I realize my children are nearly 11 years apart and most people find that shocking. So you would think I wouldn't find it particularly shocking when my girlfriend whose youngest just started his senior year this fall announces she is pregnant. We both struggled with infertility after our son's were born and both assumed after so many years another child was not meant to be. And while physically that continues to be true for me, apparently God had other plans in mind for her.
It has me thinking about what it has meant to have a second child so many years later.
On the one hand John and I are the same people, my desire to raise my child and be present in every part of her life is the same as it was when Jake was little. I am just as committed to seeing my daughter raised in a Christian home and to know the Lord personally as I was with Jake. My mama bear is still always at the ready and I still let my kids watch too much TV and videos (although now they are dvd's).
On the other hand John and I are completely different people. We have tried and failed and tried and succeeded. Our experiences make us wiser and our lives richer. We have so much more to offer Isabelle than we had to offer Jake. We are more confident as parents and we are more relaxed. We know ourselves and we know our children. We don't care if you think our kids watch too much TV!
Since Isabelle came along things have changed a lot at our house. And while she wasn't exactly a surprise it was still quite a shock to our lives when she finally arrived.
I had a lot of fear about who I would be with new baby round 2. While I enjoyed Jake's baby years and childhood very much I also remember the insecurity and struggles for contentment that went along with those years. When I thought about having a baby again after so many years both the good and bad memories of those times flooded back. But I realized I did not have to go back and become the person I was at 23 just because I was a new mom again. And my needs were very different round 2. So while I enjoyed MOPS, cloth diapers, nursing and all the other new mommy activities that were part of round 1, I decided not to do them again with Isabelle. (Yes you can nurse an adopted child, FYI) Instead I looked at the life I had now and what I needed at this stage. I needed a child that could be mobile because we were a busy family and I had come to value the array of friends I had with children at every stage of life. Plus my siblings were now having babies and round 2 I got to share parenting with them.
I also worried about having to let go of my dreams. Did having a baby mean everything I had worked for and dreamt about for the past 11 years would be put off or never experienced? I did end up letting go of the real estate we owned and managed when Isabelle was born and I second guessed that decision for the first few years afterward but I have come to realize what a blessing that was as we sold right before the real estate bubble burst and avoided getting stuck with a very large backward mortgage we couldn't pay. On the other hand not only did I get to hold on to my dream of doing mission work in Africa, I got to take a 4 year old to Kenya! And while the idea of being empty nesters at the ripe old age of 41 had its appeal I have no regrets about raising children to the riper old age of 52. This was clearly God's plan all along.
So while I am certain this baby will significantly change my friends lives I know it won't change them and while their dreams may have to be altered slightly in the end God's plans will be even better than they imagined.
Once upon a time, my friend, we prayed together that God would give us the desire of our hearts, another baby, and here we are in our old age seeing God answer those prayers in amazing ways. We are blessed.
Delight yourself in the LORD;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.