Even though I have always wanted to adopt and I know that this is the right decision and the beginning of a great adventure, I have mourned basically throughout this entire process about the loss of being able to experience the “normal” celebratory parts of having a child. When we told people we were adopting an older child (as opposed to having a baby), we got, at best, confused, shell-shocked happiness. At worst, just the confused part. I haven’t been able to post picture of my cute, growing, pregnant belly (not that my belly would ever be cute); I could have posted pictures of me crying while filling out paperwork. I couldn’t really pick out a bedroom theme and decorate kids’ rooms like in a magazine because 1) until 3 weeks ago, we didn’t know if we were going to adopt a boy, a boy and a girl, two boys, or two girls, and 2) If I choose a theme like dinosaurs and go all out, there’s a very distinct probability that the kid would come home and hate dinosaurs. We’re feeling pretty great that we painted his room blue with orange accents and he likes orange and blue. I can’t buy him a cute, coming home outfit because we don’t know what size he wears or even what kind of clothes he likes. I will not have a picture of the first time I meet my son because, even though I would love to have a photographer with us, it would (of course) freak him the heck out. Instead of coming home and thinking about baby feet and crib sheets, I’m thinking about rules and safety and counselors and documentation. I’m not calling day cares about their infant program, I’m going up the elementary school and trying to look as much like a “mom” as possible while asserting that “No, I am not in high school” and “Yes, I will be the parent of a third grader.”
About a year ago, some friends announced that they were pregnant to us at a party and they hugged each other and talked about how excited everyone was. I selfishly struggled, ya’ll. I had a fake happy smile and probably celebrated louder than I should have to cover my disappointment, but when we left and got out to the car, I lost it. I told Alex that I just felt so isolated, like the lone weirdo out here in lala-land doing something that no one else understood. There’s alot of strangeness, alot of blank stares and shoulder shrugs. There’s alot of feeling alone.
While I know that we’re doing the right thing for us and I don’t really care if you said, “What are you doing, you weirdo?”, I really really appreciated it when 167 of you liked and commented on my facebook status announcing our adoption. I felt celebrated. When my sister called me seven times last Thursday, sometimes giggling, sometimes bawling, because she was so excited that she didn’t know what to feel, I got choked up. When my dad texts me that he’s studying up on burping and farting jokes, I get emotional. When friends reached out to me to say, “I want to throw you a shower but I have no idea how…”, they didn’t get to see my tear-filled eyes on the other end of the phone or computer screen. Even though it’s a shower where the guests buy tickets to the Dallas Zoo or gift cards so we can buy bedding that he will pick out in lieu of baby shower guests buying teething rings and diaper cakes, even though it’s still weird and feels a little unknown, all of that means so much more to me than you know.
You are normalizing my parenting experience, even just a little bit, and I’m so damn thankful.
(PS- We are super duper excited about adoption, but like most things it comes with lots of feels. I didn’t intend for this post to be a pity party, so I hope it doesn’t come off that way. I just wanted to share one small aspect of how pre-adoptive parents might feel!)