Note: This post was originally drafted months ago. Every now and then, as I’m dealing with my adoption woes, I add a detail or two to the post. I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to post it. Not all of my adoption woes are included here – but a lot of them are. And I am hopeful that soon my woes will be replaced with joy beyond belief.
When I was little, I always wanted to adopt, ever since I learned that there were children who were born without parents able to give them the care and love I’d been given. My heart was big and I was certain that adoption was how I would build my family; this was long before I realized (surprise!) that I would be in a same-sex marriage. 🙂
However, as an adult, considering the decision, I was much more ambiguous.
A lot of aspects of the process were scary and overwhelming to me. As a clinical social worker, I’ve facilitated adoptions. I had a good understanding of the massive amount of paperwork required, and the process by which adoptive parents need to prove that they have the potential to be amazing, above-average parents. I can be extremely sensitive and defensive, and I don’t like other people looking at my life and making judgments about it. So when Tee and I debated our options for growing our family, I wasn’t 100% pro-adoption. I thought the anxiety of needing to be “approved” as a parent would be difficult for me (it was), and I thought the waiting period for an adoptive placement would be agonizing (it is).
I am insanely and eternally grateful that Tee felt so strongly about us adopting. I’ve had a lot of time throughout the past year to think about this decision, to doubt myself, and to wonder if other options (in vitro, surrogacy) would have been better options for us, and I’ve come back around to the decision that I really made when I was only five or six years old – that adoption is an amazing and wonderful and beautiful way to grow a family, and that it is the way Tee and I are meant to grow our family. If Tee hadn’t felt so passionate, we may have gone down another path, and I don’t think that path would have felt as right and as good as this one does, painful as it’s been during this waiting period.
That said, here is a random list of my waiting adoptive parent woes, in no particular order:
Woe Number One: Every time we get a heads up (usually an e-mail) about a baby that might be our baby, my mind starts to wander. I think, Wouldn’t this be the best time of year to have a new baby? Wouldn’t this baby’s birthday be so meaningful and special to us? Wouldn’t this situation be so amazing and perfect?
And then, it doesn’t work out. So I have to either mourn the perfect situation passing us by, or tell myself that nothing was really perfect about that situation after all.
Woe Number Two: Inevitably, I run into someone who knows that Tee and I are adopting, but doesn’t see us or talk to us on a regular basis. Now, I am making an effort to cut down on complaining, so I will not focus on the people who ask us, hopefully, “Any news?!?!?!” They are well-intentioned, but inadvertently upsetting.
I will instead focus on those who understand that if there is good news to share, I will likely volunteer it within the first twenty seconds of our conversation. When those people do want to inquire about Tee and me and the adoption process, they say something open-ended, like “How’s it going?” or more direct, like “How’s the wait?” The answer to “Any news?!?!?!” is a big downer. Asking me how I’m coping with the wait is acknowledging the really hard thing I’m going through and giving me an opening to talk about it if I need to. This might be different for other Adoptive-Parents-In-Waiting, of course.
Woe Number Three: Technology sucks. Our initial contact from the adoption agency is always e-mail, and thanks to my fancy iPhone, my e-mail is always right there in my pocket. The e-mails from Adoptions Together go to my shared e-mail account with Tee, so any time there is a new e-mail in that particular inbox, my heart skips a beat, or leaps, or just gets really excited and joyful and hopeful – and then, it’s not our baby. Sometimes it’s bad news – we’re not getting a baby we’d been waiting to hear about – or, more likely, it’s some sort of article or evite or other junk e-mail. Getting e-mail spam has never been so heart-wrenching.
Woe Number Four: Landmarks.
All year long during 2014, my secret unspoken hope was that I’d be a mother by Christmas. It didn’t happen.
Every upcoming landmark is hard. Today, as I’m writing this, is Mother’s Day and I vaguely remember thinking, on Mother’s Day last year, Maybe I’ll be a mom by this time next year. I thought this way about Christmas, my birthday, Valentine’s Day, the birth of my baby niece – it’s impossible (I think?) not to think this way. Unless I just pretend holidays don’t exist until our baby comes home? (Just now, I got a vision of Halloween, a holiday I usually care nothing about. Will we have a little one to dress up this Halloween? Stupid landmarks.)
Woe Number Five: This woe is very specific to Tee and me, and I’m not sure if this is an actual thing, or if it’s just something I’ve made up in my head, but: Farmers Markets are FULL OF PREGNANT WOMEN.
Seriously. I’ve never seen anything like it.
I don’t know what it is, but I suspect it has something to do with waiting mothers wanting to take special care of their bodies by eating organic, fresh vegetables and meats. And, as I said, maybe I just made this up in my head? But the ratio of pregnant-to-unpregnant women in the world, compared to the ratio of pregnant-to-unpregnant women at farmers markets – THERE IS A SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE. I’m telling you.
This is lovely, obv – waiting mothers taking good care of their bodies and their babes. The only part that’s not lovely is when you’re an Adoptive-Parent-In-Waiting, and you’re a farmer, and you’re at the market with your wife during a down moment, and all you can think about is, When is our baby coming home to us? – and then you look up and your next THREE customers are all pregnant moms. Seriously? Is the universe laughing at me? (Of course not – it’s not all about me. #ProgressNotPerfection)
My joy and my hope are way stronger than my fear and my woes. And I can’t wait until the day when I can whisper into our baby’s ear, “You were so worth the wait.”