Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Post-Adoption Guilt

Wow. This is another post that I am cautious in writing, because it is possibly going to ruffle some feathers. As always, I am writing with a spirit of honesty about my own struggles, not judging others.

Have any of you ever experienced guilt after giving birth to a child after completing an adoption? I don't know if I am explaining it right... Basically, I sometimes feel guilty for giving birth to another child, when I know there are so many children in the world (Ethiopia) that need families and who I would be more than willing to adopt. Don't misunderstand me; I know that John Andrew is the right child for our family right now, and moreover, I feel incredibly blessed to have been able to have a healthy and safe pregnancy and to have shared this experience with John and the girls. I love him immensely, and I cannot imagine a better baby.

But it doesn't take away from the feeling that we could have... or should have... adopted. (Although, since we just had our first wedding anniversary on the 26th of December, we actually couldn't have adopted since we didn't meet the 2 year marriage criteria, but I digress...)

I know that partially, these feelings stem from wanting to adopt again. I am not saying we are going to adopt again, but I would love to adopt again. It just may not be the right thing for our family. In that setting, still having a heart for orphans- especially those who are unadoptable- I am still trying to figure out my role in orphan care. As my husband's cousin said at our Christmas gathering... we are all called to care for orphans, so it's not a matter of if we are going to care for them, but rather how we are going to care for them. Adoption is a small piece of the how. But true orphan care is so much bigger than adoption. And I'm just not sure how I fit into that bigger picture of orphan care. I know my work with orphans isn't completed; adoption was not the end point for me- it was the beginning of a passionate love affair, to be honest.

I think part of the guilt is also related to the incredible expense of my pregnancy and birth, especially because of the complications/risks. That money (which, thankfully, was paid by insurance) would have been more than enough to complete an adoption (or 2- maybe 3.)

Another part may be that, truth be told, I didn't and still don't love the process of adoption... the paper chasing, the waiting, the uncertainty, the fears, the unknowns, the unpredictable nature of international adoption. In contrast, I loved being pregnant (except the heartburn.) I guess maybe I feel like knowing and expressing my joy in the pregnancy process somehow makes the adoption process seem less... fulfilling? or desirable? Which is silly, because while I am not sure I would want to be pregnant again, I would more than love to adopt again! I know this about myself- and I know that I don't view either adoption or pregnancy as "better" than the other, but I think the preference within myself leads to part of the guilt.

What do you think? Have you experienced this? Am I just crazy and hormonal?


Ashley said...

I'm glad to hear there is someone else who has these feelings. We have 2 bio kids, and adopted 2 from ET in May 2010. We are considering adding to our family again, and can't decide how! We both want another baby, and can't really afford an adoption right now, but have the same "guilt" that you describe, knowing (first hand) how many out there need families! It's hard after you've seen with your own eyes the need in the world...I'm with you, praying to find my place in orphan care...

Jedd Medefind said...

Thanks for this insightful post. Much to consider here, and you articulated it with wisdom and grace. I'm planning to post brief reflections and a link to this post on the Christian Alliance for Orphans blog in the next few days if I'm able. Thanks for sharing, and may God guide you as you discover how He wants to use you in broader work for the fatherless.

Anonymous said...

Hi Grace! It's Ema-The Cocoprincess' mom from my pre-adoption days of blogging. It's been a long time since I've read your blogs and am so surprised, thrilled, and happy that you have been blessed with a new addition to your already beautiful family!

As to the guilt-The Lord didn't bless you with the way your family has come together so that you could stress and guilt over it. You have been a blessing to so many people via blogs and the Ethio-listserve for the adoption agency until you deserve all the joy and love that is being poured out to you.

Grow in Godliness-Grow in Grace!