This has been a week filled with thoughts on single motherhood and it's trials and blessings. I can tell you that after 11 weeks of motherhood I am NOT an expert. I have some opinions and have learned a lot though. Both of the adoption agencies I have used are requesting me to speak to families in the process. I have also be a co-facilitator in our single mother by choice group (SMBC). I am thrilled to be doing both and would love to do far more if it helps people make the decisions that are right for them.
There are several things to consider while debating becoming a single mother.
1) Is there enough money to support me and my child? It doesn't take a mountain of money but you should be able to clothe, feed and house your child without worrying about having enough money to still feed yourself. You can cut corners on preschool programs and sporting fees but think about what you really want for yourself and your child. Don't forget daycare can be very expensive.
2) Are you stable enough? Changes always occur but you need to know you have a job (or enough savings) to feel secure. You also need to know you are happy with yourself and your life and that a child will change it forever. My son is the greatest gift I have ever received. He is also the biggest challenge and toughest adjustment I have ever had.
3) Do you really want a child? If the answer is yes. Then examine questions 1 and 2. Find a way to make them work.
So why adopt a child rather than have one by birth? For many people the reason is simple. They can't have one by birth for whatever reason. That is not the case for me. I do not know of any reason I could not have become pregnant. I can say that I have never tried and don't know if I ever will. Here are some of the reasons I chose to adopt instead:
1) Look at my child's face! There are millions more hoping and praying that someone will say "Yes! I want to be your mom and I love you!" Right now, they can only dream of having a safe and loving home where someone claims to by their mom or dad.
2) Biology is not important to me. I don't care how my children come to me. They are my children whether they look like me or someone I don't know.
3) My children will take after me. No child becomes their parent whether they are adopted or not. They may have similar personalities and looks but they are not clones. Scientists continue to debate how much of who we are is related to biology and how much is enviornment. What is clear is that my child has inherited traits from his birth family and me. I will continue after death in the future generations through the lessons and values I teach my children.
4) I know my child doesn't have many feared birth defects. He has lived long enough to prove that. He isn't missing any limbs and he can move his body. Does that mean I love him more than if he were disabled? Absolutely not! It just means that I can have very good odds of having a healthy child.
Adoption isn't for everyone. Some people have a strong desire to see their genes passed on. Others really want to experience pregnancy and their children's first moments. For those who are considering it and financially and emotionally stable, do it!
I hope to someday give my child a sibling. I will take the challenges of adoption and do my best. We have already overcome the first stages of grieving (he will probably grieve his Ethiopian family and life many times over the years.) I became the mother of a walking active 22-pound child in moments. I didn't have the opportunity to grow stronger as my child grew bigger. He already has a personality but then again so do all children. I can no longer just go to the movies or a nice dinner theater. I have to plan more just to leave the house. I am no longer able to do what I want every time I want. Every challenge is worth it.
When is the next child coming? I wish I could say next year. I can't. I cannot say I am ready for another child. I am stable but I don't have the money. I have already begun saving but it will be a few more years. The first adoption took almost all of my savings and it will take awhile to build it back up. I also cannot afford daycare for another child right now. When the time is right, I will adopt again. Until then, I keep looking at the waiting children and dreaming of the day that I can have another one. I also remember how blessed I am to have the one I have now.
I know that when God is ready, I will have another child. I don't know if this child will be by birth or adoption. I don't know if it will be an infant, toddler or older child. I don't know if I will adopt domestically, internationally or choose to become pregnant. Those are all questions that I will find the answers to later. God will show me who my children are and I will be ready when He calls.