Last week I called our adoption agency to ask a few questions, including one I should have asked a long time ago.
"How many families do you have in your waiting pool?"
AKA "How many couples do you have completely ready and waiting for the perfect baby to come along?"
I'm expecting her to say 50, maybe 20, perhaps as low as 10.
So you can imagine my shock when she says this number...
Wait, but seriously... JUST THREE?!?!?!
That's what I was thinking in my head, not saying outloud. Outloud it was more like...
"Oh, wow! That's... nice."
*commence minor freak out*
Though, actually, it's not just three. It gets better. The agency director told us that "a few" of those families have actually been in the waiting pool for a while, meaning, for whatever reason, birthmothers are not as likely to choose them.
Ok, first of all, what does she mean by "a few"? When the waiting pool only has 3 (THREE!!!!) families in it, does a few mean one? Or two? Or all of them???
And second, you can see why I'm freaking out now, right?
ISH JUST GOT REAL!!!!
This whole adoption thing just got reeeeeeaaaallyyyyy real!
We went from...
Thinking it was possible an adoption could happen really soon, but more likely would happen in a year from now.
Thinking it's possible an adoption could happen a year from now, but more likely will happen really soon!
That's a big shift! I suppose you could argue we should have been ready for this to happen in any amount of time, but then I guess I should tell you we just weren't operating that way.
So, we've kicked things into high gear.
First, we asked our agency to put us in the not-quite-yet-waiting pool for the time being. While we could technically be ready for an adoption tomorrow, we'd really feel most comfortable with some extra time to prepare. We're attending an adoption conference this weekend, a newborn parenting class at the end of May, and I'm leading a big youth group trip in June, so we've told the agency we'd really like to hold off until mid-June. That way, we'll have all our adoption training officially done and I won't have to scramble to find someone to lead that big trip for me. Plus, it'll give us a few extra months to save a little bit more money for baby before I take my unpaid 12-week maternity leave. Overall, mid-June just seems like a much better fit for us.
However, we also told the agency if they think the perfect baby for us has come along, they can still, by all means, call us.
I mean, it's not like there will ever be a perfect time to welcome baby, right? Plus, while I'd really like to get all that stuff done and go on that trip with the teens, I'd also really like to be a mom. I'm trying to BIG PICTURE this thing right now.
Next, we started putting together a baby registry. It feels so weird to say that. Even weirder to actually create one. There's no baby right now. There's no baby shower in our pre-baby future. But we need to really start prepping! And this seemed like the natural next step. So, I've been reading over some of my favorite bloggers' must-have newborn baby items (Catholic All Year & Little Moments) and asking close friends for baby gear suggestions. I'm thinking the real must-have items (like absolutely must have or else you won't survive items) are formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, onesies, and crib. But if you have any other suggestions, I'm all ears!
(Sorry, I just need to take a second to say it is so weird that I'm asking for baby essentials suggestions.)
We've also made sure to continue discussing and educating ourselves about transracial adoption. Our agency mostly works with African American and biracial mothers, so this has become a priority. We met with a Caucasian Catholic couple that has adopted two African American girls and bombarded them with questions. We are reading two books -- Come Rain or Shine: A White Parent's Guide to Adopting and Parenting Black Children by Rachel Garlinghouse and Does Anybody Else Look Like Me?: A Parent's Guide to Raising Multiracial Children by Donna Jackson Nakazawa. We've e-chatted with a few other transracial families. We've prayed about it. We've come to really wrap our minds and hearts around it through conversation with each other. While we certainly don't know everything about transracial adoption, (not yet, not even close) we know we're headed in the right direction.
Last, but certainly not least, we've been telling all of our close family, and a few close friends. Many are already aware of our adoption plans, but now we get to tell them that HOLY MOLY THIS COULD HAPPEN SOON! Thankfully, our families and friends have been nothing but supportive. It's really only strangers or new acquaintances who think we're a little crazy. So, that's good.
Through all of this, we've had a healthy dose of excitement and a minor dose of FREAK OUT!
Because this is a big deal! We're not just adopting a newborn. We're adopting a whole person. As my husband says, "I can handle a newborn. Heck, I can handle an elementary schooler. But a teenager?? That's a whole different ballgame." And raising a child from newborn to adult... it just seems like there's a lot of potential for us to mess things up. Yikes! Are we ready for this??
Everyday, I go back and forth between, "We've got this, we're so ready," and "AHHHHHHH! This is scary!"
Watching this documentary certainly didn't help. If you want to watch a movie about a transracially adopted African American teenage girl who ends up with a serious identity crisis, go ahead, be my guest. But be warned -- it will make you sad, very sad. And if you're thinking about transracial adoption, it will make you question everything. Luckily, I thought it through a bit more and realized our situation would not be very similar to hers (she was raised by two women, closed adoption, didn't have any African American role models growing up), so I'm feeling better now. But it still made me FREAK OUT a little.
I suppose I write all of this for two reasons...
First, to update you on our life as of late. It has been getting-ready-for-adoption overload and I've been
freaking out pretty much enjoying it. It really is an exciting time for us!
But also, to ask if these freak out feelings are normal. I'm guessing a little bit of worry and nervousness about becoming parents (which is SUCH a big deal) is healthy. But I also worry that since I don't exactly have a peace about this situation, God may be trying to say sloooowwwwwww dowwwwwwnnnnn!
Any advice from adoptive parents out there? Did you feel this way when things started to get real? Is it ok for me to be freaking out at least once a day?
And by the way, when I say "freaking out" I really just mean worrying, questioning, and over thinking everything.
Most folks I've already talked to say these feelings are normal, but I'm open to hearing your thoughts. Anyone's thoughts, really. We've all had to discern big things in our lives. Can you be sure you're doing the right thing even if there's a little bit of freaking out involved?
I've been praying every night that God will bring the perfect child into our lives at the perfect time, and in His perfect way.
Let's see where this takes us...