We were going to be pregnant together, my oldest sister and I. I was due September 4th and she September 6th. This was particularly exciting given I’d had a miscarriage the month before and she had two before considering fertility treatments. For my sister and her husband there was another aspect of importance. My brother-in-law, who had been adopted at birth, would finally have one blood relative—something he thought he really wanted.
Imagine the blow when my sister miscarried—again. She and her husband now needed to decide what to do next, and I felt the guilt of carrying my child to term “without her.” The fantasy I’d had of calling her every day to share our experiences—our sonogram visits, the first kicks felt—fell away like sand through my fingers. I also knew the birth of my child around her uncompleted due date would be, for her, a poignant moment of grief.
Then God lay on her heart to adopt. Because of her husband’s desire for a blood relative, this idea had previously been pushed aside. But God had other plans for him.
My sister researched some organizations and settled on the idea of an open adoption. She and her husband attended an information session to learn more. They sat through stories from adoptive parents about their experiences. They listened to them recount the same fears and insecurities my sister and her husband had about adoption. They also had a chance to experience the unfathomable love these parents had for their children.
This touched my brother-in-law most deeply. You see, he’d grown up in a family where one sister had been adopted, like him, and the other had not. You could imagine the lingering questions he might have had about his parent’s love. But now, he heard the depths of emotion these people had for the children “not of their blood,” allowing for a better understanding of his parents’ love for him.
God is amazing, isn’t He?!
They decided to adopt then and there. And God continued to show Himself as only He can. Within months, they were chosen by a birth mother whose first name also happened to be the same as what they’d planned to name their child. She also loved animals—which further endeared her to my sister—and her due date was the same as one of my sister’s miscarried pregnancies. Their only concern came with the knowledge that this young woman had epilepsy which required her to be on heavy medication. However, she chose to reduce the amount she normally took in order to lower any potential impact it might have on the baby she would not raise.
That September my son was born. My sister and her husband came to “meet” him and held him, not with the knowledge of what they would NOT have, but an expectancy of what was to come. I mean it. I have the pictures. You can see it in their eyes! It was exciting for us all.
Then the birth mother went into very premature labor. My sister and her husband, whose goal it had been to be there for the birth, flew out to Texas just in case. Doctors were able to delay the birth, which was good because the baby’s lungs were not yet completely formed, but there was no guarantee for how long. So my sister stayed.
You may not think it a big deal my sister stayed in Texas for a month by herself, but considering she’d suffered from agoraphobia (a fear of public places) not too long before, it was. Somehow, God was working in the details and strengthening her every step of the way. My sister is now a mental health therapist herself.
My beautiful niece, who I like to call “cousin peanut” (cuz she was shaped like one back then), was born on Christmas Eve. A joyous holiday for my sister and her husband, but one the birth mother will not remember well, because she had spent most of that day either having a grand-mal seizure, recovering from the effects of it, or being run through neurological tests to assure her wellbeing. All this because she had chosen to reduce her medication so much. She had put her health at risk so this little “peanut” would have a better chance.
No one can say my niece is not loved! She was loved first by the woman who risked much (in the age of easy access to abortion) and gave her up so she could have a better life. She was loved by the parents who’d raise her every day. And she is loved by her extended family (us) who couldn’t wait to meet her.
My sister and her husband later considered trying to grow their family some more, but they chose not to. Why? Because they couldn’t fathom loving another child, biological or not, as much as they did the “peanut” God gave them that Christmas.