Q: Was adoption your "Plan A"?
A: Well, since you asked...
You probably saw this one coming. It seems that it is a right of passage for adoptive parents to write the "Plan A" post. You know, the post where they explain that adoption wasn't a fallback plan, wasn't a second choice, wasn't a compromise. The post where they explain how very much in love with adoption they are... not just in love with their child, but with the choice to adopt.
For most adoptive couples, this is a fairly straightforward post. Often, the post will include an explanation that adopted kids are just as much "our own" as biological kids. The "ownership" of children is a frequently-addressed topic, and parents explain how very much this child will be "theirs" despite the lack of a biological connection. It sometimes includes a reference to the very intrusive questions that well-meaning but ignorant people sometimes ask, especially those questions about the boy parts and girl bits that are involved in making a baby, and the potential for exploring fertility treatment. This is understandable, as reproduction is the more traditional way of expanding a family, and many of the non-adoptive circle are just plain curious why that route would not be pursued, or at least perused.
Almost every "Plan A" leaves me nodding along in agreement, and a few even leave me with a tear glistening in my eyes. They speak to the great truth that all people are equal and worthy of love. They speak to the call we have to love- the charge to look after orphans. They speak to the choice involved in love- a choice to love a child just as you choose to love your spouse. They are life-affirming and love-affirming. They are the posts that touch your heart and change the way you think.
I can't write that post.
Why? Well, primarily because at this point, reproduction is not really a valid form of expanding my family. I mean, yes, I assume that if I wanted to become pregnant, I could. I had some complications at the end of Abigail's pregnancy, and I've had some concerning health issues since then, but with modern healthcare, there is no reason to believe I couldn't conceive and carry a child. I probably could. At least, all my doctors think so.
But, being single, while it is technically possible, it is not really probable. I am already not enjoying trying to share the parenting responsibilities of my daughter with a man that is not my spouse, and I really don't want to go down that road again. If I were to re-marry, I would consider bearing a child from my womb (although, the appeal of that option is limited) but until I an married, why would I want to invite another person into my life in such an intimate way?
So, when it comes to adoption, it would be wrong to say that it was or became my "Plan A." That implies that there is a feasible "Plan B." In my situation, I wouldn't say that there is a feasible "Plan B." There is just "The Plan." Adoption. At the same time, indicating that adoption is "The Plan" simply for lack of an alternate plan is an unfair representation of my feelings towards adoption.
Q: So, what are your feelings towards adoption?
A: How much time do you have?
My feelings towards adoption are complex and evolving. When I first started out on the adoption journey, I found myself frustrated when I reached the point where things were "out of my hands." With pregnancy, there is always something I could do- go to doctors appointments, eat right, exercise, read to my bump... With adoption, there's a lot of doing nothing except waiting. I found this frustrating at first, until I realized that adoption really took the focus off me and my abilities and put the focus onto God and His sovereign nature- His perfect plan and His ability to work all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
At the same time, I've been able to appreciate a lot of things about adoption from the very beginning. Pregnancy was very hard on me physically, and after I gave birth, I suffered a very intense post-partum depression. From the very beginning of the adoption journey, I have appreciated that I haven't felt tired, excessively emotional, or been puking non-stop the way I did when I was pregnant. I appreciate that growing my family through adoption does not put me at risk for post-partum depression. And I appreciate the way that adoption allows Abigail to be just as involved in the process of growing our family as I am!
I love the idea of adoption, even though there are times when the actual process of adoption is not my favorite. I love that adoption is a beautiful picture of our relationship with God: He loved us before we were even born, just like I love my daughter now, before she is known to me; He adopted us to Himself, to be His children and to share equal access to Him, just like I am adopting my daughter and she will be equal in my love and affection as Abigail. It's beautiful.
I could go on, but I won't (if you've read this far, kudos!) Allow me to sum up the point of this post: Adoption is a beautiful picture of God's love for us, and it is the method of growing my family to which God has called me at this time. This doesn't just make it my "Plan A"- it makes it something more and better than my plans- it makes it God's Plan. And that makes it just right.