12 New Things I’ve Learned About Adoption
A few weeks ago, in a past post, I mentioned that we were going to meet with a local couple who have adopted 2 children. Well, we finally met with them. Our connection to them is slightly removed – a friend of my husband’s sister and brother-in-law, whom we have never met before.
I’m never a person to be shy of making a cold call or striking up a conversation with someone I have never met before. I do it for work all the time, and I do it in social settings as well. But, I guess in this circumstance I was nervous. I felt like I was invading into a stranger’s life in a very personal manner. This isn’t just a “are you enjoying the beautiful weather we have” kinda conversation. This is such a personal topic, and such an intrusion. The irony of this, is that I had been annoyed with my husband for not speaking with his friend sooner to get there contact information, and then when I volunteered to contact her, it took me a few weeks to work up the nerve. I guess, I now understand my husband’s hesitation earlier on – funny how that one came full circle and I realize that he just needed the time to have the conversation with his friend.
First, I need to state that we truly valued the time that this couple took to meet with us. I called her, and less then 24 hours later we were meting with them. They invited us into their home; shared their story; experiences and initial fears with us; introduced us to one of their children (the other one was already in bed for the night); lent us a few must read books on adoption; shared the letter they wrote to prospective birth parents with us; and, answered any questions we had. It was a phenomenal experience for us, and we are so grateful for the honesty and support we felt when we were with them.
Anyways, here is the very basics (and only the basics, as it’s not my place to share) of what we learned about there journey:
- Both of their children are adopted through domestic open adoptions.
- They both still volunteer with the adoption agency, and strongly recommend them.
- They went through infertility struggles including multiple failed IVF treatments before they chose to adopt.
- Both children are healthy.
- Their children are inter-racial.
And here are my 12 key take-a-ways:
- Not all adoptions are horrible. The horrible stories seem to get all the press, but there are countless stories of healthy/happy adoptions, you might just need to put in a bit more effort to search them out. And, if I ever need a reminder of a happy story, they are the family to think about (as are some of the stories I’ve heard about in the blogging world, but real life people that I’ve met are a bit easier to conceptualize).
- If you adopt children of a different race, be prepared for random comments from complete strangers – grocery stores are the worst. Some are rude, some are inappropriate, but most come from an innocent curiosity and most people mean well.
- Mothers of adopted children are faced with more questions than fathers.
- The adoption agency and birth parents will know more personal details about your life then your own parents. Be prepared to share everything, even the most personal details.
- Most people who adopt have gone through some sort of infertility journey. Most people don’t expect to be in the position where they are considering adoption and have a lot of fears. And this is okay.
- The comment that stuck with me the most is “once we decided to adopt, it’s the first time we had hope that we would have a family.”
- We have a recommended adoption agency to speak with if we choose to. This was really important to me, because if we choose adoption, I want to use an agency that has been a positive experience for others and somehow a personal reference means a lot more than an online testimony. It’s not quite like car shopping where you go to multiple dealerships and pick your favourite – it’s kinda a much bigger decision then that.
- In our province there is a 10 day change of heart period for the birth parents to change their minds. It is rare to occur (maybe 1 or 2 a year), but it does happen. This scares us – I couldn’t even begin to imagine this circumstance where you are forced to return “your” new baby.
- All open adoptions in our province are of new-born babies that adopted parents take home form the hospital.
- Many employers have a tough time with adoption, because there may be no notice. Typically with pregnancy, they have about 6 months’ notice that the women is expecting. With adoption, sometimes you get a call that a baby is waiting for you, other times, you get a few weeks’ notice.
- The average wait time in m province currently sits at 3 years! And that’s the average, so it could happen in as little as a few months, or take as long as 6 years.
- Often the adoptive parents will want more contact with the birth parents, then the birth parents want. Which is much different than most people expect.
So, will we adopt? We are no closer to a decision. I think my husband is on information over-load after last night as he hasn’t done much research into adoption. Me, a bit less so, simply because I’ve done a lot of reading and research. But, I can assure you, both of our minds are still trying to digest everything we learned. And, right now, for the first time, I actually feel like adoption could be a decent option for us. But we change our minds on this subject all the time, so really, who knows?
Feel free to check out my other posts on our adoption indecision: