Saturday, September 25, 2010

Creation v. Procreation

Admittedly, this may seem a little disjointed, but I have these thoughts that I really want to get down...and hopefully they make a little sense.

It's not easy creating a family -- no matter how you do it.

I've heard a lot of people tell me how much easier adoption would be for them. Having been through pregnancy, I can understand that to some degree. It's an emotional roller coaster at times. Let's face it, pregnancy for a lot of women isn't 100% glorious. It's amazing. It's incredible. And to be a part of that really is a blessing and life-changing. But it's also really hard. I'd say, for nearly all women who have gone through this process, there is some degree of discomfort, whether it's sickness, aches, pains...and let us not forget labor and delivery. There is a reason it's called labor. It's hard work, indeed. And when that is over, a new baby is delivered...and that mother also receives a bit of deliverance!

I've heard a lot of people tell me how much easier it would be to have a biological child and not have to go through the adoption process. Having been through that (and currently going through it again), I also understand this. It, too, is an emotional roller coaster at times.
Adoption is an enormous blessing in the lives of many involved in each placement. Lives are transformed. It's a miraculous process, adoption. One day, you are praying for a child, wondering when it will happen, wondering if it will ever happen... The next day, you get a phone call. And possibly, such was our case with Callie, within days a beautiful baby is placed in your arms and you're her mommy. It's a bit surreal and quite magical. But I would never say it's the "easy way out" in terms of creating a family. Sometimes, you just feel like you have no control.

It's a strange feeling to hope for a baby that someone else is carrying. While we were waiting for Callie, not knowing what each day would bring -- if anything, I remember thinking of all those birthmothers out there who selflessly say, "I'm doing this for my child." Everyday Marcus and I prayed for birthparents throughout the world. I remember, some days, thinking about them and just crying. And then, when a baby is placed in your arms...she's just yours? Just like that? It's so surreal. For me, I was filled with so much love. It was actually startling how deeply I felt upon first meeting and holding Callie. I received, what I believe, was immediate confirmation that Heavenly Father had been involved in this process and she, indeed, was the little baby girl who was supposed to be my daughter all along. It was an intense experience for me. It was strange though, partly because I was not expecting to feel anything really. So, that was my experience, but for some it can be...maybe uncomfortable is the word...until they actually bond with that baby. They don't quite feel like this baby is theirs. Things feel foreign perhaps, and strange. And that makes them feel a certain amount of guilt. Not surprisingly, that doesn't sound too different than some of my friends who have struggled with post-partum depression.

Is there an easy way to create a family? No. No matter how those children get to your home, it takes faith, hope, and tears. (Usually in equal parts.) But we must know the bitter to know the sweet right?

I've been thinking about this a lot right now because I feel surrounded by people who are pregnant or adopting. The truth is, when we want a family, aren't we all willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to create that family? And I've decided that the creation of a family starts once a baby is born and in the home in which its spirit is supposed to be. I'm not talking about the act of procreating...but the acts responsible for creating a family. Creating a home. Creating and forming futures.

I think we too often we focus on the procreation part. I've had many conversations with friends and even strangers about the woes of pregnancy ~ but also about the woes of not being pregnant. It's so hard when you want a baby, but you can't seem to make that work. It's confusing, especially if you are a woman of faith, to try to understand why you just can't seem to get pregnant when all you want is to have a family. For some, this can become an obsession. I know women who are so consumed with having a biological child, consumed with procreation, that they forget that they have a divine gift to create...not just procreate.

On the other hand, I've had one way discussions (because I usually don't say much during these "discussions" -- I just try to be sympathetic knowing they don't really mean what they are saying) about how they just wish they could adopt instead of being pregnant. "Oh Jenny, you're so lucky. No morning sickness. You did it the right way."

Let's be a little more careful with what we declare, shall we? Even though I may smile when people make those comments, it can irritate me depending on how sympathetic I'm feeling...because they don't know what they are really saying. To me, it's making light of something that, though it has blessed my life immensely and we will do it again and again (hopefully), I don't find easy...and I'm not sure how many people would choose the adoption process over the biological one. When people say these things, I think stuff like...What about our birthmother who does have the stretchmarks but no longer has that baby? She has a lot of healing to go through. And what about the waiting and prayers and emotional and spiritual stretching I've had to do for this baby? It may not be physically visible, but there's been a lot of stretching on my part...a lot of faith and hope stretched to the limit at times.

But you know what? When things seem to not be going so well, in my own definition of that anyway, regarding adoption, I selfishly allow myself to think, "if only I could just get pregnant...that would be so much easier." Plus, even though I was sick a lot, I remember liking pregnancy -- sure feeling Samantha move was a bit science-fiction-esque, but remarkable. And so I think this sometimes. I know it's not easy being pregnant, and I know that's not my Heavenly Father's plan for us, but still...I've been known to think it it would be easier than adoption. Hypocritical? Yeah. I doubt my friends who have had miscarriage after miscarriage would say pregnancy was easy. Or my friends who have gone through IVF in order to have their children would say that the pregnancy process was easy.

It just always seems so easy to do it the other way -- the way you're currently NOT doing it, doesn't it? Unfortunately, what is really easy is to get so wrapped up in our own situations that we forget that no one has it easy. But, I do forget. And I think I want it the other way...the "easier" way. But then I look over at Samantha, and I remember....and I look at Callie, and I remember. I remember my fabulously, and perfectly, written plan.

Our Father's plan, no matter which plan that may be, is always better. We aren't here to have a "perfect" life. We're here to transform our natural selves and our lives into perfected become more like Him. To increase our faith. To follow His example. It won't be painless. It won't be easy. But His plan is better -- for me. And really, I'm happy. And I feel blessed. And I feel like I really wouldn't be happier any other way. Right now, I really feel like I wouldn't be.

I'm grateful that my Father's plan for me involves creating a family here on Earth. Over the years, as we've started our family and first entered the world of special needs, and then entered the world of adoption, I've tried to complain less -- stop looking over other people's fences -- and just follow the Lord's path for me. The better I do that, the happier I am. I have a lot to work on, but today I can say I'm really happy...and I sure love my girls (and of course Marcus), and can't wait for baby #3 (if we E V E R get approved [more details on that later])!


The Nelsons said...

Jenny, I LOVE this post. We obviously haven't gotten to the placement phase of adoption yet, but I already feel the ups and downs of both ways to add to a family. I totally understand and agree with this - as well as the reminder to be happy no matter what. :) Thanks!

Julie said...

Wonderful post -- the grass is always greener somewhere else. This also reminded me of Pres. Monson's words of caution regarding judging at last night's conference. Whatever plan or journey we are on.. is our own :) Thank you for your wonderful outlook!

Nola said...

Thanks so much for the wonderful post! You are a lot more sympathetic and Christlike than I am. I know when people complain about being pregnant I get very uptight inside. I just want to ask them why they feel that sacrifice and loss of some perceived outward beauty is such an awful price to pay for that little baby.
I think you are in a place that Pres Monson would approve of. You have clean windows!

ady said...

Great post, such amazing insight you have :)

Shian said...

So true. Having been pregnant in the past and currently hoping to adopt, I can definitely say they both have their pros and cons. I'm thankful to have experienced both.


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