Sean and Kara were married in 2008. Like most couples, they dreamed of becoming a family one day.
“Since a young age, I dreamed about becoming a dad,” Sean said. “I remember when my brother was born, I told my parents one day I’d be a daddy too.” Kara also had dreamed about becoming a mother since she was a little girl.
But life was busy in those first few years of marriage.
Sean was a pastor and Kara was the Client Services Director at a local pregnancy clinic. Both were diligently serving the community and the people around them, waiting for the right time for God to bless them with a baby.
When a few years went by without a pregnancy, questions arose.
“We thought our chances were as good as anyone’s when we first started trying, but as time went on without a pregnancy, we got worried,” Sean shared. Assured by family and friends, that sometimes it “just takes time”, they didn’t panic.
Even so, they decided to consult with their doctors.
After test results came back, it turned out they had only a 1-2% chance of getting pregnant naturally. “That was hard to hear,” Sean confessed. “I was broken and confused. So was Kara. We assured one another that we were a team. We had no idea just how true that was going to be.”
Then began the flurry of fertility options: consulting with specialists, upping supplements, trying new diets, exhausting inexhaustible research. After those avenues failed, they attempted intrauterine insemination (IUI) four times. Each time failed. They spent their days praying, waiting, praying, waiting some more. Until, the waiting became more like an answer instead of the question.
Hope began to wear thin.
“As a pastor, this experience really messed with me. Some days I’d feel so overwhelmed with the presence and peace of God. Other days, I wanted to slam my fist through a wall.” The process produced a level of anxiety that neither one of them were familiar with. It opened up a new realm of trusting God; one that reoriented their paradigms of faith and family.
“We used to say things like, ‘Well at least we aren’t to the point of needing in vitro fertilization.’” Sean shared. “At the time, there were several other options, but over time those options grew thin— and so did our motivation.”
After all the roads dead-ended, they prayerfully decided that they would pursue IVF.
“Fertilization taking place in a lab? Totally weird,” Sean began. “But miraculous? Absolutely. Whether conception comes naturally or with the assistance of doctors, the formation of life itself is nothing short of miraculous, and truly a gift from God.”
But IVF still didn’t guarantee parenthood.
Their first two embryo transfers were unsuccessful. One didn’t take, the other miscarried.
Physically, emotionally and financially the Gasperetti’s were teetering on the brink. But God remained faithful.
“Through this journey, I have faith and trust in God’s plan more now than ever before, because I have seen His goodness and provision in the midst of our pain,” Kara reflected. “I have seen that even in our darkest and most desperate days, He was at work, even when we didn’t know it or see it.”
Even in the face of IVF failures, their trust in God continued to grow and grow.
“Time after time, a card would show up in the mail with a check inside,” Sean said. “A casual dinner with friends would end with a heartfelt hand-off of an envelope filled with cash. A distant uncle would pass money through my parents to support our dream. It was unreal. We never asked. Not once. And yet God delivered time and time again through the generosity of people simply responding to a prompting.”
Through every disappointment and setback, God was using this painful journey to stoke unconditional trust in their hearts towards Him. Even though it was an unwelcome cycle of hope and despair, they couldn’t deny it was cultivating a lifestyle of unflinching trust.
Then the call came about the third embryo transfer.
“Sean and I were sitting on our living room couch shaking with nervousness and so much emotion,” Kara recalled. “When the nurse said we were pregnant and the levels looked good, we sobbed and clung to each other. After our previous miscarriage, we were still very nervous and were clinging to this beautiful moment of good news that had been so sparse during our journey.”
That moment of good news grew into the miracle they had been praying for. Adelie June was born the following May.
“Meeting her for the first time was surreal,” Kara said. “I’ll never forget the feeling of her soft skin and how calm she was at the sound of our voices. Sean wrote Adelie a lullaby before she was born, and within minutes of her arrival, he sang it to her. It was so meaningful. We still sing it to her almost every night.”
The Gasperetti’s journey to parenthood wasn’t easy. To say the least.
And even now, with the long awaited hope of a child realized, they understand that growing their family may not get easier. “When I think about our dream of having multiple children, the pain that we felt becomes all too real again.” Kara described.
So as Sean and Kara now prepare to plant Reach Everett, they recognize that even though infertility was something they never would have chosen for themselves, it developed Spirit-led fruit they couldn’t have manufactured on their own.
“This experience revealed there are often disappointments in life that go without explanation. It was the most ambiguous time of my life trying to stay hopeful for something that I had no control over. In church planting, much is the same. There are no guarantees,” Sean honestly assessed.
Kara agreed, “We have such a heart to sit with people in their struggles more than ever, especially in the areas of grief and loss. We are not afraid to pursue those who are experiencing disappointment and longing. The sensitivity that we have gained in this area is invaluable. We learned so much through our journey. I do not want to forget about what we went through so we can always remember what God has done.”
This “remembering” has become an essential building block in their faith. And as only God can do, He has already taken this broken part of their story and brought beauty from it.
For instance, Sean and Kara launched their north end Group last summer. As they began to get to know the people who came, they discovered an uncanny commonality. All of the couples shared similar grief and loss stories. And since their Group will make up much of the core planting team for Reach Everett, God’s purpose in each of their pain burns bright.
“Some people in our Group have had miscarriages, others have struggled for years to conceive, others failed attempts to adopt. Every couple. We launched our Group with strangers, and yet this common thread has quickly become one of the primary themes of us bonding as family.”
Sean and Kara’s infertility has been the part of their story that holds the deepest amount of sorrow, but it also represents the greatest amount of hope.
“In this, I am reminded that it’s not about what God will do for us, but rather us finding our sense of purpose in Him alone,” Sean explained. They have seen how Gospel-compelled community combined with God’s faithfulness has the power to piece together purpose from pain. This bedrock of belief is what Reach Everett will be built on.
“Even if the road ahead gets hard, the point of the journey is always about living our lives with and for Him. We can find comfort in both suffering and celebration when we realize that God is present through it all. That means every challenge becomes an opportunity for Him to do what only He can.”