Becoming a mom is this crazy phenomenon. One day you’re taking care of yourself, the next day… boom. You’re in charge of the welfare of a completely dependent, little life. It seems strange that we ask for this! We hope for it, pray for it, long for it. And so… we plan for it.

I have the privilege of experiencing motherhood. I have a child who is biologically ours and children who are ours through adoption. Each time, I’ve felt the urge and need to plan and prepare. Certainly there were different ways I did it each time, but “nesting” was something that I embraced. I cleaned, I organized, I threw things out, I brought things in. I prepared the best I could to not only have a safe home, but also a home that was filled with love.

Nesting as an adoptive mother is different, though. It felt strange preparing for a baby that may never come, and so I was cautious in how much I did. There was also a feeling I fought, that I didn’t deserve to nest. Somehow, I believed that the excitement and joy I felt in preparing for a baby was cruel because the cause of my joy was obviously someone else’s deep grief and pain. I couldn’t help but think of the expectant mothers who would only gain the title of birth mother through this experience. They would be losing a life that they took care of. My gain was their greatest loss. That was a painful realization for me and so nesting wasn’t always a joyful work. And yet, I carried on because creating a home for a new baby is an instinct.

My husband and I have four children. We aren’t actively seeking adoption at this time. And yet, even now, I fight the urge to nest. I don’t have the prospect of having more children right now, yet I am drawn to preparing our home. It’s as if I feel the need to always be on-call. Perhaps there’s more to it. Maybe I don’t feel ready to be done yet, or maybe there is something deeper working in my soul right now. But what I do know is that I have never regretted the times I have spent creating my nest for our children. Even those times when I had the clothes washed and ready for new baby, and then had to pack it all up again, looking back I don’t regret it. Even though those failed placements were some of my most painful moments, that process and packing away items was healing in a way that I would have never expected.

Will you nest as an adoptive mother, yes. It is natural and beautiful. It doesn’t matter how your children come to you–biologically, through adoption or the foster care system–you are a mother. You want what’s best and you want to create a nest for those little birds where they are protected and safe. Nest. Embrace it because it is a privilege.