When many people think about adoption they think about what the person adopting is missing out on. As adoptive parents it is sometimes easy to view things that way too if we aren't careful. We need to remember we also experience things that are unique to adoption scenarios as well.
As adoptive parents we may not get to see our child before they are born. We may not hear the heart beat through a sonogram or see them stretch and move on the ultra sound. We may not feel them kick or get to talk to them before birth.
We miss out on the birth experience. For me, this is something I'm GLAD to miss out on, but other's long for the experience.
We miss out on pregnancy. We don't get to carry a child, bond with them for 9 months before birth, or experience the symptoms that mean a little one is growing inside you.
Most of us don't get to nurse our babies and need to use donated milk or formula. And we know this may ensue the wrath of the breastfeed only moms.
We don't get to be "cute pregnant ladies" or do cute pregnancy announcements. We don't get to surprise our spouse with the news a little one is coming.
For us, coming home from the hospital will not be completely joyous because it means another mother who just gave birth, placed her child in my arms and is leaving the hospital with empty arms. And because of this, Mother's Day will also always be bitter sweet.
And it is sad that we don't get some of these experiences and the joy these bring biological parents. And I am SO SO SO glad that my pregnant friends and our future birth mother will get to experience some of these joys. But, we get to experience a lot of things biological families do not and that will bring us joy.
We get to add more than just a child to our family. Through open adoption our child's birth family becomes part of our family.
We may get to watch our child grow in another woman's stomach. We may get to support her through her pregnancy and doctor's appointments .
We get to appreciate late night feedings, dirty diapers, and screaming babies even more because we worked so hard to bring that baby home. Those things will never feel like burdens.
We get to prove that love is stronger than blood and that families come in all shapes and sizes.
We get to prove to others and ourselves that we are stronger than we thought we ever were and that we are willing to go through anything to meet our child and bring them home.
We get to come up with adoption announcements!
We don't have to go to the doctor once a week. (I hate going to the doctor).
We get to advocate for those who can't advocate for themselves and we are helping a birth family know their child will be well taken care of.
We know how to fill out paper work like a champ. We know our spouse's answers to questions, family information, medical history, and biographical information by heart. We also know things about the legal system that no one should need to know and terms like ICPC, TPR, Finalization hearing, and Revocation Period and we can even use them all in one sentence!
We get to experience the "You've been matched!" phone call and rejoice over the light at the end of our long waiting tunnel.
We get to
We may get to watch our child being born! We at least get a phone call saying "your baby is coming!"
We don't have to lose pregnancy weight and don't have to deal with morning sickness, only potential papercuts from all that paperwork.
We may not have "labor pains" but we have pain. Pain while we wait, pain while we wait to see if the birth mother changes her mind, pain while we wait to see if our baby attaches to us as parents, pain as we our biggest joy is another mother's loss. Neither pain is enviable, but both are reality.
And we get to share the gospel. Adoption often leads conversations that lead to talking about Christ and how He adopted us first.
Adoptive mama's - don't feel like you are missing out on anything! You were called to fight for your child in a way many are not - be proud of that and revel in what you get to experience because of this beautiful, scary, hard, life changing journey.