A couple of months after we said goodbye to A, D, and M, it became clear that we would not be able to adopt them. We were heartbroken, but after months of DCF drama and feeling helpless and stuck, we had a definitive answer- just not the one we wanted. We were pretty upset with the foster care system and didn’t feel we could emotionally handle other placements for a little while. Our case worker told us we could keep our license on hold for up to a year without having to start the whole process over, which sounded good to us at the time.
November came around and Sean and I talked about the possibility of having a child biologically. To be honest, I never really wanted a biological child. I have always wanted to be a mom, and I guess I assumed I would eventually get pregnant and have a baby, but it’s not something I put a lot of thought into. Foster parenting was always my main goal since I was a teenager, and I hoped to adopt too. Being pregnant, having a biological connection to my children, or having children that look like me and Sean are not important to me. I just want to be a mom. I spent years researching and reading about foster and adoptive parenting, preserving connections with bio family, transracial family issues, and how to care for children with traumatic backgrounds, and never read a single baby or pregnancy book. When it looked like we would end up adopting A, D, and M, we knew we wouldn’t have children biologically for a while, if ever. But now, back to just the two of us, it was an option to consider. I know that many perfectly healthy couples can take up to a year to conceive, and I knew that within a year we would be ready for either a pregnancy or to foster again. So we decided during our break from foster care we would not prevent a pregnancy and see what happens.
Well, we were both shocked when I got a positive pregnancy test on December 3rd. I just remember thinking, “Is this real? How many people get pregnant that fast?” (It turned out about 30% of couples conceive the first month of trying- though the study I read didn’t define “trying”). I was so happy that I called Sean and at work and told him over the phone instead of waiting for him to come home for lunch. Yet, while I was happy, I also felt like there must be a catch. Nothing good happens that easily for me. It was also sort of anti-climatic. That’s it? Just have sex one month and become parents? No paperwork, no home inspections, no classes or reading necessary, no late night placement phone calls telling you a child or multiple children are going to be at your house any minute and staying for who knows how long. It seemed too easy.
I wasn’t prepared for the wide range of emotions I was feeling, and still feel, about this pregnancy. Between the excitement and happiness, I was also upset, confused, and hurt. I spent months praying that A, D, and M could stay with us, but never prayed to be pregnant. Why would something I didn’t care about happen so easily but the one thing I wanted was impossible?
When we announced to friends and family, everyone was SO happy for us. Most had a vague idea of what had happened when the kids left, but we really hadn’t talked a lot about it. It seemed like most people thought this pregnancy was our happy ending, our “real” baby after testing out the waters with someone else’s kids- our way to move on and get over them. “You’re going to be such great parents!” we have been told over and over again. I understand that people mean well, and I try my best to take compliments for what they are, compliments. But every time I think, “Thanks, because being a stay at home mom of three for 11 months definitely didn’t make me parent.” It’s surprising to me how many people just cannot understand unconditional love for a child that does not share your DNA, or that parenting is parenting, no matter how you become a parent. I just wish people would be a little more sensitive with their wording. Also, to be completely honest, I would still trade this pregnancy to have A, D, and M with us. Maybe that makes me a bad person. I love this growing baby, but I don’t have a relationship with him/her yet like I did with them. Sean and I did things a little backwards from the perceived norm. Bio kids were our plan b. And just like people who come to adoption after infertility or bio kids wonder how they could love an adopted child the same way, I have wondered if I will love and connect with this baby the same way I was able to love and connect with A, D, and M.
I don’t want to come across as ungrateful, because I am so excited for this baby! I have many dear friends who have struggled with infertility and multiple pregnancy losses. I know I am lucky to be pregnant, and to have become pregnant so easily. I am excited to meet this baby and be his or her mom. I have been as careful as possible during this pregnancy to keep Baby S happy and healthy. I know I will love him/her. However, my love for this baby will never replace the love I have for our first kids. All of my kids will always have a special place in my heart that no one else can fill.