For us, adoption has been a journey. It has been much more than a clinical “process” (as it is often referred to), and has encompassed many seasons, people, and experiences. Adoption has redefined our family, and yet, it has always been our family.
During our courtship, our conversation (like most serious couples) often turned toward the topics of children and parenting. As we looked toward the future, we began hoping for the blessing of children someday; even dreaming up names for our future little ones. We soon discovered that we both had a passion for adoption, and that dream became part of the foundation of our life together.
photo via Syda
However, during the early years of our marriage, the force of infertility and miscarriage began to absorb our focus. During this time, we began pursuing adoption, and then stopped, knowing the time wasn’t right. Gradually, as we waded through grief and the dailyness of life, hope once again began to emerge in our souls. Together, and individually, we began dreaming of adoption again. One inspiring book was “When the Cradle is Empty” by John & Sylvia Van Regenmorter (available on Amazon)
We started our tentative steps toward the direction of adoption, when the song “Voice of Truth,” began playing on the radio. We were truly inspired, and took a leap of faith into our Journey of Adoption.
The time of researching adoption agencies was a wonderful opportunity for us to examine our ethical perspectives regarding adoption. We finally decided upon an agency that embraced our values, and began the paperwork.
The paperwork and classes at times seemed tedious, but were a blessing in disguise. We were able to take an introspective view into our family, and prepare our lives for parenting. One of our favorite resources was this list of positive adoption language.
Then the real wait began; the time many adoptive families refer to as “Paperwork Pregnant.” In faith, we slowly put together a nursery; setting up a crib, stocking up on little pajamas and blankets, and purchasing a carseat. We chose to live as “normal” expectant parents, and not be caught entirely unprepared when our baby was born. We loved this “Celebrate Adoption Awareness Month” calendar, which offered wonderful suggestions for waiting/adoptive families.
At times, we would hear of a pregnant mom/couple viewing our profile at the adoption agency. Instead of rushing to get our hopes up that “This could be the one!”, we chose to focus our thoughts upon the pregnant mom/couple. We prayed for them, during their time of decision-making. We knew that adoption would not necessarily be the right choice for each mom, nor were we necessarily the right parents for each baby. We were grateful for the free publication by Stepping Stones, which mailed an encouraging magazine , which offered articles such as “Ten Infertility Myths”.
Months went by, and over the seasons, our emotions often ran on a rollercoaster from high hopes to near apathy. (It’s tough “expecting,” when all the other new parents around you have adorable round bellies and confirmed due dates!) Friends and family also come and go on their own rollercoasters; with responses ranging from encouragement, or insensitively asking “What will you do when your homestudy expires?” We were often asked “Difficult Questions,” which we attempted to answer in a loving way.
We continued to read and prepare ourselves for the child we knew would arrive one day. One favorite book was “Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew” by Sherrie Eldridge. (available on Amazon here)
When we suddenly got “The Call” to go pick up our baby girl, the proverbial puzzle pieces clicked. The child we already loved and believed in, had actually arrived! We were no longer the parents of an “invisible” baby (whom we were waiting for). She was here!
We quickly adjusted to growing from a family of two, into a family of three. There were times when I would glance at our daughter, sleeping in my baby sling, and for a brief moment, forget all the waiting time. It was if she had always been part of our family.
I began scrapbooking a lifebook/baby book for her, and even from the early days, we have told her the story of her journey into our lives. We also love the book “Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born,” by Jamie Lee Curtis. (available on Amazon here)
We still look at our daughter, in awe that she is actually here! We feel so blessed to be her parents, and to experience life with her. What a dream come true.
Michele blogs at FrugalGranola.com and her passion for life, nourishing food, family, and most importantly, God, shows through in her writing everyday. I thoroughly enjoy reading what she has to teach, especially her simple living series! Her and her husband have dealt with infertility (which she found out was due in part to celiac disease), multiple second trimester losses, adoption of their first baby, and later on, successful pregnancies.