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A Different Kind of Pregnant

Imagine, if you will, that you have been trying to get pregnant for a few months. Things seem to be moving along just fine, and you and your partner’s health have been excellent, with no cause for concern. Still, you’d like to have a little check-up with your gynecologist, just to make sure everything is on the up and up. You go in for the appointment, flip through some brochures in the waiting room, and finally are called back. Your OB/GYN does the exam and smiles at you. “Not only is everything here good to go,” she says, “but you are already pregnant!”

Stunned, you stumble down the hall for a sonogram, where the tech smiles at you and says, “Congratulations!  Your baby is measuring at 30 weeks. Let me call the doctor in, because there’s something here that concerns me.” And just like that, you are on your way to bringing home a baby with medical special needs in ten short weeks. That was where we were April 9. Today, we are in the middle of piles of paperwork and packing. Our baby is three and a half months old, and she is waiting for us in Ethiopia.

This is our second adoption, and it was very much planned. My husband, Jarod, and I brought our daughter, Zinashi, now five years old, home from Ethiopia in October 2010, and we knew from the first day we held her in our arms that we wanted to do it all over again. Because we had gone through the process before, we thought we knew what we were doing this time. I honestly and sincerely thought it would be way easier this time around, despite the fact that we were open to a lot more special needs than we were last time. Adoption processes in Ethiopia are moving slowly now, and I was certain that this would be an adoption during which I could take my time and savor the moments. I couldn’t have been more wrong, but I couldn’t be more thrilled.

We will call our littlest daughter Elvie, and I am excited to share the story that is bringing us together here on Being Pregnant at Babble. Adoptive families often compare their family building experience to pregnancy, though without many of the physical changes inherent in a traditional pregnancy (we can talk adoption weight gain and heartburn another day). In adoption, we can divide the phases into trimesters, just like in physical pregnancy, though in most cases, each trimester takes longer. When adopting, the first trimester is what is called the paper chase. The second is the wait for referral, and the third is the wait to meet your child. In Ethiopian adoption, there is generally a fourth trimester, after you have met your child and gone to court, but must wait for clearance from the US Embassy to bring your child home. In this adoption, our trimesters have all overlapped.  It’s all a jumble of paperwork and longing.

In the weeks to come, I’ll write about all of it here. How we began with Zinashi’s adoption. What brought us to adoption as our preferred method for family building in the first place. The surprises along the way. And sooner, rather than the later we anticipated, we will introduce our tiniest daughter to you. You are going to just love her; we already do.

Read more of our family story on Finding Magnolia
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