But for now, Day 9...
I am blessed. We have been blessed with four biological children. And with so many friends who have struggled to have children of their own, there is not a day that goes by that I do not think how really very blessed I am. And I am blessed to adopt. To add another child to our family, I am thankful. We have not brought Hamilton home or even met him in person yet. But in my heart he already part of our family. I have thought through this whole process; how very different the adoption process is than having a biological child.
1. In pregnancy, there is a lot of waiting. But the waiting is different. Some things you know for sure, like the baby will come in the next 9 months. There is a due date, and somewhere around that due date, Lord willing you will have a baby. In adoption, depending on the type, it could be years.
2. In pregnancy, you can do a lot of research and classes and gain information. But there is nothing required. Adoption requires training, hours of training. In both, no child or situation is exactly how you expect it will be and you can prepare a lot, but never be fully prepared.
3. Pregnancy is expensive, thousands of dollars, most of the time, this is covered by insurance. Adoption is similarly expensive, thounsands of dollars, none of it is covered by insurance.
4. In adoption the government gets involved from the beginning to decide if you are able to be a parent, background checks are done, for international adoptions, the federal goverment does background checks and both make the decision if you are able to take care of a child. In pregnancy, this does not happen.
5. In pregnancy, you do not get to pick your child. This is the hardest part for me. How to ethically go about this. How do we state, I will take this or that child because they have this or that, but not that one because he has this wrong with him? You can make a list of disabilities you will take and then decide what you want. And even after you decide you can change your mind. This does not happen with a biological child. You do not get to pick what you want. It is one of the hardest things about adoption for me because all of these children deserve a family.
6. In pregnancy, the child does not get to pick the parents. In adoption this does not really happen either, BUT in domestic adoptions in the U.S. parents put together sort of "scrap books" that tell about themselves so birthparents can pick what kind of family they wants their child to be raised in. Again, this makes sense to some extent, but it seems a bit odd, often there are really great families that wait long times just because of this or that, people can be really picky!
7. Both can involve lots of labor, but very different kinds. There is a lot to carrying a baby, and caring for a baby while pregnant, and all those who have been through labor know it is a difficult thing. But adoption comes with it's own heart break, and labor of finding funding, passing homestudies, filling out paperwork, it is a really long, hard process. Many people have told me a phrase they have heard, and I fully agree, "Adoption is not for the faint of heart!" and one friend added on, "Adoption is for the Brave!" and I fully agree with both.
8. And the obvious, pregnancy comes with the blessing of a newborn. Adoption often ends with the blessing of a child, but at different stages with different backgrounds and different issues. They both involve adjustment. A newborn brings little sleep and middle of the night feedings. A newborn does not know how to express his feelings but to cry. A newborn trusts his mom from the start. A child through adoption has a mom that may or may not have struggled through those new things with him, but now has new struggles to face with you. An adopted child is in a house they do not know, possibly in a country in a language they do not understand. An adopted child may not trust you from the start. And may be able to express himself with words but choose not to, or not know how to do it appropriately.
Both Lord willing end with a blessing, a child