I read an article today on things that friends and families can do to help support those that they know going through open adoption. As I read through the list found here I realized that a lot of these things our family and friends already do. It makes me feel really lucky to have such a great support system out there and have friends and family just as excited as us about the adoption process. There are ups and downs to adoption and I am not always excited about what to do next because I am frustrated or scared or even just tired of all the waiting. At the end of the tunnel though I know that Andy and I will make great parents and that we will have a new family to grow and take care of!
Towards the end of that post are some don’ts to go along with it and I definitely think that they are important to remember. Seeing as the person is in the situation of going through the adoption process, they have heard plenty of stories and tales of how they are lucky to not have to go through pregnancy, how once they adopt they will get pregnant, or how someone had the child reclaimed from the birth parents. While all of this could be true and might happen they don’t need to be reminded of all these topics because they already think about them (probably daily). Friends and family should just be there to talk about the good parts and to help keep them positive in the months that lie ahead.
Along those same lines as the post above, our counselor mentioned that when we do finally place a child we should not introduce that child to our family or friends until after the reclaim period is over. After she explained her reasons it made a lot of sense and although it will be difficult to do we totally understand why we should do it. Friends and family are suppose to be the adoptive parent’s support system in case anything goes wrong with the adoption (as things have and will continue to do). If they have already met the child and bonded with him/her then instead of being able to just support the parents they are also grieving and coming to terms with the loss of the child. With the advances of technology this will be the most difficult thing for us to do after placement since we will want to tell everyone right away. As soon as we are ready to tell people though it will be posted all over the place and everyone will definitely know!
I read this quote today and really loved it…
“The adoptive mother believes she is the real mother because she is the one who got up in the middle of the night and was there for the child in sickness and health. The birth mother believes she is the real mother because she went through nine months of sculpting the child within her body and labored to bring it forth into the the world. They are both right. The adoptive mother who loves and cares for the child is the real mother. And the birth mother who never forgets her child is also the real mother. By denying that adoptees have two real mothers, society denies them their reality.”
It is something that as we go through the process of adoption we have to keep in mind because although we will be raising our child and be the parents there will also be a woman that gave birth to a beautiful child and gave that child up in order to give their child something that they couldn’t give themselves by placing them with another family that had two parents, stable home life, money to care for them, or whatever other reason she had for adoption. Andy and I are hoping that we have a good relationship with our child’s birth parents and that they are included in as much of their child’s life as they want to be and are able to. We truly believe that knowing us and having us as parents but also knowing where they came from will be the best for them to grow up being secure in who they are.
Tonight some friends of ours came over for dinner and to hang out for a little while. It was nice to have them over since we usually only see them in large group gatherings and can’t catch up as easily. Throughout the night we talked about a lot of the stuff going on with the adoption process and also what is yet to come as well.
One of the things we discussed was having a baby shower/welcome home ceremony. Since we aren’t sure when we will match and whether or not we will have a boy or girl at this point we have thought about not having a shower until after we get home with the baby and have passed the relinquishment period. This means a lot of the normal baby related items we will have already bought but it also means that our friends and family would get to meet the newest addition.
In the end for us it is more about getting to show off our new family because of how long it took to get to that point than it is about getting gifts for the baby… but if they really want there are always cute baby clothes and diapers to buy 😉
Andy and I have met some great people through our agency and even got to meet birth parents and adoptive parents that have already been through the match, placement, and the beyond. It seems like the people we have met are the best case scenario and we could only hope for a birth mother like those we have met to be who chooses us in the future.
Since we haven’t had to go through it yet we wonder what the match meeting will be like and if we will have to negotiate what we want/need in forms of contact or if everyone will already be in agreement as to what they want. It can seem kind of scary to invite a stranger into your life for the rest of your and their life but at the same time we hope that our birth mother wants to be somewhat involved with the family and not just want pictures and emails.
We have heard that over time the amount of contact we have from the birth mother will likely become less frequent as their lives go a different direction. While you can understand how as people change as they get older and will hopefully have lives of their own to keep them busy (different jobs, school, marriage, other children, etc.), as the child who was adopted gets older I hope for their sake they have contact with their birth mom still to be able to ask questions about their heritage.
In the one call we had with a potential birth mother the amount of contact she wanted seemed a little scary to us just because she lived so far away and wanted contact on specific dates of the year when typically we aren’t always home but with our respective families instead. If she had been a local birth mom though I think Andy and I would have been happy to have that much contact and would figure out what that would have meant.
After missing last months meeting due to being out of town I am happy that we could attend the June meeting since we talked about how to talk to birth parents. I was definitely sad that we missed the discussion on birth fathers last month as we found out tonight that it was a very informative meeting with a panel of lawyers who deal with finalization and the different scenarios with birth fathers. We will have to try and get the handouts from that night at least and see if we can find some of the information.
I digress though as tonight was still a good meeting about talking to birth parents. We got to meet an adoptive dad and his birth mother. They talked to us about how the initial phone calls and matches went and some of their history about how they ended up where they were when they met each other. It is so great to hear these stories that even when they are not exactly like our own we can still relate to parts of it and know that they understand our story too.
We can only hope that our relationship turns out as well as the placements that the presenters were talking about. I am anxious to see what our birth parent relationship will be when we find our match and if it will be exactly like we are hoping or not. I know that the right match will be what works best for all included, but it is still nice to think about the ideal situations that are out there sometimes!
Andy and I didn’t have anything else going on this afternoon so we decided we would rummage through the aisles of Target and Babies ‘R Us and find all the cool gadgets, toys, and clothes that we want to buy. Luckily a lot of the clothes were gender specific so it kept us from buying them now but I saw so many cute things for little boys or little girls that I can’t wait to buy and put on them!
We did find a stroller that we really like finally and it seems like it is exactly what we were thinking of. It is one of the ‘jogging’ strollers but it isn’t too heavy and sits a little higher off the ground for easier access on me.
Looking at everything in the store reminds me of how much we still need to buy even though we have so much from friends and family already… I know I am going to love shopping for baby stuff as we continue through the adoption process!
We got a lot of stuff today from a friend of Andy’s. We are really truly blessed to have such awesome friends that are so supportive in the process of our adoption!
Andy has been talking to one of his clients, that he has done freelance work for, about the whole adoption and keeping him updated. Recently he mentioned to Andy they have all kinds of baby related equipment that they don’t need any more since their youngest twins are already 4 years old including a car seat.
We ended up getting a porch swing, an indoor jumper, a baby bath, the car seat, some toys, safety latches and door handles, some diaper bags, an umbrella stroller, a pool baby float, and I am sure there are some other things I just can’t remember! It was a great load of stuff that we ended up paying very little for which if we had bought new at the store would have cost us probably at least 10 times as much.
It was a very great day for gifts in the house and it makes the list of items still needed before we bring home a little one shorter and shorter. We have been really blessed with finding some awesome people willing to give us their old things.