Feeling Preggers without the Glow
Updated: Jun 2, 2019
As we took this leap of faith off the cliff of adoption, others who have taken the leap before us told me how the process can feel like pregnancy, giving way to birth. I understood the analogy and took it as just a figure of expression for how hard this path can be. I know I'm still in the early stages and I've yet to see my "sonogram image" of who I anticipate to one day hold in my arms, but that analogy is beginning to feel more real than I could have imagined.
The fatigue from the constant paper chase is enough to make you feel like you are eating and working for two! It's not just the "to do list", although that is massive in itself; from making doctor examinations for everyone in the family, finger printing and background checks from all states you've lived in, copies of birth certificates and marriage license, bank statements, employment verification, psychological evaluations, and more, then having it all notarized. And since our oldest son is now a legal adult, he has to do the same level of evaluation that we do, so working with all of our schedules to get these things done can be a juggling act.
I knew that the to do list was what we were getting ourselves into, but I did not anticipate the emotional toll this process would be. The number of hours we have gone through training videos on adoption and attachment disorders has brought up a lot feelings about our own parenting lessons we've learned with our boys and how it will look different with our daughter, but it has also caused me to reflect more on how it had been in my home growing up with my adopted brothers. The personal history questionnaire we spent days thoughtfully and carefully writing, then became two separate 4-5 hour conversations discussing our family dynamics, our childhoods, our feelings about them, traumas we've experienced, our marriage and how we resolve conflict, our parenting techniques and how we plan to parent a special needs child and on and on! Pulling out all those emotions from your past is exhausting! I honestly do love self-evaluation, but this has taken it to another whole level.
It has been good, but stretching and tiring. Similar to the 1st trimester of pregnancy, this phase is about a lot of growth in a short amount of time. I feel tired and emotionally drained, yet there's still so much to be done. Life doesn't stop. I still have kids needing my help and guidance, a home still needing cleaning (which is more when you have it on the market), bills to pay, and dinner to make. And because of the absorbent amount of adoption fees, I've added more on my plate to make sure it's covered. From watching neighbor kids, working at our church, tutoring English weekly, to working on fundraisers and letting people know about our decision to adopt.
The further down the road I get, the reality that my child is at the other end of all this is also starting to sink in. Just like when you feel that first flutter of movement in your womb and the idea that you're "expecting" grows into a little face you will soon see and little hands you will soon hold. I HAVE been worn out, BUT... like crossing over into trimester 2, all of a sudden I'm seeing other mothers with their young daughters and I see myself holding my little girl. I have to hold back the tears as I can visualize what is just around the corner. All of these emotions are what a pregnant woman goes through, but the difference I see is that there is no bump sticking out for all to see. The "pregnancy glow" is absent to the average eye. There are no questions of how I am doing, when is the due date, nor offers to sit down and take a break! While I do appreciate being asked how things are going from those with no personal experience, there is a lack of understanding of the weight I feel when I share I'm still working on paperwork. My hearts desire is to get it done as soon as possible to shorten our waiting time, but life circumstances does not make it easy.
Unlike pregnancy though, adoption brings a new sense of belonging to a group you never knew existed. It's like when you go car shopping and decide to buy a Honda because it makes the most sense for your family, but then you start seeing ALL the other Honda's in the parking lots and driving down the road. They were always there, but for some reason you just didn't notice them. It wasn't until we took our big leap and announced our decision that these amazing women sought me out to encourage me and share their adoption stories. I had known a lot of them, but I did not see them the way I see them now. There's a special bond that comes from knowing, really knowing what each other are going through or have gone through. I have been so touched and overwhelmed at the offers to pray for us or even to help raise the funds from some who have known me, some I've just met, and some I've never met, yet they feel connected to me because of this amazing journey towards motherhood only adoptive parents can share. They offer because they have experienced the hard struggle of adoption and the rewarding joy of adding a new member to their families.
I have felt discouraged at times and quite alone, but then God brings women along my path I didn't know to seek out. Ladies who have been there and can empathize and pray with me. Ladies who respond to my news of adoption the same way others would respond if I shared "I'm pregnant!", because they understand that in my heart, I am!