Sunday, May 27, 2012

What to Expect when you are Expecting through Adoption

Okay so way back WHEN we were going to start a third adoption.

Then we had a few issues come up with the kids that we knew needed our full attention (part of which is this). It was so hard to make the call to put off another adoption at that time, but it was needed, and we have to put our kids first. It was one of those parenting decisions in life that requires you to put your kids' needs in front of your wants.

And just in case you think we are some kind of heroes, I will tell you that - it sucked. 

BUT. Now that things have calmed down and we seem to be in a really good place with the boys, we want to throw in another baby and have chaos once again ensue.

So. Here we go again!

We are using a different agency, due to a pretty significant slow down with the first we were going to use last year. This means all new paperwork. A new 100 piece checklist to get done, and a lot of questions that we have answered 6 times now and still put thought into it. I mean it's funny to answer "Why would you like to adopt transracially" now. Shouldn't the question be....why not?!

Oh, and did I mention we have not even been in the books yet and we have already experienced our first "call" that didn't work out a couple weeks ago? Before we were "officially applying" to this agency we had a call from a different one about a mom and they wanted another couple to show her as they only had a couple. We sent in our profile and got picked! Then five days later she had the baby and changed her mind and decided to parent. Totally respect her decision and happy for her but once sucked.

SO. Let's just say that we got a little reminder that adoption is NOT always an easy road. Having been through it twice I thought it would be appropriate to go over what a waiting mom by adoption can expect while waiting:

What to Expect When you are Expecting through Adoption:

- Expect to hear 4,943 adoption horror stories, or just stories of different crazy ways (or better ways, cheaper ways, faster ways) that people have adopted from now until placement. Then another 1,987,363 after that.

- If you have an online profile...Expect to check the stats at least 400 times a day the first month and 8 times a day thereafter and always read way too much into every single additional view you get.

- Expect for the words "depending on if we have a baby by then" to be ingrained into your conversations for a while now...even though you were told to act like normal every day life. Yeah....right. Oh and for most of us we are also saving pennies to pay for this during the wait so you can't even do a big fun vacation. Yes, you can expect to be a tad bitter about that too. ;-)

- Expect to do some amazing baby gadget research from now until placement. Some of us will buy ahead of time, but most of us wait. So by the time the baby gets here you go on a spending spree that lasts four hours because you are officially "allowed" to be in babiesrus. (It never really felt real before.)

- Expect people to compare your adoption costs (you know...the $20,000 plus price tag) to their labor expenses. Expect this to not only NOT make you feel better but in fact make you want to steal $20 from their wallet and laugh evilly.

- Expect to go back and forth from thinking you will never ever get picked because you suck a big toe to thinking you will get picked any time now because you are so awesome town.

- Expect to start a blog and post often the first 3-6 months, then to go down to about once a month after because you are sick of talking about it, until finally you drift off into never-posting land because you have nothing nice to say about waiting because it sucks. Then you get placed and BAM there you post again!

- Expect to nest. Nope folks, it aint just for pregnant people any more.

- Expect for you to get WAY too excited for a prospect no matter how you tell yourself 'you won't until it's sure'. It's going to happen. Nothing will stop it. Just let it be and be honest with yourself that it's going to suck if it doesn't. That's okay, it will suck whether you get excited or not, because even if you weren't excited...deep down you were. You were just lying to yourself.

- Expect to gain weight. Two words....stress eating. Oh and another four words: Twelve Months Average Wait. Put it all together and you got yourself an extra 20 pounds (and that's if you work out too).

- Expect to want to redo your adoption profile 60 days in and every week thereafter because the little book you used to think rocked your world is now the most awful piece of literature ever known to man-kind.

- Expect to be disappointed that you don't get a call after a day....a week...a month...two months after officially being in the book. Again, everyone secretly hopes and wishes to have a fast wait. You can try being "realistic" with yourself, but again, you will just be lying to yourself and still be disappointed. It's okay, everyone does it. :)

- Expect to develop a particularly strong hate for the question "Have you heard anything yet?"

- Expect to want to punch every person in the face that suggests that you do stuff to get your mind off of the adoption and the wait. That includes husbands.

- Expect to be shocked at who has a connection with adoption and who gives you support. Sometimes we discriminate too and then people shock us (in a very good way). :)

- Expect for people to be confused at how to act when you tell them you are adopting (ESPECIALLY after you get a "maybe call"). Should they be excited? Should they say congratulations? It's so different than pregnancy. And the sad thing is that it depends on what day it is and how you feel as to how you WANT them to act. It's all a bundle of confusing and nerve wracking crazy emotions. Adoption PMS is real folks.

- Expect for you to need to prepare some frozen meals ahead of time, because frankly most people don't think of that with an adoption. You will probably not get a lot of meals after the baby comes. It really sucks too, but for some reason not birthing the baby means less meals and less help in general people feel you need (sometimes, there are lots of people that will surprise you!).

- Expect to be pretty shocked at the things people ask and the personal questions you will get. Especially once you are matched. Remember, it's not rude to tell people that you don't feel comfortable sharing that, especially considering this could potentially be your child's story. People can be idiots (repeat this mantra in your head).

BUT that is all okay because...

- Expect people to really invest in your story. Expect more excitement, personal elation...once you are placed. Expect a story that will stop a room and keep everyone listening as you recall each detail. Because people are so incredibly happy for you.

- Expect gifts from people you barely know, some that you don't know, just because they are touched by your story.

- Expect a roar of excitement the likes of which you have never heard nor experienced once you are placed....

BUT until then....

- Expect to want to quit after every 6 months. Get drunk, have a hang over, eat your weight in chocolate, spend a butt load of money that was supposed to go to the adoption fund, whatever you need to do to have a pity party just do'll feel better the next day, I promise.

- Expect to start hating with a passion every uni-sex baby thing you see.

- Expect to have a hard time attending baby showers and other peoples general baby happiness. It's hard when you are so close and yet have so little control. Plus there are a few random people who think you want to steal their baby. Don't worry, their idiots who watch too much Lifetime TV.

- Expect someone to tell you it has "just been 4 months" while you "were told the average was 12 months" then ask "so why are you so worried about it?" Expect to instantly hate them and want to kick them in the shins. Then punch them in the face. Again. (This will probably be the same person as before, they tend to take the stupid train and stay on for a while.)

- Expect to make a fool out of yourself at least once to a potential birthmom. I believe I managed this with a first phone call I was on when I blurted out "What style are you?" To which she told me she had no idea what i was asking....and the real problem was neither did I.

- Expect to have to tell the agency "No" a few times when asked to show your profile in specific special situations, then expect to feel guilty and hate yourself for a good 12 hours afterward. Regardless, trust your gut, this isn't a race. (You can punch me in the face later.)

- Expect to NOT be ready the first time you meet a potential birthmom. Keep that handy list of "things not to say or do" near by, you will need it. Don't have one? Make one now when you have a clear head.

- Expect to re-read every piece of adoption paperwork from your agency the 24 hour surrounding a call or close to placement. You will take in about 65% of everything that you read during that time, so expect to read multiple times as well.

- Expect to close your nursery's door...when you can't think about it anymore. Enough baby crap for a while.

- Expect to open said nursery's door....take a deep breath...and just sit in there sometimes. Maybe play the crib toys and listen to it. It makes it real. It WILL happen see? It's real.

- Expect to have some pretty shallow thoughts regarding other couples who get placed ahead of you. "What?! Did you see their profile? Did you see that they live in the middle of nowhere? Did you see what they said?! Who would pick THEM over US!?" It's okay, we know you don't really mean it (completely). It's the Wait talking. That Wait can be a real bitch.

- Couples without kids: Expect to think it really sucks that other people with kids get picked before you. They have already been blessed with kids, it's not fair, why can't you let we just have one!? It's okay, again we know you really don't mean it (completely). The Wait strikes again.

- Couples with kids: Expect for the wait to be equally if not more hard now that you have children (though we all tell ourselves it will be easier this time because we have been through it and know when the time is right it will happen - psh. Easier said my friend.). It's hard going through the ups and downs and keeping a smile on your face so the kids won't have to know something is wrong. Also, expect to do lots of fast food once your matched because you just want to go home and detox and feel guilty about it. Don't. It's survival. You are giving them the gift of a sibling. Plus who doesn't love corn dogs?!

- Expect to not know how to act about 90% of the time after being matched. Expect to be happy one minute, and stressed out the next. Happy, sad, mad, elated, pissed, anxious all rolled in to one big mess of an emotion. You may or may not have a twitch in your eye by placement.

- Expect to start shaking horribly and freak out completely every time an "unassigned" phone call comes in. You can also expect to lose your temper with at least three telemarketers. Oh and you will answer your phone Nothing will stop you from answering when that specific ring tone starts up (because you will have assigned a very specific ring tone).

- Expect to carry your phone. Everywhere. NEVER turn it off, even in church (silent though). You will have a close personal love-hate relationship with your phone. Love that it's there, hate that the stupid thing won't ring already. Oh and also expect to carry a phone charger everywhere you go. Because you will FREAK THE HELL OUT if your phone ever DARES to lose battery charge.

- Expect to go through a situation that doesn't work out. Expect to be utterly devastated and expect for it to hurt like hell no matter what you tell yourself. Also know that during the 48 hours after a situation doesn't work out, anything that comes out of your mouth must be ignored and thrown in the recycle bin then deleted. Your hurting, you will probably lash out at someone, then quit, then start again, want to change agencies, want to quit again, then go off on someone for no reason other than they sat in your usual seat at church.

- Expect to be gloriously happy and equally freaked out when you finally do get the call.

- Expect for your mind to be blown when that call works out to a placement, and expect to be completely amazed at the site of that tiny person that is now your child.

- Expect to have some guilt regarding the birthmother and her grief and expect to personalize some of her pain. Identify the emotion and let yourself work through it, it's pretty tough to see that emotion and NOT feel guilty.

- Expect to love that birthmother stronger than you thought possible. It will surprise you how worried you are about them driving home with that baby.

- Expect your life to feel a million times fuller.

- Expect to fall in love.

- Expect to be a family.

- Expect for everything....every little thing to be worth it in the end.


  1. You summed it up perfectly! Good luck on your journey to number 3.

  2. Perfect! Thank you so much for sharing. I can absolutely relate to so much here...a few times I actually laughed out loud. Take care and keep are damn good at it :-)

  3. Natalie, you nailed it! You brought back so many memories, but with a laugh.

  4. Thank you so much for writing this! I was equal parts laughing and crying!