We have started attending a monthly support group for adoptive and waiting parents through the agency we are working with. This week was the second time we have attended and I find it fills me with mixed emotions. It is so validating and special to be around people who have had similar experiences and know the heartache and hope that comes with this journey. It is also a very clear reminder that there is no “skipping the line.” We start each group by introducing ourselves and what stage of the adoption process we are at. There are people in the room that have been waiting over two years already. “Rational Me” understands that there is a 2 to 3 year average wait to be placed. “Sunshine, Rainbows, and Unicorns Me” thinks that we will somehow be able to circumvent the waiting process and magically be picked before 2015 ends. This latter version of myself cannot exist in this room. The room is full of brilliant, loving, warm, wonderful parents in the making. This is a blessing and a curse – I feel supported but am reminded that there is nothing so special about us that we deserve to be selected any sooner than anyone else in the group.
For the February meeting, the birthparent support group and adoptive parent group joined together up for a Q&A of sorts. I can’t even put into words how beautiful this was. My hubby expressed feeling more encouraged than ever about the idea of being an adoptive parent. I think there are a lot of stereotypes about what a birthparent is like and without us personally knowing many birthparents it can be easy for those stereotypes to permeate our own thoughts. This meeting directly challenged all of those ideas and left us with a more realistic and reassuring sense of who could be gifting us with a child of our own.
The birthmothers (and one birthfather!) were articulate, selfless, and approachable. They were incredibly honest with sharing their experiences and allowed us to ask so many difficult questions to give us a sense of how they have crafted relationships with the parents who adopted their children. They truly desire to be the very best mothers they can be by offering their children opportunities they might not be able to provide. The thought of creating relationships with a birthparent (and likely their extended family) was initially anxiety provoking. But after being able to put faces and kind spirits to what this might actually look like was incredibly reassuring. Hubby and I both reflected how blessed we would be to have any one of those women be part of our immediate family. They were honest in that it did not always come easy; communication and trust are absolutely imperative. But each had found a way to negotiate these relationships with all parties having a priority of putting the child absolutely first.
When I dreamt of what my family might look like, I must admit I never imagined it might include other parental figures, but I now understand what a gift this could be. It’s true that families come in many shapes and sizes!