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Originally posted September 8, 2019
I’m writing this not to elicit sympathy, but because it occurs to me that it could be a teachable moment. Also, writing helps work things out or at least sometimes clarifies, and that would be a good thing.
Part of the adoption journey that I think a lot of people don’t get is the emotional roller-coaster that can happen, combined with the uncertainty of what’s happening/if it’s happening, and the overall process of being chosen by a birth mother or birth parents. So, our experience this afternoon, a play in one 45-minute act:
<the curtain opens>
It begins while we are at the grocery store, with a text to our google voice phone number – a mother who has just had a baby, who saw one of out fliers and is in desperate straits. She clearly wants to find parents to adopt the baby, and quickly. We respond that we’d be grateful to talk to her, ASAP, and she provides a little more information on herself, the baby, and the situation, as well as noting that she would like to meet or talk this evening.
The logistics-oriented portion of my mind begins considering adoption-process, in addition to talking and/or meeting with the mother: contacting our adoption agency and social worker; connecting them up with the birth mother to get her a social worker: and, based on what was written, letting the agency and social worker know this might require an expedited move of the child into a temporary foster situation, on a Sunday evening. Also, this could mean needing lots of babycare gear in short order, and how does our current money in the bank look, which friends offered us use of which baby gear, etc.
The we’re-adopting portion of my brain is playing tug-of-war… see, part of me really wants to be excited – this is one of those it-happened-so-quickly adoption stories and *it could happen not only super-fast, but in the next few days/weeks*. And part of my brain wants to avoid the heartbreak of this not working out, of the mother changing her mind, of *something* going wrong. But part of me is still exhilarated, despite myself, and I can see the same thing happening with Susan.
Susan and I talk while we shop, while we check out, while we load the groceries in the car. We talk and have some silence and talk more on the way home.
We get home to a follow-up text, that the brother of the phone’s owner had grabbed her phone and thought this was a great prank to play on us and her, that she was mortified, and that she wished us well.
Fin. <and the curtain closes>
We are both quiet in the car as I read the last text, a Harry Potter audiobook filling the silence before the car gets turned off. We both comment that we’re glad that no baby is actually *in* the situation described. I say something less-than-charitable about the prankster. We grab our groceries and carry them up our stairs: it is a silent walk. We step inside and drop the groceries and dodge kitties and give each other a long hug.
I’m not mad, I’m tired. Don’t get me wrong – we’re excited about adopting, we’e thrilled at the idea of expanding our family, we’re still both eager for the whole experience. But *this* is also part of that experience.
So when your friends or family or loved ones who are trying to adopt, when they look tired, when they are less-than-exuberant when you ask how it is going, when they go quiet for a little while: they are on a journey.
And it is beautiful.
And it is full of promise.
And it is exhausting.
And it is heartbreaking.
It is all of those and more.
Be kind to them, be gentle with them, be understanding where you can.