This evening I would like to share a post from Jenn Hesse. She is a writer, wife, and mother through adoption and pregnancy. Jenn is the content director at a national infertility support ministry called Waiting in Hope, and has a passion for equipping others to know Christ through His Word. She writes at jennhesse.com and other Christian publications. Jenn and I connected through social media and I have been so encouraged by her heart for helping others through the infertility ministry and other avenues. She is an excellent communicator, writer, and I know you will be encouraged by what she has to share with you this evening.
The moment the nurse placed him in my arms, I knew we belonged to each other. All the tears and frustrations of the past several years pooled into a fountain of joy. Now I understood why God has us wait for a baby: So we could have this baby.
After my husband and I struggled with infertility, the Lord blew us away with His kindness and matched us with a loving birthmother. Through her brave choice, He gave us a son.
People were happy for us. They threw us showers, brought meals, and eagerly cuddled our son. Yet amid the celebration, we heard comments hinting at something better to come. A wink here, a nudged elbow there, the crack of a smile implying special intuition. I cringed every time someone uttered the words:
“Now that you’ve adopted, you’ll get pregnant. It happens all the time.”
No. No, it doesn’t happen all the time. Research on pregnancy after infertility doesn’t account for couples who adopt before getting pregnant. From a scientific standpoint, this idea is a myth.
People who say this mean well. They’re trying to give you hope that your longing for a biological child will be fulfilled. What they don’t understand is that this myth devalues adoptees. It regards the process of adoption as inferior to biological procreation, and an adopted child as less desirable than a biological child.
Regardless of good intentions, statements like “Just adopt, then you’ll get pregnant” hurt people. They question couples’ family-building decisions, treat children as a means to an end, and reject the core Christian belief that God created all human beings in His image (Genesis 1:27).
Every life matters to God. He calls us as His image bearers to respect and preserve the dignity of every single person. No matter how a child is brought into a family, he or she is worthy of value to the Lord and to the world.
God grows families through both pregnancy and adoption. The varied makeup of the earthly families he builds reflects the diversity of our spiritual family. We come from different backgrounds, far-flung places, and widely ranging walks of life, all broken and in need of rescue. By sending Christ to die in our place and raise to new life, God gave us the right to be called His adopted children. As He welcomed us into His family, so we can embrace and appreciate the mosaic of families he forms in the world.
Through earthly adoption, God does more than unite parents with children. He provides a path to redeem some of the damage the Fall inflicted on childbearing and family unity. He takes crises like infertility, unexpected pregnancy, and children who are orphaned or otherwise at risk and transforms them into opportunities for restoration.
As with any earthly process, adoption isn’t perfect. It can’t completely “fix” these problems. Yet the creation of a family born of loss renders hope for a broken world groaning to be made anew (Romans 8:19). Like with our spiritual adoption, we need earthly adoption to claim the family wholeness we crave.
Viewing adoption as secondary to biological procreation diminishes a beautiful process whereby God works redemption. Rather than a lesser means to a better end, adoption is a resolution, a responsibility, a calling, and a gift. It’s an end unto itself and should be appreciated as a providential plan. John Piper describes the intrinsic worth of both ways God designs a family:
“In our lives, there is something uniquely precious about having children by birth. That is a good plan. There is also something different, but also uniquely precious, about adopting children. Each has its own uniqueness. Your choice to adopt children may be sequentially second. But it does not have to be secondary. It can be as precious and significant as having children by birth.”
Although it’s rare, some couples do get pregnant after adopting. It happened to us. I have no explanation for it, other than to say God worked another miracle after the first miracle of bringing our oldest son through adoption. We’re grateful for how he formed our family using different paths at different times.
Wherever you’re at on the path of adoption, be prepared to encounter the myth that adoption leads to pregnancy. Even if infertility isn’t part of your story, you’ll hear it tossed around as a platitude or joke.
While it’s frustrating to be told such a harmful cliché, try to approach the situation as an opportunity to educate others. Tell them that a child who is adopted isn’t a consolation prize for parents who couldn’t conceive. Give them a clearer picture of adoption, acknowledging the risks and flaws while also highlighting the value and beauty of this path.
Ask the Lord to give you boldness and gentleness to correct the myth. Help others see the glorious ways God chooses to grow a family, that they might glorify your Father in heaven.