“Pregnancy is a wonderful time of dreaming about the future, learning to love the little one carried inside, and sharing experiences with other women. Even the inevitable pains and discomfort seem somehow easier when the experiences are shared. Most people, when seeing a pregnant woman, feel comfortable striking up a conversation about when the baby is due, whether it is a boy or a girl, and how the mother is feeling. It’s a special time.
The wait for an adoption is similar to a pregnancy but, in my opinion, much, much more difficult. Having been through three pregnancies and three adoptions, I’d take the physical discomfort of a pregnancy any day over the emotional stress of the adoption wait. A pregnancy has an expected due date. An adoption wait can go on for months or even years. When I was pregnant and wondered how my baby was doing, I’d poke my enlarged belly until I felt my baby move, which I took as assurance that he was just fine! When I was wanting to meet my adopted-child-to be, I’d stare and stare at her picture and wonder if she had a cold, if she was getting enough to eat, if anyone was tucking her into bed at night. I wondered if she’d been told that she had a family who loved her and was working as hard as possible to bring her home. When I was pregnant I wondered how soon my child would sleep through the night. While waiting to adopt a frail child from a threadbare orphanage I wondered if my child would live to sleep through the nights until she was in our home.
The camaraderie between pregnant women is fun to watch and a special group in which to participate. It doesn’t end after the child is born, either-women enjoy telling their pregnancy stories the rest of their lives! But because a few women adopt, it’s difficult to have anyone with whom to share excitement, cry over disappointment, and discuss every little detail.
A church body can help by being aware that when a family is waiting for the child they plan to adopt it is a very emotional time. Families are given pictures and other information about the child sometimes even a video, and the child becomes part of their family in their minds and hearts long before any paperwork makes it legal. It is a very surreal feeling to love and long for a child who is states or worlds away. It helps when people express an interest in the status of the adoption. Even more helpful is knowing that people are praying for all the details involved.
Simple awareness that the adoption wait is stressful and that adoptive parents-to-be would enjoy talking about it as much as pregnant couples do can go a long way toward making the wait easier.”
Our local church body here in Italy is amazing. Their love and support for our family as we travel this difficult path is precious beyond compare. This blog post is more of a public service announcement for you who are involved in the lives of people adopting. It may help you and others to love and encourage those who are in the wait.