When we first started our journey to adopt, we read a lot about the varying amounts of time it takes for a child to ultimately make it to your home. I spoke to people who welcomed a child within four months – which is some kind of record – and some whose journey took them nearly two years.
We were prepared for a long wait, but of course hoping for a short one.
If you’re familiar with the adoption process, you know that before you can welcome a child into your home you have to complete a Home Study, which is a roughly three month immersive look into your life to see if you’re fit to parent. It includes everything from interviews – together and separately, references from friends, more paperwork than a mortgage, relationship questionnaires, medical physicals, FBI clearances, vet immunizations, hours of course work, CPR and safety coaching – the works. Before you can legally adopt a child, you have to complete this Home Study.
On Monday, October 30, we were about a week into ours when we got a late night call from our case worker. Seemingly looking to verify some information about our preferences, she launched into the call that would literally rock our world:
“So, I know you have barely even begun your home study and just started the entire adoption process, but we received a call from a Chicago-area birth mother who needs to line up a birth family….now. She’s due December 7. Are you interested?”
It was only two months ago that we really launched into the process of adoption. And while yes, generally speaking we are ready to be parents, but would we be ready for babe in a month?
For the rest of the night, Chris and I barely spoke to each other. We were in such shock (I think quite literally) that we could potentially be parents in a month, that we didn’t even know what to say to each other. How do you even start to have a conversation about that?
We told our case worker that we needed until the next day to think it over. Answering the call about whether or not to potentially become parents in a month is not something to be regarded lightly.
So we took the time we needed. But in the end, the decision was easy – yes, we were in. Yes, yes, yes.
You’re never really ready to be a parent, so whether our journey would be one month or nine, we knew we’d figure it out.
Nearly two weeks went by where we heard nothing. While I won’t share details about the birth mother, there was a lot about her life that was chaotic and stressful, so looking through profiles of potential adoptive parents wasn’t something she was able to prioritize.
So, we waited. And we waited.
Imagine waking up every day thinking, “This could be the day that changes our life forever.” That’s what the past two weeks have been like for each of us. We’ve been excited, stressed, hopeful, frantic. I’ve lost my hair, my mind, my ability to function as a normal human. Slightly dramatic, but if you know me, you likely aren’t all that surprised.
With the help of our case worker, we’ve packed in a 12 week home study into less than two weeks. That’s a LOT for two people to handle. We’re tired. Between that and our day jobs, we’ve had zero time for anything else. Friends, family, wellness. Whatever we prioritized before, our only thought was baby.
And, even though the birth mom wasn’t yet making her decision about which family to choose, we had to plan as if she would choose us. One month is really not a lot of time to plan, especially when you throw in holidays and, well, real life.
But plan we did. We started to clean out the room we set aside for the nursery, bought our baby books to help us figure out how to keep the sweet thing alive, researched car seats and cradles and lined up friends and family who could lend us what we needed for the first few weeks of life.
In other words, we let ourselves fall in love with the idea of this one particular child.
When we first started our journey to adopt, we were also told that adoptive parents go through approximately three birth parent situations before they find “the one.” But we were the exception, right? This opportunity came to us easily because it was meant to be, right?
Sadly, we were wrong.
As it turns out, this birth momma had other plans for her sweet child. Which means, it (cosmically) wasn’t ours. The baby we had hoped to have in our home in less than a month will be growing up somewhere else. And that’s…all there is to say about that.
There’s nothing that can really explain how we’re feeling. We rationally know it will be OK and we also rationally understand that this wasn’t meant to be. And it is getting easier. But we can’t help but feel a sense of utter rejection and longing.
Longing for a baby to be in our home soon, and knowing that it won’t be.
Rejection over knowing that a birth mom saw our profile, and for whatever reason, deliberately chose someone else.
It’s a situation where you of course start to question everything about yourself and your choices.
” Was she turned off by my fake red hair?”
“Does she hate cats?”
“Does she think we’re spoiled brats because we’ve had advantages she hasn’t?”
Of course, none of those are true. Or maybe they all are. Who knows? And who are we to judge her if they are?
While it would be easy to pick apart every word and picture in our profile, blaming ourselves for the picture we’ve painted of our life together, I have to remember this: I am proud of who I am, proud of who WE are, proud of the choices we’ve made, proud of the way we’ve lived our lives.
And while we know that adoptive families are chosen for reasons we can’t understand now, we know that our baby is out there. He or she may not even be a germ of a thought; shoot, his or her parents may have yet to meet.
We know it will happen. It may not be in a month, it may not be in a year.But we know that when we’re chosen, it will be because the universe willed it to be so. And our sweet family will be complete.