This post has been a long time coming, but for various reasons, I never got to it. I should probably just start at the beginning......
In my early 20s, I was diagnosed with a Not Serious Condition and at the time, my doctor told me I might have trouble getting pregnant (my current doctor, to her credit, never expressed doubt). Later, in my 20s, I watched a friend's marriage crash and burn over infertility (she wanted to adopt, her husband did not). So, these things weighed on my mind a bit when my relationship with X started to get serious and we began to discuss Our Future. It turned out that X, after having grown up in a 3rd world country and seeing children with no parents, wanted to adopt from the get-go. However, as a woman, I want to experience pregnancy and birth, if possible. Just once. So, we decided at that time to try and have a baby - if it didn't happen naturally within about a year, we would move right to adopting from India. We aren't against fertility treatments and such, but knew that route just wasn't for us. Regardless of how Baby #1 came to be, we planned to adopt Baby #2.
Well, I got pregnant with Arun after 2 months of trying. I am still a little stunned that it happened so easily and that here I am in 2006, a mother to a toddler. I had braced myself for so much more. SO, what happened to Baby #2, you ask? The plan for that was to start the paperwork process in the fall of 2007 - since we had a boy, we wanted to adopt a girl (we verified this was an okay idea with one of my adopted cousins). Obviously, in my current state of pregnancy, that won't be happening now.
But this is what compelled me to go ahead and write this post, even though the topic of international adoption for us is most probably moot now -- it has shocked and saddened me how many of my friends and family have hinted that adoption was a 2nd choice and a few even asked if we chose to go the pregnancy route because it was "better". Even worse, last week a friend said "Well, you can do your civic duty in other ways". I was too shocked to come back with a retort to such a ridiculous statement. Good God, X and I aren't running a charity around here! We just want a family. For us, pregnancy AND adoption are equally valid and special ways to build one - obviously, with different paths and challenges. For me, sharing chromosomes doesn't equal love. Sure, genealogy creates an interesting papertrail of familial history, but real family is built on experiences, memories, and often, good old-fashioned guilt.
So, what happened is this - X and I took risks and fooled around - because of our situation, I am fully aware that we had the luxury to do so. But, I will never, ever use the word"accident" because that indicates that an "Oops!" was involved. But, we absolutely did not "choose" pregnancy because it was a better route or that we would love a biological child more than an adopted one. Perhaps, I am just sensitive because my family has been cobbled together by so many adoptions, marriages, divorces that I learned at an early age the definition of "family" is a loose one, at best. For example, my favorite great-aunt P, is not related to me by blood as she is my great-uncle B's wife, but it doesn't make our connection any less special. Furthermore, one of my best friends from college cut me out of her life last year after she miscarried her baby right after Arun's birth. While I understand why she cut me off, honestly, I still cry over it. She was like a sister to me and our relationship had been through a lot of ups and downs. I am sure most of us can think of a friend or two who have become like family over the years.
As I just wrote about how much X and I wanted to adopt, I will admit this - I am very excited to be pregnant again. Pregnancy and birth are such a fascinating, exhilarating time (okay, except for the Hellish 1st Trimester and the Miserable Last Week). The first few days after Arun was born? I was so pumped up on adrenaline, I felt high and had trouble sleeping - I remember lying in my hospital bed wide awake in the middle of night thinking Wow....WOW....... If this pregnancy goes half as well as it did with Arun, I will be one grateful gal. Regardless of the fact that I am excited about being pregnant again, I never doubted that I would love my adopted child as much as my biological child. That was never part of the equation for me.
Anyway - I just wanted to be very clear that adoption was not a "lesser" or "2nd"choice. Yes, it was a different choice, but from what I have seen and experienced, regardless if you adopt or give birth - your hopes, fears and dreams are very much the same.