Tuesday, September 10, 2019

To the Hopeful Adoptive Mom Who Has Ever Wondered Who She Is

Hey, Mama-to-Be.

Or is that right?

Have you ever wondered, as you wait to adopt, who you are? I know I mulled over that very question over the course of a decade and four adoption journeys.

Who are you? 

Are you an expectant mom? A Hopeful Adoptive Parent, known as a HAP in adoption circles? Are you a mom-to-be? 

You have all these conflicting feelings. You are excited, nervous, terrified, anxious, joyful, impatient, and elated. One minute you are certain the call (you know, THE call) will come any moment. The next minute, you are desolate, certain you will never become someone's mother.

Then you're picking out baby names. Then you cry. A lot. You obsess over the other hopeful parent adoption profiles online, comparing yourself to them. Then you decide you need to re-do your profile book ASAP. But then you don't. 

You need reassurance. You need to be left alone. 

You have the heart of a mother, but you don't have a child in your arms. You've been preparing a room for the child you have yet to meet. 

Who are you?

You have a what-if, maybe-baby. You have no idea when he or she will arrive. What he or she will look like. You may not know the child's race or level of special needs. 

You're preparing for everything and anything. It's confusing, tumultuous, and uncertain. You're on a journey with no map, no rest stop, and no finish line.

Who are you? 

You have a thousand questions. You wonder about having a baby shower. You might be curious about adoptive breastfeeding. You browse stores for tiny clothing--but when you think about purchasing, you feel guilty and scared.

You are so tired of the inquiries asking if you've "heard anything." Because you are so desperate to be able to say "yes," but you cannot. Because you haven't heard anything except the racing thoughts in your own mind.

Who are you? 

You're tired of getting baby shower and gender reveal party invites. There are adorable babies everywhere. Literally. Around every single corner. You wonder, when is it my turn? Where is my baby?

You question everything that's led you to adoption. Perhaps that's infertility, or disease, or miscarriage, or disability. You wonder, why? Why me? And, why not me?

Who are you?

You experience jealousy. You feel overlooked. You feel thankful that adoption is an option to build your family. You feel angry at yourself for feeling jealous and overlooked. 

You pray for your future child and his or her expectant parents. You pray for yourself: for peace, patience, and wisdom. You pray for grace, for all. 

Who are you?

You are a REM, sister. A Real Expecting Mom. (I cover that, in detail, here.)

You are allowed to have feelings. Conflicting feelings, big feelings, strange feelings. 

You are allowed to need help. Go to counseling, meet with your adoption support group, speak openly with your partner, family, and friends. Seek solace in your online adoption community.

You are allowed to ask questions. Questions yield answers that prepare you for motherhood-by-adoption.

You are allowed to be authentic. To anticipate.

You are allowed to grieve the failed adoptions.

You are allowed to fall in love with a baby who isn't yours.

Waiting to adopt is exhausting, trying, and scary. It's part of the journey. There is no way around it. 

You will feel and experience a lot in these days, weeks, months, and years of waiting. But remember, every single day you wait, as a REM, is a day closer to motherhood.


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