I am waiting for our baby to come. I am waiting with excitement and hope, waiting with anxiety and fear too. Yet, I don’t have any clue when our baby will arrive.
I have baby clothes ready, but I don’t know the gender or what season in which they will be born. I have a plan in place to help with our other kids when the baby arrives, but I have no clue when I’ll be calling in my support system.
I am on the edge of my seat every day, yet have to live my life too. It feels like the longest, most out-of-control pregnancy ever (I know that sounds dramatic.) My baby could arrive today, or my baby could arrive months or even years from now. I’ve already been waiting for over a year now with no end in sight. I am “paper pregnant.”
What does that mean, you ask? Well, I’m an adoptive mom. I am waiting to get the call from our adoption agency. The call that means a birth mom has chosen to meet us after seeing our family profile—a book that we wrote to give a potential birth mom an idea of who we are and help her decide if our family is where she might want to place her child, should she choose to do so.
When we get that call, we may meet with a birth mom, and she may choose us, or she might not. That is her choice and very much her right to do so, to decide if she wants to place her child in an adoptive home or not, and if so, to place her child with the people she feels the most comfortable with.
The process of adopting a child feels absolutely wild.
I am a logic-driven person, so I can logically understand the process of adopting a child and all the steps in place. I know that we can get a call, drive five hours to meet a potential birth mom, and know that she might not choose us. I know that even if she chooses us, she could have her baby and decide to parent her child after the baby is born. Logically, I fully respect, support, and value her choice in all of this. However, in all of that, my heart is riding a rollercoaster.
In our first adoption (we currently have four children, three biological and one adopted), we went through the arduous process of paperwork, background checks, physicals, fingerprints, fire inspections, doctors visits, financial audits, social work visits, and so on, in order to have our home study approved. Once it was approved and we were set to go, our adoption agency (unexpectedly to us) shut down, and we had to find a new agency and therefore do more paperwork and steps to fulfill their adoption process. It was a long road of lots of tedious and time-consuming steps. Once we were an “active family” with our new adoption agency, we waited about a month before we got a call from our agency on a very normal Tuesday.
Our adoption social worker: “A birth mom wants to meet you.”
Social worker: “Can you be here Thursday?” (It’s a five-hour drive from where we live.)
Me: “Yes, we can make that work.”
Social worker: “The baby is already born. It’s a girl.”
Me: Internal gulp. “OK.”
Social worker: “If birth mom chooses you, placement will happen Saturday.”
Me: Internal gulp and SATURDAY???? “OK.”
Social worker: “So please come with a car seat, a name picked out, and know that if birth mom doesn’t choose you or decides not to place, this could all fall through.”
Me: Internal gulp and HOLY S**T!!!!!! “OK. We will do that.”
End call. World seems to stand still. I try to slow my racing mind and force myself back into the room. I tell myself I need to start planning logistics.
“Call husband. Tell him what’s happening. Make travel arrangements. Make plans for other children. Take off work. Pick out a name (what?! How do I do that without having seen the baby or even knowing if that baby will come home with me?!?!?!) Pack car seat. Pack baby clothes. Know this could all fall through.” What do I tell my heart in the meantime???
We drove the five hours that Thursday to meet with the birth mom. She decided to place her baby with us. That happened Saturday, and we brought our sweet baby girl home with us that day. Man, what a freakin’ rollercoaster!
You might be wondering, “Why did we go through this craziness to adopt?”
We felt God ask us to adopt two kids early on in our marriage, even before we knew if we could have biological children. Adopting a child has been a beautiful, crazy, wild, difficult, and amazing ride. We wanted to adopt, because it resonates with us deeply on a spiritual level. God has adopted us into his family, given us new hope and future we would not have had otherwise.
At the same time, adoption comes out of hard realities in our world—pain, brokenness, and the reality that this world is not perfect. Because of that, people experience poverty. People are sick or have a lack of resources, or have little support in raising a child. If I had been born into a different family, neighborhood, or culture, I might have been in the very same situation.
And so now, I’m on that crazy rollercoaster once again. I’m waiting to get that call. I’m waiting for a birth mom to choose us. I’m waiting to bring our sweet baby home. And yet, I have no control over it. It could be days, months, or even years from now before that baby is part of our family. Man, it’s SO hard to wait.
I want to know. I want to have some control over it. But I don’t at all. It feels hard and scary, and I don’t like not having control or knowing when it will happen. And yet in the midst of this crazy ride, I have peace knowing that God asked us to say yes to this rollercoaster of adoption. Sometimes I feel that peace deeply, and other times, I have to remind myself of truth and peace in the midst of my raging impatience or desire for control. However, this process is forcing me to trust and rely on him in a deeper and more intimate way. And so, what feels like the longest pregnancy ever continues.
If you’re on this roller coaster, too, know you’re not alone, and it will be worth it.