adoption · self-care

Why I Sometimes Delete Facebook #Adoptive-Parent-In-Waiting #strategies

Survival Strategy # 1: There are days (or weeks or months) when I delete Facebook from my phone.

It’s a self-help technique that I sometimes find necessary.

First and foremost, I sometimes find Facebook overwhelming with relation to the adoption wait.  There are way too many adorable babies and birth announcements and pregnancy announcements – and while I share in the joy of my family and my friends whose families are growing, it’s not necessary for me to see that the sister of the guy who sat next to me in high school biology just had a baby boy.  I wish them all the best – but, if I’m in a good mood and distracted from my adoption #woes, the last thing I need is a reminder that Our Baby hasn’t come home yet.

It’s not just the baby stuff, though.  The whole phenomenon of Facebook is sometimes overwhelming to me.  b99bb9ecabbaa40de552970f3939088eI know that people generally only post the best, happiest, most exciting things going on in their lives – but I can’t help it, sometimes looking at the best in others’ lives makes me think about what’s missing in mine.  And I find it way easier to just delete Facebook on those days than to access my self-confidence and my faith to combat those feelings of comparison or jealousy.

Luckily for me, I mostly use Facebook on my phone, so deleting the app from my phone means that I won’t check Facebook until I download the app again.  (Although sometimes I check it just to see if anyone has “liked” my blog posts!)  It’s trickier if you’re someone who uses Facebook via multiple devices, like laptops and iPads and desktop computers.

beefy-ecards-annoy-meThis week feels like a non-Facebook week.  The wait feels pretty overwhelming right now, and I think it is, for me and for Tee.  I’ve been doing a lot of ‘hiding’ on Facebook – not de-friending people, but hiding the posts of acquaintances with newborn babes.  Sometimes I think that this is avoidant or unhealthy – but not often.  Most of the time, I recognize that this is healthy and necessary for me – a strategy to help to get through the months of waiting that have passed and those to come.

adoption · self-care

#Adoptive-Parent-In-Waiting

There are days when I feel desperately sad and frustrated and done with this adoption wait.

Much of this desperation has to do with my own expectations.  I expected that our adoption wait would be shorter.  I expected that things would work out the way I wanted them to, and when they haven’t worked out according to my timeline, I get overwhelmed and I feel like something major is wrong with me or with my life.

My expectations are related to my sense of entitlement.  I think we all have a little of this in us, and it’s our job to do reality checks and to keep ourselves grounded.

Being a mother is not something I am entitled to; there are probably lots of people out there who want to be a mother and are not able to.  Being a mother before I am 35 is not something I am entitled to.  Being a mother without having to wait too long is not something I’m entitled to; when I am throwing myself a pity party, I remind myself that there are people struggling with infertility, people who’ve been waiting for their adoptive child for years, etc.  21-600x600

I keep reminding myself of a Cheryl Strayed quote; she included these words in a Dear Sugar letter to a writer whose sense of entitlement contributed significantly to her struggles.  “You don’t have a right to the cards you believe you should have been dealt with,” she writes.  “You have an obligation to play the hell out of the ones you’re holding.”

Sometimes, I am so busy worrying about when Our Baby will come or why Our Baby hasn’t come yet that I forget that life is still going on all around me.  The game of life isn’t on pause while I wait; I’m living it.  And I have so, so much to be grateful for.

adoption

#Adoptive-Parent-In-Waiting #woes #hopes

The funny thing about documenting the trials and tribulations of the adoption wait is that once Our Baby comes home, not only will all these trials and tribulations seem and be worth it, I also will likely not even remember them.

This is something I’m extremely grateful for – my tendency to remember the good times in life and forget the bad and the stressful.

My memory can be funny like this.  In general, my ability to remember things varies; I forget to complete important tasks, but I’m great with names and faces.  (I often lament the fact that my long-term memory isn’t great; I don’t want to ever forget precious memories, especially memories I have of my dad.)

Anyway, at times when I find myself documenting the woes of the adoption wait, it seems a little ironic to me – documenting things that I will, most likely, quickly forget once Our Baby is home.

Alas, here are some of my woes:

Woe Number Eight: The whole ‘hurry up and wait’ phenomenon.

We attended our first information meeting with our agency, Adoptions Together, in September 2013.  Immediately following the meeting, we initiated the adoption application process.  It took us several months – from September through December – to get all of our paperwork completed and submitted.  Then, in January 2014, our social worker started our home study process, which involves her coming out to visit us several times, and even more paperwork needing to be completed.  The home study was completed, finalized, and submitted in April 2014.

Those eight months – from September 2013 to April 2014 – were busy and stressful, especially for people who hate errands and paperwork as much as Tee and I do.  I love that we are adopting a child, but I experienced a lot of anxiety related to having to be “approved” as adoptive parents.  So I was relieved and thankful once our home study was officially approved, because it meant the chaos of pulling paperwork together, as well as my anxiety over us being approved, could cease.

Then, after all that chaos and craziness, it’s time to wait.

And wait.  And wait.  And wait.  756

While our home study was still in process, the agency warned us about how hard the wait would be.  But I didn’t quite believe them.  I couldn’t imagine anything being worse than that anxiety and craziness.

And I wouldn’t really say that the wait is worse – but it is extremely difficult.  However – let me end this woe on a positive note – there’s no doubt in my mind that Our Baby is worth the wait.  🙂

Woe Number Nine: This woe isn’t always a woe, but it’s something interesting I’ve noticed.

In previous posts, I’ve talked about the effect of evil technology on the adoption wait – how I will refresh my e-mail on my phone constantly, like every two minutes, to see if there’s an e-mail from the adoption agency.

There’s a bittersweet moment that occurs every weekday.  It’s the moment when I realize that the work day is done – meaning that there will not be any more adoption e-mails coming that day.  Usually, it’s around six o’clock – the time that I imagine the agency social workers will be packing up their things and heading home for the day.  Sometimes, it might stretch to 6:30 or 7:00 in my mind, but never later.

That moment is disappointing, of course, because it means there will not be any news of Our Baby that day.  However – there’s also a sense of relief in that moment.  Not “thank goodness, Our Baby’s not coming today” – I never feel like that!  It’s more like: “You can stop checking your phone every two minutes.  Our Baby is coming, but there won’t be any more news about Our Baby today.”  On Fridays, it’s even more meaningful, because it means we won’t be getting any adoption e-mails for the next two days.

I am grateful, at those moments, to feel a sense of relief from my compulsive e-mail checking, relief which I am usually unable to grant myself.  I’ve tried taking my e-mail off my phone – I’ve tried putting my phone away, where I won’t think about it – but I always end up checking it regularly, and feeling a jolt of disappointment when there’s no adoption news waiting.

Sidebar: Listing these woes is incredibly therapeutic for me, but it doesn’t really fit with my efforts to be positive and to not complain.  For balance, I am introducing my Hopes!

Hope Number One: This past Christmas, one of my stocking stuffers from Tee was this adorable book called Mommy, Mama, and Me.  It is precious and sweet, and I can’t wait to read it to Our Baby.  (Or, to have Tee read it to both of us while we fall asleep together.  Yeah – that’s better.)

adoption

#Adoptive-Parent-In-Waiting

So I’ve been thinking a lot about the adoption wait process.  We’ve been waiting for a little over a year (about 14 months), and lately we’ve been getting an increased number of e-mails from the adoption agency with potential placements.  Which is great – because, you know, maybe that means Our Baby is coming home sooner rather than later?  But it also means that our whirlwind is getting crazier and more intense.

I’ve been considering compiling some of the lessons I’ve learned and stressors I’ve experienced during the wait in some way.  There are definitely books out there on adoption, but to date I haven’t picked any up that have really vibed with me.  So, we’ll see – maybe someday I’ll put it all down on the page and try to help other Adoptive-Parents-In-Waiting in an optimistic and light-hearted way.

This image encapsulates how I feel these days:

17661_10103167049234750_9182879348399406520_nI want to feel serene and peaceful and light-hearted.  I want my Higher Power to help me feel that way.  And I want her to hurry up and do it so I can enjoy my life!   Bluebird_in_Flight_by_princessmononokesan

I’ve heard that bluebirds are harbingers of happiness.  Nearly every day for the past month, I’ve spotted a bluebird (possibly an Eastern Bluebird, per Tee and our friend The Naturalist) as I’ve turned into the driveway toward our house.  I love bluebirds; they give me a jolt of joy like no other bird.  And I am hopeful that this bluebird is telling me that happiness is coming to our home.

adoption

#progressnotperfection #Adoptive-Parent-In-Waiting

When we have these adoption blips – these moments when there’s a potential placement – my tendency is to spiral.  I get super excited and hopeful and optimistic, and then, if/when the placement doesn’t happen, I get disappointed, dejected, despondent, and hopeless.

That’s not the way I want to feel.acttheway

I am going to attempt to exercise a resolution – act the way I want to feel – in order to more peacefully and calmly deal with these blips/heartaches/disappointments.

So – how do I want to feel?

-I want to feel prepared, not overwhelmed.

-I don’t want to be negative and pessimistic, telling myself This placement probably won’t happen.  But I also don’t want to tell myself, This is it!  This is going to be Our Baby!  (Which I frequently do.)

-I want to have faith that, whether or not this particular placement works out, Our Baby is still on its way.  Hope-Desktop-Wallpaper-1920

-I want to be able to wait for news without the kind of desperate attachment that ends in either agony or ecstasy.  If I have faith that Our Baby is coming home, then I can wait for news of a placement with some detachment; if the news is “no placement,” then this baby was not Our Baby, and I can be happy and thankful that this baby found Its Home.

This will be incredibly difficult for me.  But, the next time a potential placement is in the mix – a blip on the adoption wait radar – I will remind myself of how I want to feel, and I will do my best to act that way.