Decisions are hard to make and even though I like to joke that I can easily check YES or NO on your life's big list, the truth is, I can't.
I'm not able to fathom what you are going through and the decisions you are having to make. I haven't been in your shoes. But you did ask my opinion so I'll share it with you the best way I know how--with my experience.
I was completely finished with school (ha, ha, ha) before I had my first child. I loved my job and thought I would continue working even after the Divine Miss M was born. However, it soon became evident that I loved my child more than the children I worked with AND my entire paycheck merely covered childcare and the commute cost. Simply put, it was more financially sound for me NOT to work. Of course we had to move but that seemed worth it since I got to be home with my baby.
I loved being a stay-at-home-mom! There was something to be said about being there for first steps and first words. Sometimes, however, I got really lonely and felt like I needed something just for "me." So I started school again and this filled a "void" for me.
Baby #2 made school a bit trickier but I made it work. And then I started working (very part time) again. On one level it is so fulfilling to be intellectually engaged and to be using my gift of teaching but then there are times when Paxton would rather be held by Beth than me and it makes my heart sad.
Right now, as I near the end of my coursework and my degree is on the horizon, I feel this "push" to go back to work. Why, after all, would I have this degree if I don't use it? I keep imaging all the things I could do with a full time salary--new cars, new clothes, pay off our house in a few years ... All those scenarios are tempting--oh, so tempting!
Then I catch Paxton and M.E. playing together, giggling and asking me to join in and all of a sudden, those cars and clothes and mortgage payments don't matter. Some day in the not so distant future my children won't think I'm awesome. They won't want to play with me. They'll be at school and friend's houses, and activities and I'll look back and sigh wishing, most likely, that I'd spent more time with them. I honestly can't think of one situation where I would say to myself, "Gee, spending all that time with my kids was a complete waste of time!"
So, completely ignoring financial obstacles like house payments, student loans, and possible looming adoptions, I would say, you will never regret spending time with your little girl. In a year your college coursework will still be there but you can never get back a moment of time with your child.
As to the other child your heart so desires, this gets much more complicated. Adoption is so much more feasible when there are two incomes to pay for it. You don't want to finish your degree and get a job to pay off your house or buy a new car. You want a good job to pay for a child! So I feel like your heart is stuck--do I forsake time with my first child so I can afford the second or do I forgo pursuing adoption so I can spend time with my little girl? This is a quagmire I can't contemplate.
When I have tough questions to answer my "go to" thought process is: "What is the legacy of my decision?" For example, when I stopped working, the legacy with work was that I wouldn't affect students any longer; however, I was confident some other excellent teacher could fill my shoes. The same can't be said of my role as mommy. My legacy staying home, however, was HUGE!
In this instance, I feel like your legacy will be huge either way.
I've often wondered, when we seek the will of God, if we put Him in a box too much--like there is only "one way" for our lives to go and if we mess that up then we are forever ruined. What if He loves us so abundantly that He has many paths to His will for our lives?
Does this thought make the decision easier? Probably not. But hopefully it helps you know that He loves you and when you are stuck between doing one thing to be a good mom (of one) or doing another thing to be a good mom (of 2-20), luck might have it that BOTH ways are acceptable.
It's scary but we just have to take steps of faith when we don't know what's out there. We have to trust that all things work together for our good.
Whatever you decide please know that you have the loving, non-judgmental support of moms who have made great sacrifices for our children.
We understand the difficulty of your decision. We appreciate your humble heart as you seek wisdom and advice.
I don't know what's in store for you but I know that I love you! Even though I can't make these decisions for you, I hope that by knowing I am here for you either way, your burden will be lightened.