Thursday, January 21, 2010

unpregnant.

When we began the adoption process, I knew it would be different. Different for us, different for those close to us, and also different for everyone else in our lives. While we know a lot of families who have adopted, the majority of the families around us are biological. I have a lot of experience watching my pregnant friends during their pregnancies, attending their baby showers at church, visiting them in the hospital when their babies are born, and taking them meals after they bring their babies home. So, while I don’t know what it’s like to be pregnant, I know how to be a friend to someone who is. I, too, am an expecting mother. But guess what? I’m not going through all of that. I’m not pregnant, so I don’t exactly know what I’m supposed to go through. People don’t rub my belly & ask how the baby is. {No, I am NOT asking you to start rubbing my belly! :)} When I go somewhere, no one can look at me & see that I am an expecting mother. I don’t get to hear my baby’s heartbeat at the doctor’s office. I don’t have weird cravings. {Ok so maybe I do. But not as a result of pregnancy. :)} I can’t feel my baby kicking in my belly. I can’t see her through the ultrasound. All of these things – experiences of a pregnant mother – help her & those around her grow to love her baby. She bonds with her baby as he/she grows inside of her, and the people close to her can see that & experience it with her.


So where does that leave me? I am expecting a baby in April, who will be born of another woman. How do I bond with that baby? How do I love her before she is even here? Well, I don’t know how. But I know I do. I love that baby girl. I have never met her, but she is mine. I have never seen her on an ultrasound, but I know she is beautiful. I haven’t heard her heartbeat, but I know it is beating. She isn’t growing underneath my heart, but she is growing in my heart. Some of you are probably thinking, “Laura, isn’t that dangerous to grow so attached? Can’t the birthmother change her mind? Isn’t there a possibility that the adoption could fail?” Yes, of course. I’m not na├»ve – I know the reality of failed adoptions. But would you tell a pregnant mother not to grow attached to her baby because of the possibility of a pregnancy loss? Of course not! She is expected to bond with her baby, so I should be expected to bond with mine.


Maybe adoption shouldn’t be "the new pregnant". Maybe I need to stop trying to make this adoption a pregnancy, and embrace the difference that it is. So what if I don't get to park in the "expecting mothers" parking spot. And I may not get the “awww, you’re just GLOWING!” that the pregnant moms get. People may forget that I’m expecting because they don’t have the visual reminder. But I feel that there is a baby in South Carolina right now that is my daughter. And soon, she will be here for all of you to oooh and ahhh over. And when that time comes, none of this confusion/awkwardness/emotional roller coaster/stress will matter, because it will be all worth it to have that baby girl in my arms.


If you are adopting, or considering adoption, I urge you to enjoy the differences between adoption & pregnancy. Adoption is a beautiful {and exciting!} thing, and a tremendous blessing to so many people! It saddens me when people view adoption as a "backup plan" for growing a family. I have struggled with comparing adoption with pregnancy, and it can lead to disappointment. Unrealistic expectations of other people are unmet. Negative differences are amplified. Blessings go unnoticed. The fact is, our experiences are similar, but at the same time different. Enjoy being an expecting mother; don’t pity yourself for being unpregnant.


{Side note: tomorrow (Friday), Baron & I are travelling to South Carolina to meet our birthmother. We are super excited about this trip! Please pray for our safety during the trip up there Friday & back on Saturday, and for a good meeting with her. Thanks!}

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