Thursday, July 28, 2016

It Matters What You Say - Adoption Language

First, I want to say thank you to the adoption community and all my friends. After my last post I got such a great response. The adoption community is the best and sooo supportive. It is nice to know how many people are praying for us, rooting for us, and supporting us. And it's nice to not be alone in those feelings. ( not that I wish anyone to experience that, but it is nice to have support from people who have been there)

Today we have been waiting 18 months! I'm hoping we are in the final stretch. I talked to our social worker on Monday and opened up our preferences a little bit. We are now willing to consider a baby who has been exposed to drugs. There are a lot of reasons we opened this up and if you want to know we can talk about! We feel really good about our decision to be open to more babies. Plus, with adoption, most babies have been exposed to something. She also told us that looking at our preferences and profile that we are looking at 2 years average wait time. This is longer than we have been told in the past, but that's okay. It is also hard for the social worker to give us a time - she doesn't know if the next family who views our profile will choose us or 20 families from now. We are hopeful it will be around 2 years or before, if it takes longer that's okay. We will wait until the right family finds us.

So, I have really been thinking about adoption language recently. There are so many people involved in adoption so there are a lot of emotions and sensitivity. It is important to those adopting and birth/expectant families that you use the right language when talking about adoption or adopted children. So here is a list of appropriate and inappropriate adoption language. I hope you can learn from it and be more aware of the impact of your words.

Expectant mother or family - a mother contemplating adoption who has not given birth yet.
Birth mother/first mother or family - a mother who has given birth and made an adoption plan
Make sure you use the appropriate term when talking about the biological mother, it depends where she is in the adoption process what you call her.

Orphan - An orphan is a child who has one or more parents who are deceased or have been abandoned. This term is appropriate for children in international adoption but NOT in domestic adoption. Most infants adopted through domestic adoption have parents who are alive and were not abandoned. This term could offend your child's birth family.

"real family" - this can be in reference to siblings or parents, but this term is NOT OKAY - no matter who it is referring to. The birth parents are real parents as are the adoptive parents and siblings.

Once the child is adopted and part of a family do NOT refer to the parents as adoptive parents or the child as adopted son or daughter. As much as this is true, the parents are just parents and the child is their child. Yes they adopted and the child WAS adopted, but once that's done they are just family, a family made through adoption. If you want to talk about the child being adopted make sure you use past tense - the child WAS adopted, not IS adopted.

Made an adoption plan - this is the right phrase for a birth mother who picked an adoptive family for her child. DO NOT say - "gave up" for adoption. This phrase has a negative connotation for the child and the birth family. It could make them feel like their birth family gave up on them and that's not usually the truth.

I'm sure I've missed some - so let me know what I should add to the list! I'll add as I come up with more

It is really important that you start using the right terms when talking about adoption - it shows respect for the family that adopted or is adopting and the birth/first family.  Hopefully, this helped you learn the right thing to say and you can start adjusting your vocabulary! If you have ever said the wrong terminology to us that's okay - we know you don't know.

Thanks again for all of your support - you guys are the best.
With love,

Friday, July 22, 2016

A Window into Adoption Heartbreak

I want to write this post because I want to be transparent and honest and give you guys a glimpse of the reality of the adoption world. This week was a really hard one. My heart is breaking as I write this, but  I want to share.
Monday we got a message about an expectant mom who is due soon and wanted to make an adoption plan - I'm not going to share any of the details because they aren't mine to tell. Because of certain circumstances our agency asked us if we would be willing to have our profile shown to this mother. We talked it over and agreed to show our profile. We knew the expectant mom would be viewing profiles on Tuesday. And our social worker promised to update us by end of day on Friday. So then we waited. And waited. And prayed.
We agreed to be open-hearted, to stay hopeful, and expect the best. The amount of anxiety felt in a wait like this cannot be explained. It is harder than the regular wait because I know that our future and our family could change by the end of the week, usually you don't know this kind of information. You just get a call that you've been matched or you get a message on how many people viewed your profile. But in this situation, you know the mom is looking at your profile  in the middle of 9 other profiles (at least). So we pray for something in our book to stand out, for the expectant mom to pick us, for the baby to be healthy, for peace and comfort for everyone. We pray and pray and pray for God to bring our baby home.
And today, we waited all day. Wondering, what time is end of day for our office? Has the expectant mother decided anything? Why is our social worker waiting all day to contact us?
Finally, we heard at almost 7, the expectant mom picked another family. And the world starts to crash. All the hopes we had for this baby, our expectations, our prayers crashed around us. And now we grieve the family that we are still waiting for. We have been told no around 15 times at this point and this is the 4th situation like this. Every time stings. This time stings a lot. It is hard to remain hopeful and hard to thank God for this, right now it doesn't feel good. Right now it doesn't feel like a blessing. It makes me wonder how much longer I can go through these ups and downs and when our time will finally come.
I know this is obviously not our baby, it is not time yet for me to be a mom,  this is not the time for us to be a family of three yet, God will bring us our baby, I know that. It doesn't make it hurt any less to know these things.
Now, I will focus on leaning on my community and accept the support offered from those who have been here and get this feeling.  I will continue to grieve. I will continue to pray that our child will be home soon. And I will continue to hope, even though it's painful, and continue to believe that God will bring us our child. When that happens I will be able to look back and see why this was a no. When we get our child I will be able to see why I had to wait for that yes. I cannot wait for that day.
Thanks for reading, for being willing to see the hard parts of this adoption world, and allowing me to be honest. Please continue to pray for us. That's what we need right now. You guys are the best.

PLEASE watch this song it is beautiful and encompasses a lot of my feelings right now, and hopefully it will speak to you too.