Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Elephant in the Room



“Can’t you have ‘your own’ children?”

I heard this today. Gil heard it last week. Others have been brave enough to ask us. But I’m quite confident that pretty much everybody wonders about it and doesn’t think it’s polite to ask.

The truth is, I really don’t mind being asked this question. Now….having it phrased like that isn’t exactly the best way to ask, since it implies that something is wrong with us or that somehow biological children would be more significant in some way.

But I certainly don’t mind talking about it. So. To answer the question on everybody’s mind, here goes:

I don’t know if we will ever have biological children. We haven’t been preventing it for over 4 years now, and when we lived in the States we were tested. There is nothing medically wrong that would prevent us from getting pregnant. I did get pregnant, once, about 3 years ago, and we lost the baby after only 8 weeks. We’ve never tried any method of treatment, mostly because we live in Africa and that’s not an option. But even if we were in the States, I’m not sure how far we would go down that route. Just getting tested was emotionally draining enough. And though the adoption process is long and difficult—as fertility treatments are—at least we have the guarantee of getting a baby at the end—which isn’t a guarantee during treatment.

HOWEVER, adoption has never been a “Plan B” for us. Both of us have been interested in adoption since high school. Both of us talked about it with certainty since before we were married. There was never a question of whether we would want to adopt.

We love adoption with a passion. It’s an incredible, beautiful illustration of God’s pursuit and love for us. Remember, none of us were born into God’s family! All of us were orphans. We were purchased from Satan at an enormous price—despite our own wickedness—and those of us who have accepted His incredible Gift of Grace have been adopted into God’s family. This is why we named our first child Grace.

Adoption is a picture of redemption. Orphans were never a part of God’s original plan. Yet adoption is a way of reversing the effects of the Fall. It is a high privilege. And it is definitely addicting.

Of course, there are “issues.” My children will never be entirely Tanzanian nor entirely American. (Though that would be the case even for biological children that we raised here!) They may struggle with their identity. They may struggle with wanting to know their birth families. But even biological children have “issues”—don’t we all? God never promised that parenting—or life in general--would be easy.

My prayer is that my adopted children grow up loving that they are adopted. That they would see God’s hand in their lives since their birth. That they would relish the uniqueness of their family. That they would have a deep and profound understanding of the gospel because of their adoption. I know this is no guarantee—no matter how “good” we are as parents. That is why it is my prayer.

Do I want to get pregnant? It was pretty important to me a few years ago. And even now, I would love to experience a pregnancy and birth and breast feeding. And if God wills that I never get to experience those things? Thanks to the grace of God, I can live with that. Because the enormous blessings I am experiencing through adoption are greater than I could have ever imagined.

And our next? Maybe from India! :-) For some strange reason, the Tanzanian government doesn’t usually allow permission for a third Tanzanian child (but we will try). But we love the idea of a multi-national family anyway.
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