Thursday, July 28, 2011

Learning more

Once we made the decision to jump in to the adoption process I quickly realized how little I really knew about adoption. I've shared before about how extremely helpful and beneficial the classes from our agency have been. I also wanted to just mention a few other things that have been helpful to me so far.

Ok we haven't gone to this yet, but I'm anticipating that it's going to be super duper great. In October we get to attend the Together for Adoption conference. Registration is still open if you're interested in going.

And here are a few books I've read that I thought were good:

Secret Thoughts of An Adoptive Mother by Jana Wolff
Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldrige
Raising Adopted Kids by Lois Ruskai Melina
Adopted for Life by Russell Moore
Post-Adoption Blues by Karen Foli (although it was a bit depressing because it gives a lot of examples of tough adoption situations)
Saying Goodbye to a Baby: The Birthparent's Guide to Loss & Grief in Adoption by Patricia Roles
The Whole Life Adoption Book by Jayne Schooler
A Treasury of Adoption Miracles by Karen Kingsbury
Baby, we were meant for each other: in praise of adoption by Scott Simon 
Making Room in our Hearts: Keeping Family Ties Through Open Adoption- Micky Duxbury

I'm sure I'll be able to add to this list as time goes on. There are some great blogs I've read as well, but I won't list all of those. Suffice it to say there are so many wonderfully helpful resources out there and with the interwebs these days it's not too hard to find them :)


Done and done

My hubby keeps reminding me that I haven't written on here in forever- so here's a catch-up post:

We finished our seven weeks of classes on July 12th and just today I turned in our huge pile of paperwork to the adoption agency! Woo hoo! Done and done. Fingerprints, life history, criminal history, medical release, birth and marriage certificates etc etc etc......It's finally done!!! What a relief to have that part finished. It was totally the type of thing that you look at and think "Oh that won't take too long to do." Uh, wrong. Two months later we finally answer the last question and sign the billionth form. One step closer to baby :)

I was a bit bummed for our classes to come to an end because it was just so good to be learning so much each week and to be with others who are on the same journey. It's so crazy to think back to the start of the seven weeks and to remember certain things I thought and felt back then, and now to see how God really changed my heart and mind and taught me sooo much. I'm so so thankful for our agency and for those classes. I seriously wouldn't be in the place I am right now if we hadn't gone through the classes. The biggest change was my view of open adoption and birthmoms. I wrote about that in this post. 

The other thing that I learned in the classes that is such a vital part to my experience is that it's normal and healthy to continue on in the grieving process- grieving past losses, but also grieving the losses that come with adoption. Continuing to think through, process through, feel sad, cry, and talk about the things that we don't get to experience because of adoption is such an important part of a healthy adoption experience. And I know now that it doesn't mean that I won't love our adopted child or that this is second best or I'm not ready. It actually means that I'm approaching it in the most healthy way possible by having eyes wide open to the realities of adoption and allowing my heart to fully feel the weight of all that that means. If I wasn't thinking through all these things or just stuffing them down or trying to act like adoption is perfect and what I think and feel doesn't matter right now- then I'd be a ticking time bomb ready to explode later on, probably to the great detriment of our child. In some ways parenting is parenting, but it is completely naive and stupid to try to pretend that adoption doesn't change things. There are facts that must be faced.

This past Sunday was a rough day for both Ryan and I. We both were mourning our baby who is in heaven. And I was really being hit hard all over again with the losses that come with adoption. It was just one of those days when it felt like thing after thing kept coming up and I just couldn't get away from all the reminders. Just as we pulled in to the parking lot at church a pregnant lady and her little boy walked past our car. Obviously there are pregnant people all around, but for whatever reason seeing that particular lady just made me sad. I miss our baby and wish that he/she had stayed and continued growing and was here with us now. And when I think of the baby God will bring us through adoption, I wish I could carry them in my womb as well. I wish I could have that connection, and be able to nourish them and keep them safe and bond with them in that way. But I don't get to experience that.

Then in church there was a mama and her adorable little daughter in front of us. Now this was not just any mama and daughter- this was one of those who look exactly, exactly like each other. You know what I mean? The spitting image of her mama right there on her little chubby two-year old face. She was being cute and we both kept smiling and watching her. And then I realized I wouldn't have that. My child's face will not mirror mine. My child will not bear any family resemblance to us. We won't compare baby pictures when they're born trying to figure out if they have Ryan's nose or my eyes. Our child will not come from us and will not bear any similarities that come from our DNA. This is the truth and it's a loss and it's something I grieve. And it's something I must grieve through so that I do not unfairly place a burden on my child to live up to my "dream baby" and to allow the Lord to open my heart to the child he brings into our family- no matter how much or how little they look like us. In my mind I already love that little face, whatever it looks like, but at the same time I grieve that we won't be able to look at each other and see our family in each other.

Then to top it all off there was a very cute pregnant couple sitting near us, apparently pregnant with their first. The husband had his hand on his wife's belly nearly the whole service and they were just glowing and obviously feeling the baby move together. It made me remember the ridiculous joy we shared in when we realized our little one was growing inside me. It filled us with awe to know they were right there with us and that he/she was there wherever we went. It brought us so close and we were so so happy. And then I think of the baby God is going to bring us and how maybe they have already been conceived and they are growing out there in some other woman's womb. My baby. Growing in another mother's womb. I so wish Ryan and I could share so intimately in the early months of our baby's life. We can imagine it, but it's not the same. No ultrasounds and heart beats and first kicks and talking to the belly. We hope and pray that God blesses us with a birthmom who allows us to experience the remainder of her pregnancy with her as much as possible, but who knows. It's still a loss and it still makes me very sad and I still wish that the baby who will be ours was growing in my tummy right now and that Ryan and I were sharing in that together. Yet another thing to grieve through and to let the Lord speak healing and comfort over.

So that's where I'm at these last few days. So excited to be moving through the process and getting closer to our baby, while also grieving the realities of what all of this really means. And yet those are not conflicting things! A few days ago I had a good cry over these things and in my internal dialogue with our baby-to-come I wanted them to know that even though I was feeling sad over these things that it didn't mean at all that I didn't want them to come or that I wanted them less or that I was disappointed that this is how things turned out. In my mind they are already ours. My child. Through adoption. Not any other way. I don't know who they are, what they will look like, how all of this will turn out or anything- but I know he or she is mine and I can't wait to hold them in my arms at long last.

Next up: we'll start the home study in a couple weeks. More updates to come :)