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Four years of infertility and an irregular cycle means that I have taken my fair share of pregnancy tests. In the first two years of trying to conceive, I stood over the test, desperately waiting and praying to see the second line. In the third year, I still anxiously watched the test, but for different reasons. We had been matched with our son and, although I would have loved to experience a pregnancy, I didn’t want to stop the adoption of this sweet boy with whom I had fallen in love.
Now, in the fourth year, I am completely content with my family. My husband and I talked about adding another child, potentially meeting with a doctor to discuss our options in pursuing another pregnancy (four years ago I experienced an early miscarriage). Ultimately, we decided to wait, especially as my son is dealing with some minor health issues. Due to my irregular cycles, pregnancy tests still find their way into my shopping cart, but the procedure to take them is a routine performed with no second thought. Take the test, wait three minutes, throw the negative test away.
Pregnancy After Adoption: God’s Plans are Not My Own
A day late, I took a pregnancy test and started to go through my normal routine. Before even setting a timer, the second line appeared. Four years ago, I imagine that my reaction would have involved many happy tears. Instead, this test was met with shock and an open jaw. Having worked at a pregnancy resource center before, I’ve seen hundreds of pregnancy tests, yet I read the instructions at least ten times to make sure I took the test the right way.
Why were we able to conceive now? While announcing the newest member of our family, many have told us that it’s because we adopted. Is that true? Because we reached a place of contentment, God blessed us with a pregnancy after adoption? Is this baby a reward for the adoption of our son? Although frequently made with good intentions, this comment and many others go opposite of the Gospel and God’s character.
What Not to Say
- What not to say to someone trying to conceive: “Just adopt”
- What not to say to those who are adopting/have adopted: “You’ll get pregnant soon!”
- What not to say to someone who is pregnant after adoption: “Now you’ll have one of your own!”
How do these statements portray God’s sovereignty? How do they demonstrate the value and worth of each human as an image bearer of God, especially the worth of adopted children?
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” – Psalm 139:13-16
These words do not just apply to the child in my womb, but to my son who was knit together in another woman’s womb. When we chose to adopt him, we did not take the decision lightly.
This child became our son, someone who would receive everything from us that a biological child would receive. He was not and is not a placeholder for biological children, someone to “fill the gap” until we could have “one of our own.” In addition, saying that a biological child is a reward for adopting our son, makes it sound like a biological child is to be valued greater than an adoptive child.
Pregnancy After Adoption: God’s Sovereignty and My Own Emotions
Hearing and thinking about these comments, I become defensive. Externally, I’m attempting to protect my son from anything that seems like an attack on his value, even if it came with good intentions. What should bother me most though is the attack on God’s sovereignty, and not just from these comments, but from my own emotions. Internally, I’m struggling with the stereotypical emotions of a mom adding to her family, worrying about whether I can even love another child as deeply as I love my son. I worry about my son’s future, growing up as a transracial adoptee with a younger sibling who does not look like him. I’m worried about this baby’s health. I’m worrying about every symptom or lack of symptom.
If I believe that God is sovereign, then I must believe that He is in control of my family.
God is not surprised by this new baby any more than He was not surprised by my miscarriage, infertility, or the adoption of our son. Never could “just relaxing” or “just adopting” bring about the baby in my womb. God in His sovereignty joined us together with our son, and God in His sovereignty allowed me to conceive this child. We do not know the future for this baby, whether we will experience a healthy addition to our family or will be grieving the child we barely knew. We do not know the future for our son, but I have to trust that God is sovereign over his life as well.
Instead of angrily reacting to others comments and instead of worrying about my family, I have to continually repeat these truths to myself.
I know that God is good, He is with me, He loves me, He loves all of my children, and He is in control.
Resources For Those Experiencing a Pregnancy After Adoption