Thursday, March 30, 2017

How the Process Feels

Every single day, I think about how blessed we are to have Liam. He came to us so suddenly and we will forever be grateful for his wonderful birth mother who placed the needs of her child ahead of her own desires. She has given us our greatest joy.

I've received a few comments recently related to the feelings that go along with the process of adoption. I've decided to address the emotional side of things for anyone who may want some insight.

Bringing a new baby home is the greatest feeling in the world, no matter how it happens. Biological or adopted, that is your child and the heart can hardly take one more piece of excitement. But with adoption, there are a lot of things that you feel before that moment. Feelings that sound the same as any other parent would experience, but which are actually vastly different. Anticipation, fear, disappointment, gratitude, hope, (did I mention fear,) stress, anger, guilt.... I could go on. Starting the process is stressful enough. Feeling like you're about to have every aspect of your life judged, knowing you have to meet so many requirements in order to become an "approved" future parent... it sucks. This is one place anger comes in. It's so hard overcoming the frustration of having to pay a crazy amount of money and meet all these expectations in order to become a parent, and yet there are teens, addicts, and people who just weren't even trying who are having kids every day! I swear almost every single person I talked to for the first couple of years said their pregnancy was a surprise. And all I could think at first was, "Shut. Up. Seriously. I'm gonna kill you." More anger! Your body rejects the fact that it's supposed to create life! You have to rely on strangers to make you parents.

Then there's the hope. Hoping that someone will like you and trust you enough to raise their child. Adoption has made me a better person simply because I want to be worthy of that trust. There's hope that it won't take too long to be chosen; hope that it will be as wonderful as you've heard (and it is.) So much hope.

Fear comes along with hope. There are so many back-and-forth moments! Before being chosen, there's the fear that you'll NEVER be chosen, or that it will take too long. After being chosen, there's the fear that they'll change their mind. There's fear of offending, fear of not knowing your place, fear of getting too excited too early, fear of someone talking the birth mother out of it at the very last moment, fear of everything! It tears you up.

When we were at the hospital with Liam's birth mom, we loved spending time with her. She was so great and we loved her instantly. She spent some time alone with her son and soaked in the 2 days she had to say goodbye..... And this was the greatest guilt I've ever felt. Taking her baby out of her arms and walking out the door, leaving the hospital, knowing she was back there and alone.... I cried. Adoption comes with guilt, whether we're prepare for that or not. It's heavy, and, although it eases up, it never goes away. The situations are different for different people, but how could anyone not feel sorry for taking away someone else's child? True, it was her choice, but she wasn't excited about it. A birth mother is the most selfless kind of person. I read something recently that said we shouldn't call them selfless because they "aren't selfless, they're just planning ahead." WHAT? No. Regardless of their plans, it is their desire to do what's best as a mother that drives them to place their baby with another family. So. Selfless.

The feelings of gratitude simply cannot be expressed. Grateful for this new baby, grateful for their mom, grateful to BE a mom, grateful for all the support of friends and family and even strangers, and - most surprisingly - grateful for infertility. Without it, your perfect child would never have come to you. I can't count the number of times I've thought, "I'm so thankful that the Lord said no when I begged to be pregnant." It doesn't mean you ever give up that hope for the future, but you learn to be happy in your circumstances.

I feel like I could write this forever. The emotions are endless. The purpose of my writing this is to shed some light on just how challenging, but rewarding, the emotional side of adoption is. Adoption is beautiful. People outside of the adoption world probably don't think much about what happens before the baby arrives in an adoptive home, but I think it would be nice if they did. If you know someone who is waiting, offer a listening ear. I promise they have a lot they'd like to say.