elsewhere who have let her know that by reading her words, they were able to fully recognize and grieve any children they had lost through miscarriage. “These are women who are years out from this loss, who are finally being able to acknowledge the depth of it, even now,” Mrs. Martin shares. The blog has also been able to help men struggling to connect with and support their spouses after losses like these. “It is a great thing, reaching men, because I think people forget that through these tragedies, men are suffering and grieving, too, and they are unsure how to be strong for their spouse while also feeling that deep loss,” Mrs. Martin shares. She hopes to one day include a man’s perspective on the blog in order to continue to help other men out there going through these struggles.
If you and your partner have discovered you cannot or do not wish to have biological children, there are other options. Adoption is a great way to start or grow a family, and one of the most rewarding ways to adopt can be through the foster care system in our region. By adopting this way, you can help a child find the family they need, when they might not otherwise.
Embrace Texas is an amazing resource for people involved in the foster care system, from children and foster parents to case workers. Denise Kendrick co-founded the nonprofit organization after running it as a volunteer ministry through her church for a couple of years. She and her husband had been foster parents for years, dedicated to helping children reunite with their biological families. Originally, they had not been open to adopting, but then something changed. “I stumbled across the Texas Adoption Resource Exchange website, which is a photo listing of all the children in foster care waiting to be adopted. I had had no idea how many kids, even just in the region, were just waiting to find family,” she explains. She and her husband then began to research and explore the possibilities of adopting through foster care. Eventually, they adopted an older child who had given up hope of finding a family by the time they expressed a desire in bringing him home with them. Years later, they now have a blended family of nine biological and adopted children.
As people who knew exactly what challenges came with fostering children, they started Embrace Texas to offer support to foster care families, to help continue the cycle of fostering and adopting in the state and to maximize retention in foster parents. “More support for foster parents lets them continue to choose to foster and leads to more willingness to adopt, which helps combat a major problem of children aging out of foster care,” Mrs. Kendrick explains. When a child ages out of foster care, they are left with little more than connections to a few resources and what possessions they own. Statistics for these young people are very grim, so it is important that communities rally to find families for these children.
Embrace Texas hosts drives to support foster parent needs, respite nights of free, specialized childcare for foster parents and other events and volunteer projects. “Over the years, we have asked ourselves: where are the gaps in the system that are putting these children at risk? And when we find them, we research and find ways to solve the problem and fill the gap. We make sure we are not duplicating efforts, but instead getting the community to rally around and tie up loose ends,” Mrs. Kendrick shares.
If you are not interested in adopting or fostering, you can still make an impact by taking advantage of any of the volunteer opportunities through Embrace Texas. If you are interested in exploring being a foster parent, Embrace Texas offers support and informational groups where you can learn more about the process, get answers to your questions and bust fostering myths. Should you explore fostering possibilities and start this type of journey for your family?
No matter what your plans are moving forward, Frisco has the resources to help and support you through the big decision of continuing or starting a family. During a time of year that is typically focused on family, maybe it is time for yours to grow or experience a change. Through it all, it is important to remember that, no matter your story, you are never alone and there is plenty of help, regardless of your current situation.