I was blessed with the ability to carry my first two children. I felt all of their little kicks and movements, suffered through morning sickness, and got the chance to kiss their faces as soon as they arrived into the world.
But because they were both born under extreme medical duress, we knew that if we wanted to add to our family it would have to be through other means. For a while we were satisfied with just our big-eyed girl and our mischievous little boy, but late last year we began feeling like our family wasn’t complete.
God has been breaking our hearts for orphans for many years, but the intensity has seemed to grow in the last few months. So, we decided to look into adoption. We knew we didn’t have the money for a private adoption, so we found a local agency that specializes in adoptions through the foster care system.
Several months have passed, and we are well on our way to becoming adoptive parents. And as we prepare our home and our hearts to welcome new people into our lives, I can’t help but compare it to the only road to parenthood I know—pregnancy.
Just like with pregnancy, there is a lot of waiting around for your little one to make their grand entrance into your world. And while I know my future children won’t have my nose (thank God) or my husband’s chin, my thoughts are still consumed by what this new addition will look like.
When you’re pregnant, no one looks at you funny if you get an extra helping of ice cream or order a large fry. While many of the food cravings you have in pregnancy are related to the fact that you’re growing a human inside of you, the extra need for sustenance could also be because the idea of bringing home a new family member is stressful. The same goes for an adoption. Anxiety over home studies and licensing can have you reaching for the potato chips.
When I was pregnant with my son, we spent months preparing my daughter for the arrival of her little brother. We knew roughly when he would be born. We had a bed and clothes all ready for him. We read books about what it would be like to bring a baby home from the hospital.
But, with adoption, especially through the foster care system, there’s a lot of uncertainty. You might not know how old the new child may be, when they might arrive, or how they will arrive at your home. But even though a lot of things are up in the air, you are still preparing siblings to welcome a new brother or sister.
My daughter received the book, “I Love You All the Same” by Allison Edgson for her birthday, and it has been a great way to introduce the subject of siblings who come from different places.
I’ve learned throughout this process that it doesn’t matter if you’re preparing for a child in your heart or your womb, it is a special and nerve-wracking time that unites us all as parents.
Jessa is the Editor-in-Chief of Hooray for Family and the mom of three energetic children. She has a BA in Mass Communication/Journalism from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and is a long-time resident of Central Texas. When she isn't writing and editing, she enjoys playing board games with her kids, teaching Sunday school and channeling her creativity into craft projects.