Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Ahhh FREAK OUT!



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...




THREE?!?!

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.

To...

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.

OOPS.

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!

 photo FREAKOUTgif_zpsc5c307bc.gif 

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'm also really hoping the Empowered to Connect Conference we're headed to this weekend helps guide us. I've heard so many great things about the program already, so I'm very interested in what they have to teach us. Perhaps a weekend full of adoption talks and meeting lots of folks who have experienced or are about to experience adoption is just what we need right now to gently guide us in the right direction, whatever that may be.

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...



41 comments:

  1. :) :) :)
    Bouncy chair and a sling to carry the baby. I like the Baby Ktan. yay!!!

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    1. Yes!! Thank you! I've heard the bouncy chair is a must and also something to carry baby. I've never heard of Baby Ktan, though. Will be looking into it!

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  2. YAYAYAYAYAYAY!!

    I am so excited for y'all and so excited at the possibilities in front of you. God is so good and faithful!! This post just put the biggest smile on my face. I'll be praying for you this weekend!

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  3. So exciting.. Do you have any moms 2 moms/or consignment sales you could find they usually offer some good deals? I agree with E. ..

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    1. We have a shop with lots of consignment stuff for kids and we looked there last week. We're thinking we'd get clothes from them, but a lot of their baby items seemed pretty dirty and beaten up. Never heard of moms 2 moms. Will definitely see if Memphis has anything like that! Thank you! :D

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  4. This is SO exciting! I often wonder what I will feel like RIGHT BEFORE I'm about to have my first child, biologically or through adoption...and I know for certain that it will be VERY SIMILAR to your mixed bag of emotions :) Regardless of timing/feelings of "readiness"/our plans in general, God will provide! Of course, you already know this, but at INCREDIBLY EXCITING TIMES it can be hard to keep everything in perspective :) Congrats in advance...you are so close!

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    1. Thank you!! These are very comforting words to hear. I'm really trying to look at the big picture here, but I keep forgetting! It's so easy to get caught up in all the little details. Must breathe. You're right -- God will provide!

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  5. Ahhhh! So excited for you and John!!!! Carseats are also super important! We loved our Chicco Keyfit 30. I can email you a list of other recommendations :)

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    1. DUH!! Carseat... knew that! Ha! We were actually considering the Chicco Keyfit 22, which John read about on Consumer Reports. (Yes, he's been researching the best baby gear on Consumer Reports. My little nerd dad.) I wonder what the differences between the 22 and the 30 are. Perhaps max weight of the child? I'll make John research some more. Haha. And YES PLEASE to the list of recommendations!! Thanks, Cathy! :)

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  6. Ok so I dont have any adoption perspective advice, well kind of, the two times where it was really real that we could be parents were both thrilling and terrifying! The first was when we got pregnant and as excited as we were, I did have a bit of a freak out and thought holy crap I'm a mom! The second time was when we got a call from our friend who is an adoptive mom asking if we would be willing to take in a newborn to be discharged in two days and her agency was looking for adoptive parents. It turns out both times didn't pan out bit both times we were excited and freaked out so yes I would say it's normal. It is a crazy task to raise children but remember that God gives out abundant grace for whatever you need! So excited for y'all!

    Side note about the whole formula thing, did you know you could still either breast feed or get donor breast milk if you wanted your baby to have breast milk for their first few months to a year? My friend who is a doula told me about it. I can ask her more info if you are interested.

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    1. I meant both times didn't pan out *but not bit.

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    2. Kat - Thanks for sharing about donor breastmilk. There are a couple routes to go, you can either work with a milk bank (check out HMBANA.org) or there are informal milk sharing groups (search for "Eats on Feets" or "Human Milk for Human Babies" on FB). I've shared some of my extra pumped milk with a local mom who adopted her daughter.

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    3. It is so good to hear these feelings are normal!! I mean, it's not that fun having freak out moments, but so long as they're almost always part of the process, I feel a bit better. :) And remembering that God gives out abundant grace... yup, I needed to hear that! Not only am I NOT alone in this because of my husband, I'm reeeeally not alone because of God. Now why can't I just remember that?

      I have heard that breast feeding is still possible, and while I'm somewhat intrigued, John is worried about pumping extra hormones into my body. While it's true that I'm already doing that with the Clomid and HCG, he feels (and I agree) that we're willing to do that to achieve pregnancy, but not for breast feeding, as there are substitutes. I really should look into getting donor breast milk, though. I wonder what the costs would be. Any ideas?

      Thanks, Kat!! :)

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    4. Cathy -- Thanks for the info!! That was sweet of you to share with an adoptive momma! Are the informal groups safe? I know of another adoptive family that must've gone through a milk bank because the dad talked about it all being regulated. He said they didn't use an informal group because of safety. Is that a big concern? Would people really tamper with breast milk??

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    5. Stephanie - I don't know about the cost of donor milk from a milk bank, but it's basically free in the milk sharing groups. The mom just ordered me some replacement milk storage bags.

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    6. If you go through a group it's basically free but if you go through a bank I am not sure of the cost. There are other non hormonal ways to breast feed but my friend said it may be more work than the hormonal routes. Idk exactly how but she mentioned nipple stimulation so I just said I would go for the donor milk, lol!

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    7. Stephanie - It's a personal choice. Eats on Feets talks about "The Four Pillars of Safe Breast Milk Sharing." (1) Informed choice, (2) Donor screening, (3) Safe handling, and (4) Home pasteurization. http://www.eatsonfeets.org/docs/TheFourPillars.pdf

      When I first talked with the adoptive mom, I volunteered all sorts of information about my lifestyle, including caffiene and alcohol consumption. I was also in the process of donating to a milk bank, so I offered to send her a copy of my screening packet. The fact that I was giving this same milk to Monica put her at ease.

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    8. Kat - LOL at your nipple stimulation comment. Haha!! More power to women who do that!! But I'm on the same page as you.

      Cathy - Hearing that puts me more at ease! I'm guessing it's more a case-by-case thing. If I end up going through a group, I will just need to make sure I'm mindful about those 4 pillars and I find someone I can trust. All great food for thought, and super helpful! Thank you!!

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  7. Wow! How exciting!

    I would imagine your feelings are normal... I have that freaking out feeling pretty often, and I at least have a rough timeline to prepare for baby (ie, there's no possibility I'll be surprised with a baby next week... ok there is at this point I suppose, but you know what I mean, right?)

    As for baby essentials... carseat you definitely need before baby, or you won't even be able to bring him/her home ;) And you missed bath stuff--a baby bathtub/seat, wash cloths/towels, baby shampoo/soap/lotion.

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    1. Glad to hear you're having similar feelings. :) I mean, I wish we could both skip the freaking out phase and just know it's going to all be a-ok. But if I have to go through it, at least I know it's normal. Also, I know what you mean, but please, little Maria, stay put for a while longer, ok? :)

      Thanks for the bath stuff recommendation! I guess that's pretty essential too! We don't want to have a stinky baby, after all.

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  8. SO exciting! Like anything big (well, huge!) it will and should freak you out, along with the excitement. I'm so excited for you and praying that the timing will work out the way that God wants it to. Yay!

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    1. Thank you!! Your words are so comforting!! :)

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  9. WOW!!! That is amazing!!!! Freak out feelings are totally normal!!! What agency are you working with?! Praying for you!!

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    1. Thank you, IM! You're excitement for us is so encouraging. And, of course, your prayers too! I'm definitely going to email you tomorrow with details about our agency! :)

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  10. Oh, Stephanie, this is so exciting and I would also say totally normal to be freaking out, after all you will soon meet who will be your son or daughter for the rest of your life and I know God already knows who it is and he or she will be just perfect for you and John. I will be praying for this to happen. I recommend you also get the tiny nail clippers because their nails grow really fast and then they can scratch themselves, also the thing where you sterilize the bottles and nipples.

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    1. Thank you!! It's scary yet so exciting to think "God already knows who it is." I'm so beyond thankful for all the prayers! And also for the recommendation for the nail clippers and the bottle/nipple sterilizer. All great things I hadn't even thought of yet. :)

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  11. I think you're being totally normal; your expectations were just thrown a complete curveball! And as long as you're doing what you're saying and praying for God's will...that's what will happen. :) Blessings and prayers as you get ready for your little one!
    And as far as baby gear...I found a wrap (mine is a Moby; there are a lot) to be really helpful.
    And as far as having a newborn, I've read and heard that even with adoptive parents, skin-to-skin time is so valuable to establish a connection between you.

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    1. "Your expectations were just thrown a complete curveball." Yes!! I can't believe I didn't think of that before, but you've hit the nail on the head. I've always had issues with my plans being rearranged outside of my control, so that's probably where all of this is coming from. Thank you for the prayers... they are SO appreciated! And for the wrap recommendation. There are so many to choose from, so I like hearing your personal preference. It helps narrow things down for me in the overwhelming world of baby item choices. And all I have to say about skin-to-skin time is a big, fat YES!!! That's completely related to all the great adoption/foster stuff we learned at our conference this past weekend. Can't wait to share that special bonding with our baby!!

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  12. This is exciting indeed! I am SURE you are normal. We are still sitting on the application (ie. long way behind you) and I'm already nervous and can't seem to get the application turned in. If I'm freaking out a little now, it's MORE than appropriate you are at this stage in the game. WOW. Thinking about you becoming a MOM so soon is crazy awesome! Makes me wanna get that app in! :)

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    1. Thanks, Amanda! I can feel your excitement for us and it makes me so happy! Puts me at ease. :) Btw, it may feel like you're a long way behind us, but we only sent our application in 7 months ago. A lot can happen in less than a year!! Praying for you guys!! And so excited for you two too. You'll both be rockstar parents!

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  13. I totally understand how you are feeling. I feel like I have those moments more and more as we get closer to adoption, of course now everything is on hold for awhile, but I know when we are back in adoption-prep-mindset I will be feeling the exact.same.way. You're right, there is no perfect time to welcome a little one, even if you are preparing for them, I'm sure God will bring you together when it's HIS timing, and who knows when that will be God's will be done.

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    1. Amen to that!! You're absolutely right. And I'm happy we're not alone in our feelings of fear and FREAK OUT! I really can't wait for you guys to be prepping for adoption again! Praying for you both!

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  14. I"m also curious to know how you like the book: Does Any one else look like me? Sounds like one I need to read. Prayers and peace be with you and your husband, you are on the right path, God's path, and your leap of faith in pursuing adoption is beautiful. Also I'm interested to know more about your agency...all of the ones by us have LONG waiting lists, so maybe we should consider applying. GOD BLESS!

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    1. I've only read about 1/4 of the book so far, but I'm really liking it. It's not *exactly* an adoption book. It's written by a Caucasian mom who married a Japanese man and therefore has 2 biracial biological children. She interviewed tons of transracial families, including adoptive families, to write the book, so much of it applies to adoptive families, but it's not exactly an adoption book. I hope that makes sense. I'd totally recommend what I've read so far though, and I was encouraged to read it by a blog post I read over at Grace in my Heart.

      I'm going to send you an email tomorrow with details about our agency. Since they're pretty small, they may not work across state lines, but I'm not sure. There are tons of questions I should have answers to regarding our agency, but I've just failed to ask. Oops! Anyway, I'll hook you up with the details and maybe you can work with them!

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  15. Wow...that does sound like things could happen really fast for you. I would prepare if we were only three couples waiting too. Is your agency a local one? Ours does a lot of interstate adoptions and works with couples from all over the country.

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    1. Yes, it's a very small local agencies. I think they mostly work with birthmothers in Memphis and in a few surrounding cities within TN. Though I think one of my Napro doctor's children that he adopted through them was born in New Orleans... so I'm not exactly sure. I'm so excited for you guys! I love that we're on this journey together. Can't wait to see where it leads for both of us. :)

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  16. Exciting!! I hope so very much that you become a mother very soon =) that's exciting to hear about the unexpectedly short waiting list!

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    1. Thanks, ecce! Exciting and SCARY and soooo exciting! :)

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  17. How exciting! That's crazy that there are only 3 couples waiting- that's seriously unheard of! It's so easy to overthink things and to worry that your emotions are a sign that you are moving too fast. But I highly doubt that's what it is. God tugged on your heart to bring you to adoption, and you answered him with a joyful "yes!". It's certainly not a decision that anyone takes lightly. In fact, I think in many cases our hearts are slowly molded to be ready for adoption. God led you this far, and He will lead you to your child in His time. It may be tomorrow or a little while from now. Either way, don't let your emotions take away from the joy and hope that comes along with it.

    I know for me, I didn't so much freak out about it becoming real. I moreso was worried about more heartache. I will say though that I was pretty numb to it all at first as things started to move forward with Nate's match. I think it was my way of coping with the unknown and this incredibly big change in our lives. Freak out all you want. We all deal with big changes in different ways, and I think freaking out is certainly a legitimate one. Just don't let freaking out and fear make you turn away from some possibilities sooner. God will provide. There is never a "perfect" time to have a child. There will always be challenges in timing, but the second his or her sweet little fingers wrap around yours you will realize that all the other stuff and the planning really doesn't matter. I hope I'm not sounding too opinionated or preachy here, but as someone who is all about planning and wanting things to happen at the right time, I totally get what you mean. But I've come to realize that with welcoming a child through adoption everything else falls to the side. It won't matter as much anymore. Things have a way of working out.

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    1. Thank you, Lisa! I really needed to hear this. Like, really!! Especially this -- "the second his or her sweet little fingers wrap around yours." *Swoon!* That just melts my heart and gets me so excited again. It's so nice to hear that it's normal to have freak out moments and they don't mean that we're not being called to this. Your comment is not preachy at all. Just SO helpful!! Thank you!

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