“You do realize, Mrs. Wood, that after today, it will be as if James were birthed to you, right?” asked the man questioning me in court the other day during our adoption hearing. “Are you serious?” I thought. To me, it felt like I truly had birthed him, and it was the Longest. Labor. Ever…to the tune of two years!
It started about a year and a half ago. I remember it really, really well. Sitting across from Tim, I boldly said, “I want more children, but I am absolutely sure that I don’t want to be pregnant again. Let’s start praying about adoption and see if it’s time to pursue it.” Unlike most women, pregnancy was not a blissful thing for me (and yes, I have spent time feeling guilty about this). Although I never had terrible morning sickness (thank You, Lord!), I certainly spent the first three months waking up to saltines on my bedside table and wondering if I was going to make it through the day. I remember with my second and third pregnancies terrible pain just from walking because I carried them low…or funny….or something. I remember not being able to sleep on my stomach, therefore not sleeping well for nine long months. I remember worrying about everything I did. I remember gaining 60 pounds. Every. Single. Time. Although I remember anticipating my babies fondly, it’s just not something I wanted or needed to experience again.
I honestly believed that adoption would be nothing like birthing a child. Man, was I wrong. When we first set out on this journey, I laid awake for nights in a row, thinking about the child out there who was mine, who needed us. I wondered what he looked like, what he sounded like, what it would be like to have him with us. I waited, both patiently and impatiently, while I nested uncontrollably. I cried at the drop of a hat when someone mentioned the word adoption…or hello…or cat…and though I didn’t physically hurt with this child, you can bet my heart hurt for him.
When we first got matched, it was as if I had just taken that pregnancy test. The exact same joy, anticipation, and just a touch of, “What have I done?” The first few weeks that James came to live with us were the hardest of my life thus far. I was so sick I literally couldn’t eat, and it had nothing to do with a virus. I was in the depths of post adoption depression, and it was not easy. I woke up each morning, unsure of whether or not I’d make it through the day. But every day, by God’s provision, I made it, and over time, James and I began to bond. I would sit him in my lap, cuddle him and rock him. I would hold his little hand as he fell asleep…all the things I did with my newborn babies. And while I haven’t gained 60 pounds, over the course of the last six months, I’m rounding the 20 pound mark. I’m an emotional eater…can you tell?
And then, there was the other day when the judge finally said, “He’s yours!” I had no idea that I would feel different at that moment. I thought that nothing much would really change, but my whole world changed with that one statement. As I fought back tears, I looked back at James, smiling from ear to ear, and it was as if the doctors and nurses had just placed a brand new bundle in my arms. Suddenly, I overwhelmingly felt that he was really mine. Forever.
So when the man questioning me asked,
“You do realize, Mrs. Wood, that after today, it will be as if James were birthed to you, right?”
…well, you’ll just have to forgive me for the chuckle that must have been at least a little bit visible. I have absolutely birthed this child. Maybe not from my body, but every last bit from my heart.
Adoptive parents out there who have never gotten to experience pregnancy, never, ever let anyone tell you that you haven’t experienced birthing a child. Adoption is absolutely, positively birthing a child into a new life. And just like the birth of a new baby, it is beautiful, incredible, messy, painful, amazing, and completely worth it.