Saturday, September 17, 2011

Words of Wisdom

It's been a while.  It feels nice to sit down and write down some of the thinking that's been going on.  Over the past ten days, I have had the true pleasure of talking with two different people in my life (and their significant others) who have been through the adoption process.  The words of wisdom that they had to share were invaluable.  What I took away, above all else, from the conversations that we had was the overwhelming positivity with which both of them spoke.  I had spent so much time reading book and book and each book was filled with more warnings than the one before.  I suppose that is the job of these books, to prepare potential adopters for the difficult road ahead.  And they certainly did their job.  I have been well exposed to all of the many stressful pieces of the adoption process, I am now well versed in all of the things that could go wrong, and I could recite by heart all of the difficult steps that we will face as we begin our journey.  But what these books seemed to be missing, or, more honestly, the parts of the books that I simply skipped over, were the parts that shared what made this all worthwhile.  And that is exactly what I found in the conversations I had with people who had been through the process.  

Neither of the couples that I spoke with had an "easy" adoption process.  They both had their long waits and even some false starts along the way.  Neither of the couples left those parts out of their story.  But what I found most amazing is that those parts were not the focus of our conversations.  Neither couple felt the need to warn us about what was going to happen nor the struggles we would face.  Instead, they both wanted to offer us helpful hints and most of all share the enthusiasm that they both had for the adoption process.  In a million different ways, these conversations made me feel much more positive about adoption in general and our journey in particular.  

One of the women I talked to was a good friend of one of my close friends and we met at our common friend's wedding.  We were both in the bridal party and we instantly hit it off.  When I told our common friend that Carla and I were planning to adopt, she instantly put us into contact with her friend who had recently been through the adoption process.  It was a brilliant idea.  We spoke on the phone last Saturday and it was such a helpful conversation.  She lives in California and used a facilitator to adopt, so some of the legal aspects were different from what they will be for us, but the conversation in general was beyond helpful.  

One of the best pieces of advice that she gave me was that we need to do the things that feel right to us.  One of the things we have really been struggling with is the idea of when to begin preparing for a baby.  When women get pregnant, they know they have nine months and then there will be a baby.  They know when they should paint the nursery, when they should buy the furniture, when to start buying clothes.  But when people begin the adoption process, you have no way of knowing when a baby will come.  Every book that I read said that you should not, for any reason, prepare a baby room until you are basically bringing the baby home.  The reasons they had for this advice made sense.  They said it would be a painful reminder of what wasn't there yet as you waited for an undefined amount of time or that it would be an unbearable sight to see if a birth mother changed her mind.  But, for us, something about that didn't feel right.  When I spoke with our friend who had been through the process she told me that the second their paperwork was all finished and they entered the adoption pool, she started to set up the baby's room.  She said that Carla and I just didn't seem like the type of people who would become weepy while looking at a baby's room.  And she is right.  That isn't us. And it also isn't us to not begin preparing for what we know will one day be coming. That's just not how we do things.  It was so nice to hear someone say, you know what feels right for you and that's what you should do.  

The next couple that we spoke with was a lesbian couple who adopted their son several years ago.  One of them is a coworker of mine and has already been an unbelievable resource for me during my coming out process at work.  And as soon as I reached out to her, she invited Carla and I over for dinner this past Wednesday to meet her son and talk with her partner and her about the whole process.  Again, they spoke with such positivity about the process.  One of the best parts of this conversation was that they went through one of the adoption agencies that we are thinking about using.  They had a wonderful experience and helped us to see a lot of the benefits of this agency without ever trying to sway us one way or another.  One of the nicest parts for me to hear was about all of the other people that they met through the agency.  It was nice to hear about the community feeling that they experienced through the agency.  It has become a place where they can go and be around other families that look like theirs and their son can see other families that look like them and not like them and begin to really learn that all families look different.  They spoke of the agency and of the people they have met and of what their son has brought to their lives in such an incredible way.  I can only hope that our family will one day share the kind of love that the three of them share.  It was an incredible evening and I left, once again, feeling so hopeful about the adoption process.  

Talking with people who have been through the adoption process has been so incredible and so helpful.  I am not always the first person to reach out to others.  It's just never really been the way I have done things, but I am so thankful that I have had such wonderful people to reach out to and they have all offered their help and support along the way.  I see the adoption process in a new way after this past week.  I see it in a more positive light, with more hope, and with more love than I ever saw it before.  

Next week, we will begin meeting with the two agencies and I am hoping that one will just feel right.  And then, my guess is, we will take some time to pause and enjoy the process of our wedding for a while before we take any further steps.  I feel really good about what we have learned so far and I am now looking forward to taking the next step.  

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