It is no secret that adoption follows the ups and downs of an emotional roller coaster. Whether you have endured an adoption wait, are currently forging ahead during the long days of the wait, or just find yourself drawn to learn more about the adoption process, you will know that no shortage of passionate reactions will be found.
For the past two years, my husband and I have experienced these emotions and many more as we anticipate the arrival of a new addition to our family. We have seen many good days and some difficult feelings on our journey. The first step to persevering through the wait, though, is a better understanding of what you’ll be feeling.
The feeling of excitement will be one that clings to hope. There’s not much like the excitement you feel as you hold the approved home study in your hand knowing the journey has just begun. Your excitement can wane on days when you deal with an opposing emotion, but it will be the foundation for the hopeful days to come.
There will be restless days when waiting for the unknown seems stressful and intimidating. Questions will fill your mind, making your nerves uneasy when your worry only focuses on what could go wrong or how many days have passed. What’s important about these feelings is to re-focus on the hope and find encouragement from your loved ones.
In a time when rejection may seem like the new normal, you will have days where another “no” results in strong feelings of frustration toward this process. Rejection is not an emotion we would ever wish for ourselves, but in adoption, we must put ourselves out there and be vulnerable enough to endure some frustration before we reach the end. Coming to this mindset that we can endure some frustration because it will ultimately lead us to more excitement will make the waiting easier.
My husband and I deal with this emotion almost every time we receive a new potential birth mother situation. Whether we choose to present our profile to this mother or not, we have received enough information about her and her life to allow us an intimate view of who she is. Our sadness comes as we read and try to put ourselves in any situation she might find herself in which led to her decision of adoption. Our hearts ache for her decision. The sadness we feel in reading the exposition of her life only leads us to pray for each prospective birth mother, whether she will be reading our profile or not.
Shock is an emotion that we have felt a few times during our adoption wait, and it has not always been while reading details of an adoption situation. Shock has come in the amount of paperwork to be completed, the questions we were asked during our home study, learning the amount of money we would need to finalize our adoption, the generosity of friends and family when fundraising, and the lack of education about adoption in our community. Shock has come because we never know what to expect, but it requires an action from us to be more prepared for the next shocking discovery.
Failed adoption. Rejection. Your heart can break before it feels complete.
If you have just started the adoption process, you can have fears of your profile being rejected, of being matched with a prospective birth mother and then experiencing a failed adoption, of not being able to come up with the funds for your adoption, or a host of other things. Fear can be crippling and strip you of the hope you need when waiting in adoption. Talking to someone who has journeyed through adoption can ease some fears and smooth the path ahead.
The picture of this in my mind is a child sitting on the edge of their seat, legs shaking in impatience, waiting their turn for their favorite game. Being eager is good when seeking the happy ending, but sometimes I am so eager to get to the end that I neglect to enjoy the process and learn along the way.
During our adoption wait, we have been able to channel all our feelings into hopefully inspiring others to consider adoption. We have shared our story with friends, colleagues, church groups, and strangers. Our hope is that others see God’s faithfulness in our messiness and even in the mystery of waiting that we have hope.
10. Overwhelming Joy
Picturing our family with a new addition through adoption always conveys overwhelming joy. Knowing the baby will one day be in our arms keeps us encouraged and comforts a sometimes weary heart during our wait. At the end of the day, I try to always get back to this feeling, no matter what type of emotion I faced initially. The joy of adoption will overshadow the other details even on a long awaited journey.
If at any time during your adoption wait you feel exhausted by any emotion, find someone who will be there to remind you of the overwhelming joy. Even on the hard days, keep your eyes focused, looking forward for what is to come.
Jill is a 32-year-old wife and mom. She has been married to her husband, Brannon, for eight years and has 5-year-old and 1-year-old daughters. Jill and her husband are currently in the adoption process to bring another baby into their home. Jill lives in a small community in Kentucky. She has her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish and obtained her Master’s degree in Christian Ministries. Jill’s passions are her faith, her family, writing, playing sports, and eating good food.