Once I make my mind up about something, I am all in. My hubby is similar. My parents are the kind of folks that can agonize over the pros and cons of buying something a simple as a new couch for months before pulling the trigger. They have suggested that we can be impulsive but I like to think that we are determined. When something feels right why doubt it? When I’ve made the decision, why look back?
This weekend, my husband and I attended a two day seminar for domestic adoption. This seminar is a requirement if one decides to proceed with an application, but we intended to use the experience as an opportunity to explore our questions and fears and to connect with others also experiencing the deep and sometimes heartbreaking desire to expand their family. We met a number of people who had experienced such significant loss from multiple miscarriages to repeatedly failed IVF attempts. We reflected on our gratitude that we were not yet at the stage of feeling so discouraged and broken as many of the couples in the room. The first day of the seminar focused on logistics like the law, taxes, the application process, and so forth. The second day was the game changer for us.
A panel of a birth mother and adoptive parents came to speak about their experiences. They put everything they had into painting a picture of the absolute joy and overwhelming grief that comes with placing a child. I could do nothing more than vacillate between an ugly cry and a shit eating grin for the duration of their dialogue. The emotions were so raw. As we took a break for lunch, hubby and I looked at each other and instantly knew that we were ready to wholeheartedly pursue domestic adoption.
There are many things that are terrifying about adoption, especially for a control freak like myself. I wonder about how the birthparents will integrate with my world; I grieve for the pregnancy milestones that I won’t be able to experience (e.g. sharing a sonogram with friends, announcing your pregnancy with some clever/dorky photo shoot, attending a birth and babies class with other pregnant moms); I worry about the challenge of planning my next few years when I have absolutely no clue about when we might welcome a child into our family. But for the first time in at least a year, I feel such strong feelings of hope and excitement. I know that this can work out for us and I am so open to the entire process, as scary and uncertain as it might be.
I was most impacted by something I saw when we left for our lunch break. The adoptive parents were happily chatting with the social workers leading the group. Everyone was gushing about their two adorable boys. As hubby and I walked to lunch, I could see the birth mother from the panel cross the street ahead of us, heading to the bus stop, alone. Even as I type this I cry with grief for her. She was so poised when she shared with us her journey and her desire for her daughter to have the very best life possible. She knew she could not fulfill those dreams for her daughter and was able to make an overwhelmingly selfless decision. I cannot even imagine what it must be like for her each day when she thinks of what could have been. I can only hope that if we are chosen to parent someone’s child that I can fulfill every last dream and hope that birthmother has for her child.