To say that there are hills and valleys during the adoption process may seem obvious to some, but unless you’ve lived through it all, the mountains don’t look quite so high or the valleys so low. Knowing secondhand how adoption works will give you a glimpse of the journey. However, if you have never trekked up Mt. Everest, those secondhand details can never do it justice — but it’s in the details that you are more prepared to roam into the great unknown. Allow these highs and lows to better ready you as you experience adoption firsthand.
1. The Red Tape
If you haven’t already signed your life away, you’ll soon learn that the mountains of paperwork don’t leave you on a high. I can remember the late nights my husband and I would spend at our dining room table answering every question and completing every application. But it didn’t end there. Then, there were several background checks and physical exams, reference letters and interviews. Home studies rounded out the red tape that we had to get through in order to just be considered for the adoption process. It sure doesn’t feel so high when you’re standing at the base of all the stacks of paperwork to be done!
2. The Gray Area
Once you have progressed past the red tape, there’s a gray area. It’s not black or white because you cannot control this step. You’re waiting. You have been approved and will journey on through the stagnant waters of the wait. You may receive some prospective birth mother situations and present your profile. You could not hear anything for a month or two. A day will feel like a year at times when you don’t take any steps forward in the process. And the valley in the gray area may make you feel helpless and out of control.
3. The Green Monster
The outfield wall at Fenway Park is known as the Green Monster for baseball players attempting to conquer its magnificent height. However, the green monster in adoption refers to money. The stress and worry from money that can hinder your joy in adoption is real. Sometimes the fees seem insurmountable. Through fundraisers and pinching pennies, it may seem easier to hit a homerun in Fenway Park than to reach your goal for an adoption.
4. The Black and Blue Sentiment
On the rare occasion that an adoption experiences interference, you may be left feeling black and blue. Though no physical harm has been done, a failed adoption or rejection requires some healing as you pick yourself back up and keep going.
1. The Flashing Yellow Lights
In traffic, flashing yellow lights mean you are able to proceed with care. In adoption, proceeding with care means you have conquered the red tape and are able to start presenting profiles to expectant mommas. Your spirits are lifted after feeling bogged down from all the requirements, and you begin to see a glimmer of light as you make your way up the mountain.
2. The Pink or Blue Announcement
The phone call that leaves you breathless and jump-starts your heart rate will overshadow the gray area every time. Will the announcement be pink or blue? The call you have been waiting for to proclaim that a prospective birth mother has chosen your family trumps the days, weeks, and months of waiting.
3. The White Halls
When I think of the happy ending of adoption, my mind sees the white halls of the hospital that shroud your peripheral vision as you make your way to the nursery. Those white halls will be forever stamped into your memory as the last leg of your journey. Like the white cap at the top of a mountain, you will have reached the top.
4. The Brown Sugar
What is sweeter than being matched with a potential birth mother or holding your new baby for the first time? Sharing the sweet story of your adoption with others. Whether you use your experience to offer support to another family on the road to adoption, or you leave your footprints on the hearts of those around you about the overwhelming joy and inspiring hope of adoption, take the time to pass it on.
Always remember that the highs surpass the lows. There will be days when you feel you can’t see the summit. On those days when the anticipation overcomes you, keep your eyes on the mountain top.
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.