Bill and I engaged in what I call “advanced family planning.” We decided to both adopt and make kids from scratch. My most vivid experiences of God’s voice all had to do with adoption. The first came years before we began the process and happened during open worship. I felt a voice very unlike my own – very decisive and commanding – saying to me that adoption would be something that would happen in my life. I was extremely moved.
A couple years later we started the process and I had a very similar experience in open worship. This time the voice said that having a relationship with the birthmother was part of the plan for me. Again, I was extremely moved. The third experience came after we put in our name for a group of three siblings and wondered if we should pull out of consideration. At work, I felt the voice of God telling me to feel confident about our abilities and stay the course. We were not chosen for those children, but a few months later were chosen for two preschool aged sisters.
Our plan was to take a year to settle our new daughters before working on a child from scratch. As the end of that time grew near, we did not feel clear to add more children to our family. We had two wonderful daughters who absorbed all of the physical, emotional and financial resources we had to give. While I wanted to experience pregnancy, childbirth, and having a baby, that did not feel like a good enough reason to add another person to the planet. I really wanted to make a decision and proceed to either try to become pregnant or to give away the baby clothes I spent years collecting at garage sales and be at peace with closing that door.
I yearned to feel the voice of God again. It made sense that, because I felt such clear guidance about adoption, I might also be given a leading about whether or not to have a baby. I didn’t, and I anguished about that – why wasn’t I getting any kind of sense like I did before about adopting; how long to wait for God’s word. A wise friend suggested that maybe I wasn’t hearing any direction from God because both options were good. That advice caused me to stop eagerly waiting for God’s direction and feeling pressure to figure out the “right” course of action. I felt we could simply focus on what we wanted to do, although we still couldn’t figure out what that was and spent a couple more months in discernment.
Eventually, we felt ready to make a final decision. We talked about how we felt so fortunate to have our two wonderful daughters and wanted to give them everything we could. Together, we decided not to add children to our family. Unbeknownst to us, I was already pregnant with Emily.