Friday, June 22, 2012

Paper Pregnant

Yes, we are adopting! And let me tell the last 2 years (since we really being thinking seriously and planning to adopt) I have learned so much. And I am STILL learning!

For me, there are 6 important things everyone should know about adoption:

1. Every family decides to  adopt for different reasons. We chose to adopt instead of trying to have a biological child together. Early in our marriage we found ourselves at a fork in the road. We knew once we started down one, there was no going back. We felt that, for us, adoption was the right answer. It's important to understand that everyone comes to adoption in different ways with very different emotions. Some women may feel hurt because their bodies "let them down" by not allowing them to carry a baby for 9 months. While a completed adoption is usually a wonderful and positive experience, many people arrived there through much hurt and frustration.

2. Adoption is tough. No matter what brings people to adoption or how they go about it-international or domestic, infant or older child, DSS or private adoption-it's rough. Lots and lots of paperwork. Our kitchen table is a mountain of paperwork. We've outlined our financials ("wow, we really should save more money!"), figured out where and how to get finger printed without committing a crime (warning- if you are adopting it may seem at times easier to go that route than try to get figure printed as an outstanding member of the community-but DO not do it!), to destroying our nicely cleaned pre-home study visit house trying to locate my original birth certificate (seriously, where is that thing?!?!).

3. The questions are never ending. We get questions all the time about where we are in the process.  Usually it's "Have you heard anything?" or "Do you know yet?" or as our little niece said "When you gonna get that girl?!".  People who are adopting will be questioned by a social work or child health worker on their relationships, their parenting style (hello-I don't have a kid yet how would I know?!?!), their health history...and the list goes on. Although frustrating at times, I know these questions are necessary to ensure we are providing our little one with a safe and happy home. And it reminds me that we are surrounded by people that care and are thinking about us.

4. Be understanding. I often feel like I'm living day by day. Hey, I may wake up tomorrow and have a baby! Being pregnant on paper is exciting but brings about many mixed emotions and at times, comfort eating (I can gain weight even if I'm not carrying the baby, right?). It's scary to not have a day care lined up or know what you are going to do about taking time off work. I feel (and probably look) frazzled at times trying to juggle all of this. So be gentle with us!

5. Birth moms are not bad (or scary).  No, they are not all drug addicts or teenagers. They are women. Women who got pregnant and decided they could not or did not want to raise their child. So they made a conscious decision to carry their baby to term and then give this baby's life over to someone who could take care for and raise them. Birth moms are human. And they deserve to be applauded and not condemned or judged. And by the way-both of us are moms. One of us is a birth mom and one of us is an adoptive mom. The phrase "real mom" is hurtful so just don't use it, ok?

6. Adoption is love. Despite the ups and downs, I'm not going to be thinking about all the paperwork or tears of frustration when I'm holding that bundle of joy in my arms. When it's all said and done, we will be a family with all the love to give and receive just like every other family ever created.

Maybe you know nothing about adoption and this has helped you learn more about it.  Or may be you have adopted and have your own list of things you'd like to share. Either way, please leave your comments below. I have met so many wonderful people through this process and they've really encouraged and inspired. Perhaps this blog can connect a few more people in this way.

If you are thinking about adopting, I would encourage you to read these two books:
Called to Adoption and Baby We Were Meant for Each Other
Both are quick reads but incredibly powerful and touching!