How Adopting First Impacted my Pregnancy Experience

I am so very thankful that God ordained our family the way it is. I love that Israel is our first child, and we are so thankful that God led us to adopt first before having any biological children. For our family, it is exactly how it should be. We knew adoption would change so much of our lives, but I didn't really think about how having an adopted child would impact the way I even viewed my future pregnancies. I posted a LONG time ago on adoption vs pregnancy (I think I should go back and update that post now that I've been pregnant!) and it is still true that the two means are hardly comparable when it comes to the physical and emotional journeys to parenthood.

Here are a few ways that having an adopted child first has affected my pregnancy experience:

1. I can identify with Israel's birth mom. We are really lucky that we know a decent amount of information on Israel's birth mom, like what her occupation was/is and some significant events that occurred during her pregnancy. I can imagine how those things impacted her and can empathize with her in the trials that she experienced during that season. Having felt my baby's kicks makes me think of her and how she felt Israel in her womb. I wonder about her emotions and I hope that I can explain to Israel how amazing it felt to feel Edith moving.

2. I realize the depth of the losses occurred through adoption. I missed so much of Israel's life, even though he came home at 7 months. I never got to feel his kicks or see his ultrasound picture. I didn't get to pace the neighborhood trying to walk him out or kiss his dimples the moment he was born. But on the flip side, Israel had a very eventful first few weeks and his birth mom had to experience something that resulted in Israel being adopted. There are so many losses in adoption, and my Edith is being spared all of that. I thank God for His grace on Edith but rejoice that God's mercies are new each day, and His grace is sufficient for all of us- Israel, his birth parents, and us. As I anticipate Edith's arrival in a few days, I ache for Israel's birth mom, and for time that was lost.

3. I'm humbled at the opportunity to have a pregnancy. Before going through the adoption process, my exposure to families who experienced infertility was minimal. Now that I am more deeply connected to other adoptive families- I know that pregnancy is NOT something to take for granted. Even a healthy child is something that is not something to expect. It is God's grace that Will and I were able to conceive so easily and that my pregnancy has been so easy. I don't understand why God has different paths for all of us and that for some families, the hurt of infertility or child loss is part of it. But I am aware that this pregnancy is a gift. It is not guaranteed.

4. Pregnancy is a lot easier than adoption. Now, there are exceptions to this! But I'm referring to our specific journeys- our 2 1/2 year adoption vs this 9 month pregnancy. For me, I have seen that pregnancy is way less expensive, less stressful, less emotional, and less time-consuming. It is amazing to me that after 39 weeks I'm going to deliver a baby, without having to take hours of mandatory parenting education, a home inspection, background checks, references, etc. The main inconvenience of pregnancy is the physical discomfort of carrying a child, gaining weight and swelling.

With all of this said, I again must praise God for ordaining our family and for allowing us the opportunity to anticipate and parent two children. Each of our kids already has an amazing story and one that the Creator alone could orchestrate. I am grateful that God is sovereign. We don't have a set plan for our future children but I am thankful that I got to have a pregnancy experience. Even if the rest of my kiddos do not come from my womb, I will be able to tell them that the neatest thing in the world is feeling the flutter of a baby for the first time or hearing the heartbeat of a baby at just a few weeks pregnant. They are miracle babies and even if I didn't get to experience it firsthand, I know that it is true that God knit them together and they are wonderfully made, right from the start.