Last week the agency called and I talked to one of the case workers. I was excited when the number came up on my cell phone, but quickly understood that it was not "the call" like I hoped and was just some questions. Questions I didn't know how to answer right away.
They had a birth mother coming in and wanted to show our profile, but there was one hitch. The BM was requesting that the adoptive family had a stay at home mom for at least three years. I told Lori (case worker) that I didn't know. It certainly wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility, but that I would have to talk to Charlie and let her know.
Charlie and I talked about it that night over dinner, and since he is the one who does our finances, he knows the truth. There isn't a way we could pay for the adoption and me stay home. It was sad to talk about. He asked if they could show our profile anyway, but I know they won't show profiles unless they match what the BM has requested. That way there isn't any pressure. I wish they could have shown our profile. Sigh.
I asked the other day on Facebook if all the mothers out there would still think about getting pregnant if it took two and a half years. Most said yes, but they did agreed it was a long time. I think most of us have written a post or two about waiting and what it is like and what happens when our friends have babies and pass us by and how that hurts some times. I threw a baby shower this weekend and was happy to do it, and didn't think about it much until someone wandered into the fully decorated nursery and wondered about our non-present baby. Yeah, the one that we're still waiting for...
It's hard to talk about with strangers sometimes, because they ask questions that I've answered hundreds of times. They are intrigued and interested about adoption and they think we've just started, and then I start talking and they realize that even though I'm upbeat, this process is really emotional, stressful, expensive and full of ups and downs.
So, that's the update from here. Again, if anyone has any tips/suggestions/advice let me know!
Grace in My Heart posted this adoption questionnaire and while most of the people who've answered it have actually adopted, I thought I would answer what I could. Helps me to think back about this journey.
1. How did you know when to begin the adoption process? After about two years of TTC and having it not work over and over, I had a conversation with a friend of mine, who said, "don't you think it's time to move on?" I had been longing to move on for a while, but kept on trying because adoption is more expensive than an insurance covered natural birth. Stupid reason, really, because I have always wanted to adopt and talked about it with Charlie when we were dating.
2. Did you ever feel like you failed at TTC (and were giving up "trying") so that's why you adopted? What suggestions do you have for those working through these emotions? I didn't feel like that, really. I was ready to have the burden off me. Adoption takes it out of my hands (and body). I was tired of the pills, the temperatures, etc. I always knew I wanted children, but was never wanted to give birth. Plus, I have a bladder condition that would have been greatly irritated by pregnancy. See, for me, I have always seen adoption as the way my children would come. I know, I'm weird.
I felt more like a failure when our first match fell through, like I had done something wrong and that was why she decided to parent. I know that was not my fault, but it was really hard at the time.
3. Were you and your husband on the same page about adoption? What suggestions do you have for a spouse who may not be as excited as the other about adoption? Because we had talked about the possible problems I might have conceiving when we were dating, Charlie was fine with adopting as long as we tried to conceive first. His desire was mostly out of financial practicality. Once I said I was ready to move on, he agreed. My suggestions, though, are to keep talking and expose your husband to adoption where you can.
4. How did you work through figuring out where to adopt from, how open to be, and what type of communication to have with your child's birthparents? I originally thought we would adopt from overseas, but in the end we were drawn to our small, Christian agency. I had even made this chart with all the countries listed, costs, type of trip required and such, but then my husband said he'd like to try domestic, so we prayed about it and went looking for an agency. They were the ones who talked with us about openness, although we haven't had to really deal with that much, yet.
5. Adoption can be really expensive. What recommendations do you have to work through the financial aspect of it all? It does seem that the more money you have, the faster adoptions happen, and I hate that about it. But, that said: Save, save, save. Have a couple credit cards. Save some more. Do the research on grants and find out if your job has adoption benefits. Then let go and let God worry about it.
6. Do you truly feel like a mother even though you didn't give birth? If you've never been pregnant, do you feel like you missed out on this experience? I can't say much to this one yet, but the things I think about missing are the ultrasounds, because those always look so emotional and fun on TV, and baby showers with my big belly. But I'll still have a shower, it's just the baby will be there too!
7. What prayers and/or books do you recommend for those discerning whether or not to pursue adoption? I didn't read to much about it, just talked to a couple of people in our church that adopted. They were super helpful and willing to talk about their journeys.
Hope this helped someone, anyone. Adoption is a long road for some and a short path for others.
This week has been kind of heavy, in that way that dark emotions can bring you to your knees. It seems that this season of our lives is destined to be one where we are walking in the valleys, not on the mountaintops. Two things have come together to create this heaviness, and while different, they are strangely the same.
It may take a while to explain.
I think I have said before that I was honored to be on a field trip to the Kennedy Space Center the day of the Challenger launch that forever changed space exploration. It was a confusing and odd day, in that I was in the fourth grade and not well acquainted with the concept of horrific accidents or God's Will or death, at all. My mom says I didn't understand until they starting televising images from the funerals of the astronauts, who were fathers and mothers and had left behind little children.
The children. That's what made me get it, made me grasp it, internalize it and let out the grief.
And they meet me here again.
This week my husband's uncle passed away from Leukemia, the very same thing that took my father. The family spent time in the hospital with Uncle Roy (who was 49) sitting with him, chatting, sharing these last moments. Roy's 11 year old son, would alternately smile and then climb up on the bed with his father. Roy passed early Thursday morning.
Again, I am touched by this fatherless child.
Friday morning dawned a new day, one of history making importance...the last shuttle launch. Not that NASA won't send anything else into space, or that we will stop exploring, or that we've given up on learning what's out there, but that they've decided to retire the shuttle. To most people this wouldn't be anything big, but I've been surprised by how sad this makes me. They showed the launch on TV, and I'm teared up. I checked out some articles on CNN and I'm getting nostalgic for that day. Sheesh, there was even a shuttle launch seen in Transformers 3 and I was getting misty eyed.
I don't know why it has affected me so, but if future space launches aren't as beautiful, as awe inspiring or as majestic as the space shuttle over the Atlantic, future generations will have missed out on something special. And for us who have been witness to a live launch, it is a memory to behold. I wish I had seen a different launch, one where we could have watched it in the sky until it was only a tiny speck on the horizon and then taken out tour of the Space Center. But I, and my other classmates, have been witness to a larger piece of history.
In this weird week, where the last piece of our history with Roy was met by the last piece of history with the space shuttle, where two tragedies leave behind children, I am left with what can only be described as a melancholy mood. Time will heal it, for sure, but for Roy's son and all other fatherless children, the wound is deeper.
If you're reading this blog, you might already know that Charlie and I are going through the process to adopt a child. It has been a long road to this place, and infertility is not for the faint of heart. But we firmly believe that God's hand is upon us and that He preparing us for a child who needs a loving home, with people who want nothing more than to be a family. If our journey interests you, read on.