Watching people react to the news that we were pregnant was one of the most amusing things I’ve ever done. There were the criers, most notably my mom, sister and one of my best friends, all of which had been waiting for this day since Mr and I got married. There were the realists who said, in the kindest way possible, “why in the world did you allow yourself to get pregnant while being poor and living with your parents?” There were a few doomsdayers, who told us to enjoy our pre baby life while we can because everything would suck afterwards. And there were a few who were afraid I’d be a horrific pregnant person and possibly a crazy mother and therefore made mental notes to stay away from me until they were sure I’d be tolerable.
The most common reaction, however, was utter and complete shock. When we told our bible study group, their jaws literally dropped and they were all speechless for about 30 seconds. We were the couple that was never going to have biological kids. If we decided to have kids at all, we would adopt. I had zero desire to be pregnant and Mr was convinced that we would never be able to afford kids anyways. So that one year when 60% of our close friends had babies, we congratulated them, showered them with gifts, and smothered their babies with kisses, all while thinking “we are so glad that isn’t us.” So, at the end of the year when we announced that we were pregnant, its understandable that the most frequently asked question was “how did that happen?”
I usually answered that question with a funny quip like “well, we didn’t know you had to wear a condom EVERY time.” But, there’s a lot more to the story. I felt, and still feel, very strongly about adoption, specifically adopting out of the foster care system. My mom was raised by both a foster family and her birth father and I had several friends growing up who were in and out of the foster system, or who were adopted. Mr didn’t have a strong desire to be a parent at all (for the record he now loves being a dad and is fantastic with our son) but he supported my decision to adopt. We really did not think that we would ever have biological children.
As I began to think seriously about adoption, I wanted to make sure it was a desire that came from God and not myself.. I felt that God was telling me to go off the pill in 2012 and put our family planning in his hands. I talked it over with Mr and he supported my decision so I quit taking the pill. However, we were living with my parents at the time and had no concrete plans or the financial means to move out. I felt it would be irresponsible to practice zero birth control whatsoever, so we used family planning and condoms. Looking back, I realize this may have been a lack of faith. God asked me to put our family planning completely in his hands and that’s what I should have done. But God is gracious, and faith often comes in baby steps, so God worked with what I gave him. The whole year went by and then November rolled around. It was a crazy month where we just weren’t as careful as we had been, and on December 8th, we found out we were pregnant.
Looking back, everything worked out perfectly. That year was jam packed and we got to do lots of exciting things on our own and as a couple. Without knowing it, it was our last hurrah before parenthood. It left us satisfied with our newlywed, young adult life and ready (or somewhat ready) to move on to the next chapter. Living with my parents during pregnancy and during the Tot’s first few months of life turned out to be a huge blessing. It was so nice to have extra help and company during those rough months and to have my mother as an ever present source of guidance and encouragement. And after our time there, God used Joe’s dad to bless us with a home we could afford to buy. We certainly didn’t see that coming when I went off the pill. Plus, another set of friends had babies in 2013 and its been so cool to raise our kids together. I think that at this point, if I didn’t have a child, I would be getting the baby itch big time.
And what about adoption? We still feel strongly about it and are still planning to adopt in the future. I don’t think God gave us the Tot as a way to discourage us from adoption, but rather to prepare us. There is a reason why kids start out as babies that don’t understand things, can’t talk back and don’t remember. It’s because parents make A LOT of mistakes that first time around. A little baby will bounce back from those mistakes much easier than a 5 year old who has experienced emotional and physical trauma. I feel that since we have been raising our own biological child, we are much better equipped to deal with the challenges of raising an adopted child. Of course I’m sure we will continue to make a ton of mistakes with any future children. But hopefully next time we’ll make a fewer and we’ll be better at repairing the damage from the ones we do make.