In March 2020 when the world shut down, my husband and I were almost a year into the adoption process. We had prayerfully discerned God’s call to adopt after struggling with infertility for the two years of our marriage, and with profound peace and great hope we had begun our journey. 

By the time the pandemic started, we had received the painful news we weren’t chosen to adopt ten times. Ten times we put our hopes and hearts into presenting our family to brave adoptive mothers, and ten different times we received the call, text or email that another family was chosen. 

Each no (or “not yet,” as people liked to comfort us) was met with prayers for the birth mother and new adoptive parents, but also with heartbreak, pain, and confusion. Up until now it had been a difficult cycle of frequently checking my email for messages from agencies regarding potential adoption cases, excitement to finally receive one, hope that this could be the one, and then crushing disappointment when it wasn’t. Enter the pandemic, and what already felt like a long and slow process screeched to a halt as we essentially stopped receiving any cases. My husband, a banker, was working long days and nights in the office on the government’s PPP loan program, and I was alone in the house for most of the day. The nursery never felt emptier, and I had never felt more in the desert than I did that Lent. 

Holy Week began and I knew in my heart I needed to enter into Christ’s Passion and death as I never had before. It was something I grew up hearing as a cradle Catholic, but a sentiment that always seemed a mystery to me. However, after a year of deep suffering and humiliation, of enduring an empty womb and an empty nursery, I felt particularly well-positioned to do this and acutely aware of my need to. 

In prayer on the morning of Good Friday, I was deeply convicted to really attempt to get at the heart of suffering, to find the value in it. I did not want any longer to allow suffering to be the thing that consumed and overwhelmed me, but to truly see and understand it as that which could, through uniting it to Christ’s Passion, actually save me. And save me not from our childlessness, but from a future without hope, and without faith in the promises of God. 

As I contemplated the Way of the Cross and the words of St. Faustina (through the Abiding Together podcast I was listening to at the time), I recognized the opportunity I had before me: I could take all that burdened and broke my heart, the ways I felt alone and abandoned, humiliated and crushed, and bring it to Jesus. 

In my suffering, I could choose by a sincere act of my will to unite myself to Jesus in a way that brought me closer to him, perhaps closer than I had ever been. My grief and sorrow could, if I allowed it, leave me trapped inward in discouragement and despair; or, I could choose to bear it with Jesus. I could carry it with him. I had accepted the cross of infertility, but in the struggle and hardship of the last year I had forgotten that meant carrying it until an end – an end that God in His infinite wisdom knew, but that I could not know or predict. I knew as I continued to pray that I had a choice to join my heart to his, in his sorrow and in his pain. To suffer, love, and surrender through him, with him, in him, until the end. 

As I was falling asleep that night, I contemplated Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ, which my husband and I had just watched together. I was particularly moved by the scenes with Simon of Cyrene as he helped Jesus carry the cross. 

An image came to my mind which I never want to forget. I saw myself accepting the cross – of infertility, of the long, painful adoption process – right next to the Lord. I looked at him, gazed into his eyes, and smiled. I felt myself, in my inner being, truly smile. In that moment, we shared the cross, and I felt such intimacy with the Lord. We carried the cross together, and it felt light and easy for the first time. 

Despite all the suffering and the uncertainty of what would come, I felt peace and comfort and strength like I never had before. I knew without a shadow of doubt that it was all going to be fine. 

I entered that Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday with a changed heart and a newfound sense of hope. As I continued to contemplate the Cross and suffering and the words of St. Faustina, a new understanding of its meaning and value opened up for me. I knew I must not fear suffering or resent it, but enter in and embrace it as Jesus did. And under the guidance of the Holy Spirit who had led me into the desert, and by God’s grace that had poured in the moment I joined my heart to His Son’s, I could allow Jesus and his Divine Mercy to purify and transform my heart. 

That Easter Sunday morning, despite no outward change in my circumstances, I was changed deep in my soul. There was peace and joy and freedom found in Christ and his suffering, death, and Resurrection. 

Easter Sunday morning I got up before the sun to meet the Risen Lord. The stone of my heart had been rolled away and peace and joy had entered in. I felt filled with the new life that Jesus’s Resurrection alone can bring. I wrote this poem that morning with no idea what God had in store for our family, but with complete trust and confidence that the victory would be His. 

An Easter Prayer – Alleluia, Alleluia!
By Katie Wilson 

Christ is risen! 

Alleluia, alleluia! 

He is risen, indeed! 

Alleluia, alleluia! 

May that word – unsung and dormant – awake and arise in my soul. 

Alleluia, alleluia! 

May that be the song of my heart today and in the Easter days ahead. 

Alleluia, alleluia! 

May that be my only disposition as I seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 

Alleluia, alleluia! 

May that glorious word and the truth it contains in it banish any despair or doubt or fear I may feel. 

Alleluia, alleluia! 

May the word be my hope and reminder that Jesus lives, that his light and love defeats all the darkness. 

Alleluia, alleluia! 

May the word be the praise in my heart offered to him in total trust and love. 

Alleluia, alleluia! 

May that word roll away the stone of my heart and free me of my narrow-mindedness and human way of thinking. 

Alleluia, alleluia! 

May the word be sung with Mary Magdalene, steadfast in her faith and love of the Lord. Fearful, yes, but overjoyed. 

Alleluia, alleluia! 

May the word make all things new in my heart, in my home, in our weary world. 

Alleluia, alleluia! 

Christ is risen! 

Alleluia, alleluia! 

He is risen, indeed! 

Alleluia, alleluia! 

Katie and her husband live in Virginia and are the proud parents of three children, all welcomed through the gift of adoption. Their first child was born on Easter Monday, the day after she wrote her Easter Prayer.