Are we really doing this?!
My husband and I stared at each other with the same deer-in-headlights look that we exchanged driving home from the hospital after our first baby was born. The one where the car door closes, and the reality of what we are doing slaps us in the face. THAT LOOK.
We were nervous… excited… hopeful.
It was the beginning of a beautiful new chapter in our lives, and although we thought we were prepared, we had no clue what we just got ourselves into.
Like that, today was one of those moments that could potentially change our family forever, but it wasn’t a singular point in time. This was the first step of a very long journey, one that would require a lot of effort, attention, and MONEY. More money than we currently have sitting in the bank, FYI.
Geez, typing that was tough, because we still don’t know where this journey will lead us. It all feels like a “hurry up and wait” game. And there are SO. MANY. STEPS. I feel virtually paralyzed thinking about the sheer volume of the procedures. And the paperwork. Oh, so much paperwork that my head is spinning. It is a trust walk that, frankly, we are not sure will work out.
We have oodles of questions. So many that it almost stops us altogether.
How will we afford this?
Are we too old for this, anyway?
Will we get chosen by a birth mother?
What will our new family look like together?
How will our baby feel about being adopted?
Will our baby reciprocate our love?
Will the world accept us as a blended family?
It’s a lot to consider for an overthinker like me. It’s suffocating if we stop to think about it too long. But this is our prayer, and it has been for many years. To attempt to put it into words somehow feels trivial. Like so many other big things, it’s just something we know in our hearts. And yes, this makes us sound completely crazy to some people.
Getting started, however, feels like we’re trying to jump onto one of those 1980’s playground merry go rounds – the ones where you weren’t sure if you would have the time of your life or die trying. We know that we have to just jump in to get started, but man, is it ever scary.
I’m reminded of a dear friend who shared Desmond Tutu’s question about how to eat an elephant whenever we think something is too big for us. The answer, of course, is “one piece at a time.”
I get it. One peace at a time. If we don’t see where this leads us, we will forever regret it.
As we sat in the information meeting, we saw people from all walks. Some were around our age. Some looked like us. Most appeared to be equally nervous. We exchanged awkward small talk. I doubted myself for the billionth time. Were we totally nuts for being here?
I considered jumping out of my seat and leaving. That’s not weird at all, right?
As my husband and I introduced ourselves, it felt both odd and empowering to share that we felt led to consider adoption after years of prayer. If I’m brutally honest here, it also felt a bit selfish to tell a room predominantly full of childless couples experiencing infertility that we already had beautiful children.
Despite that, we had this very strong feeling that we belonged in this place, right at that moment.
It felt strange to ask questions like “who names the baby?” and to consider that although we had financial stability to support another child, we might not be able to raise enough money to pay the initial adoption fees.
I mean, we could buy a decent car for the cost of adopting a baby (depending on the agency and other variables, of course).
How do you put a price tag on a baby? Should we buy a car instead? Are we robbing our other children of a more lavish lifestyle if we’re committed to paying for an adoption? Am I a terrible person for having these thoughts – I mean, who compares a BABY to a NEW CAR?
We certainly could purchase a car with less invasive paperwork. Physicals. Fingerprints. Background checks. It almost felt like too much.
I mean, we’re charming, honest, kind people and pretty amazing parents. Isn’t that enough?
I get it, though. I really do. I put myself in the birth parents’ shoes for a moment, and I realize that they’re probably feeling a lot like we are: nervous, overwhelmed, hopeful. Birth parents need to feel confident that we are the right match for their precious baby. As hard as I try to imagine the emotions the birth mother might be feeling, I will never truly grasp it. Adoption is selfless in so many ways. I’d want to know everything, too. All the paperwork made sense.
My husband and I walked out of the meeting wondering if we truly had lost our minds, overwhelmed at the possibility of completing our family in this way.
And at the same time, we were nervous… excited… hopeful.
Just like the moment when we buckled in our newborn and drove away from the hospital for the first time.