Today's post is by Natalie Brenner. Natalie is a full time work-at-home mom, photographer, and writer. She's currently working on a memoir on loss, grief, and grace-in-Jesus. Natalie has a son by birth and a son by adoption who are a little more than four months apart in age. Natalie, her husband, and her children reside in Portland. Read more about Natalie and her family on her site.
Adoption was the means we chose to grow our family, even before we tied the knot.
We weren’t too surprised when two years had passed and I was not pregnant; I have autoimmune diseases and a list of diagnoses: a broken body. Sometimes our bodies just don’t work the right way.
As we emailed back and forth with an adoption consultant, sifting through the multitude of paths to becoming a family for a child through adoption, we decided domestic infant adoption was our first path.
Surprisingly and suddenly two lines resembling a positive pregnancy test appeared and the gift shocked us; we had yet to sign papers instigating the adoption process and wanted to take special care that we “spread the babies out,” so we halted the process of adoption. Too soon, we said goodbye to that tiny baby first conceived in my womb. The surprise of the blood was gripping, halting me in time, shaking me to my core; I was not ready to say goodbye.
Papers were signed, expectancy declared yet again, and we were on the official journey of domestic infant adoption. I was surprised by how weighty the wait became, how intense the “presenting” was, how much information we were given about expectant mamas making an adoption plan. I was surprised at how people rallied around our adoption journey, bought our t-shirts, donated to our garage sales, and supported us in big, tangible ways. I was surprised how a village of people so easily wrapped their hearts around a baby we had yet to meet, waiting in anticipation right there with us.
I was surprised to see those two pink lines again, 6 months into our adoption journey. But I wasn’t surprised when we knew in our hearts, we were going to still adopt, even if that meant we had two babies ridiculously close in age. I wasn’t surprised that our hearts had wrapped around a baby we had yet to meet, a family we had yet to meet, and adoption as a whole.
20 weeks into this second pregnancy, a mama had just delivered her son and chose us to be his parents. I was surprised that my pregnancy didn’t phase her, that she just knew we were to be his.
As he was placed in my hands by his first mama, I was surprised at how natural it was to hold him there and stare into his almond eyes, to become his mama. I was surprised at how my soul wrapped around him so easily.
I was surprised how beautifully he fit into the Moby wrap, nestled right on top of the growing baby bump which was his brother. I was surprised by wondering how in the world my heart would be able to love another baby with the intensity that I loved our first born: was there enough room in my heart to love my second born this big?
I was surprised that my heart did grow, that I loved my second born differently but just as much. Our bonding and meeting were hard, pain and tear-filled, but I loved him big. I was surprised at how right it felt to have two babies so close in age, joining us in two different ways, but neither less than the other. Neither more ours than the other. I was surprised at how my mama heart truly and genuinely loves them both entirely as mine.
I have been perpetually surprised along this journey. But the surprises are what make the journey unique. Some of the surprises may be hard and difficult, pain-filled even, but the surprises bring sweetness, too.
What surprises have you uncovered along your way, Sugar?