November is National Adoption Month and as I sit down and reflect on the adopting of our little girl, I thought I should write something that might be helpful to those considering adoption. I could try to bust some adoption myths or make a neat blog post of the five things you MUST know about adoption, but every situation is different and maybe those things wouldn’t be relevant. I could try to overcome the adoption objections: “Isn’t it so expensive?” (Potentially.) “What if the birth mom changes her mind?” (She could.) Doesn’t it take forever? (Not necessarily.) But honestly, I think the best thing I can do to give you a glimpse into adoption is to you is tell you our story.
We decided we wanted to pursue domestic adoption in May 2012, so naturally we took a trip to Vegas since that probably wouldn’t happen once a baby arrived. When we got back home, we got down to work. We did our home study, our background check, had our fingerprints taken and created a profile for potential birth families to look at. We put our best foot forward; selecting the best photos we had of ourselves, using words that would give a birth mother confidence in selecting our family. It was our pitch for parenthood and we prayed someone would see our profile and instantly know we were the family
After a couple of months of diligently working on our profile and getting all of our ducks in a row, we were placed active at the end of September on our adoption agency’s website, along with 300 other waiting families. Yes, 300 families, and that was just our adoption agency. I remember my husband and I showing one of our best friends our profile on the agency’s website. They were optimistic for us, but told us that there were so many families waiting, and that it seemed like it could take a while for us to get selected.
But less than two months later on November 8, we got the call. Not only did we get the call, but we spoke with Reagan’s birth mom on the day we were leaving on our dream vacation to Kauai (our baby moon if you will). She told us that once she saw our profile, she just knew we were the family and didn’t want to see any other profiles. Not only was November 8 our match day, it’s also an extra special day because it was my grandmother’s birthday, and the last birthday she would have here on this earth. She always said, “I hope I live long enough to see your first baby, Anne-Marie.” And while my grandmother never met our daughter, I was able to share with her that she was on her way to our family.
If somebody were to ask, “doesn’t adoption take a long time?” I would tell them no, based on our personal experience. We’re pretty sure she was conceived while we were in Vegas, how fitting. It took about the same amount of time from our decision to adopt as does a typical pregnancy, and only two months from when we were active with our agency to when we were selected. But even if our match took longer, I would say that amazing things in life are always worth waiting for.
“What about bonding? Do you think you’ll love this child as if it were your own?” To that I say look at these pictures. She is our daughter and we are as bonded as they come.
We were lucky enough that Reagan’s birth mom invited us both into the delivery room; my husband even cut the cord. The hospital staff was great and allowed us to stay with Reagan due to Reagan’s birth mom advocating for it. Reagan’s birth mom was resolute in her decision. I understand that not all birth mom’s are, so if you are working toward adoption, my one piece of advice would be to respect the birth family. Respect that this is one of the most incredibly difficult decisions they will ever make, realize their mind could change. Be supportive. As a culture we need to stop demonizing birth moms and recognize that adoption begins with them. Adoption begins with them. They are the ones starting the adoption story and often times a birth mom chooses adoption because they may not have the support needed. You can be that support.
What about unknowns? What about family history? What if the mother takes some form of recreational drugs or prescribed drugs? What about complications, what about special needs, what about…? You could “what about” until the end of the earth. What about the fact that this unborn child needs a family? What about the fact that you will love them as soon as you see them? What about giving this little life a chance? What about changing your family tree a bit, shaking it up and having an incredible story?
If you’re thinking about adoption, I want you to know that your heart can swell with pride, for your child. Your own child, the one that’s adopted, the one that is YOURS. Your heart can love so big and so deep because love knows no bounds.