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When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I ran out to buy a beautiful journal. In it, I tracked the growth of my belly, doctor's visits, countdown to the due date, and of course the details of my labor and delivery.
When my husband and I began talking about having another child, I knew I wanted to keep another pregnancy journal. Our second child, however, did not come as planned. After secondary infertility and nearly seven years of trying to conceive we made the decision to adopt a baby. This "pregnancy" did not last nine months; it came without any what-to-expect guidelines. I was "expecting" all right, but certainly not in the conventional way. I could not relate to any of the available nine-month countdown journals. So, I decided to create my own.
Through my journaling and sharing with others in similar situations, I found that there are indeed somewhat predictable stages of an adoption pregnancy.
Stage One: Asking Yourself Questions
The first trimester, so to speak, of an adoption expectancy may take a few minutes or several years. Some men and women say that they always knew they would adopt; it was just a matter of when. I have also met couples who have been, and still are, thinking about adoption for 10 years. Still others, like my husband and me, make the decision easily to have a child and to try fertility treatments when unable to become pregnant. Pursuing adoption, however, was not as instantaneous for us.
My biggest fear throughout pregnancy with my first child was, Would I be a good mother? My biggest fear in my adoption expectancy was, Will I feel like this child's mother? Could I bond with a child not born to me? Would I treat my birth child differently, and would my adopted child grow up feeling injustice in our family? Worst of all, could I handle my emotions if and when my child wanted to meet the birth family? I feared my role as a mother would be short-lived.
Ask yourself what matters, a pregnancy or a child? Will I feel like less of a person if I cannot make a baby? Have I mourned the child we cannot conceive? Is adoption our last resort, or do we want it regardless of our ability to conceive?