In adoption, just like the wait to become pregnant, you question whether or not this is the best path. Whether or not you will be a good parent to your potential child. This time is filled with questions, concerns, excitement and worry. When you finally get the match call, it feels like seeing your future on a pregnancy test- a jumble of emotions.
With pregnancy, there is a predictable "end date", with adoption no timeline is predictable. Each step comes with a wide range of potential wait times. None of which are in your control. Even the parts that are yours to facilitate, rely on others to return paperwork, notarize, review, process, etc.
Hearing word of the completion of the next step is comparable to an ultrasound in pregnancy (other than the predictable timing and personal scheduling). You wait and wait and wait for the day and when it comes you are so happy- riding a wave of pride and excitement.
With pregnancy, when people ask you questions about your child and when they will arrive, it is clear that you are the expert. You have all the answers. With adoption, you don't. You only know what others tell you. You are not the expert on the timeline, process, or even your child. This is the most frustrating difference for us. When others ask for news, our response is almost always, "We don't know". To not know is tough.
When you are pregnant you know that your child will come to you as an infant who will learn who they are in front of your eyes. They will grow with your love and support, turning into someone who has pieces of you within them. With adoption, your child grows with the influence of others and their love. They become their own person without you. When you finally come together, they are already beginning to become who they will always be. Everyone has to learn about one another in bits and pieces. It's not gradual and fluid, it is disjointed and full of trial and error. We haven't even experienced this piece firsthand, and yet we know it is to come.
|A care package packed with hope|
At the end of pregnancy there is birth. At the end of adoption there is "Gotcha Day". Both come with strong emotions ranging from pure love to deep fear. With birth you snuggle your precious baby and still feel exhausted, overwhelmed, and frazzled. On the day we take custody, I expect to feel all of these feelings as well. Babies cry a great deal in infancy, but you are the one that brings safety, comfort and relief. With our daughter, there will be many tears, but they will come from grief. I will not be the person who she wants comfort from. Instead of calming when I snuggle her, she will likely push me away, being sad and scared and feeling alone. Our relationship will have to grow in bits and pieces. The connection will not be instant. Although I will be on paper, I will not be her mommy in her eyes. I will be a stranger.
|All our babies are worth the wait|
Someday, I hope, I will look back on this process and remember it as I do each pregnancy. "It actually went by fast", "In hindsight, it wasn't that bad", "It feels so long ago". I have said all of these things referring to my pregnancies and their births. I hope that soon I will be able to say the same when referring to this wait.
There are so many ways in which pregnancy and adoption compare and contrast. Pure love is the biggest similarity. In both, your child is your child. You love them with all of your being, you sacrifice for them daily, you wait on pins and needles for the day your lives join. No matter how your children come to you, the love is the same.