This past Sunday Sam and I attended an all-day seminar on the adoption process, held at the San Antonio branch of Adoption Affiliates. Even though we had already decided to work with this agency, the seminar further assured us that this is the perfect fit for us. I’m so excited I could talk about it all day long..!
The seminar covered a wide range of adoption-related topics, answering questions from “how does a birthmother feel when going through this process?” to “what kind of car seats should we think about getting?”. We got to hear stories directly from a birthmother and two couples who have become parents through AA: how the branch directors at AA (Jan and Julie) went above and beyond helping them through the process; how they were extensively counseled on coping with all these changes, how they still care even though it’s been a couple of years since the formal process ended. The sense of peace seen in these people, from their grateful words down to their body language, made us feel like we were in the process of not only becoming parents, but becoming family with this agency.
We were one out of six couples that attended the seminar; it’s funny how total strangers can instantly feel a strong connection the second they begin to share their stories with one another. Even though specific reasons for infertility varied among us, the deep longing and sense of humility in that room was palpable. For a split second I thought, “Sooo… a birthmother could pick us… or any of these other couples”, but instead of feeling “competitive” about it, I felt very hopeful and happy that we were all there, together, with one common hope: to expand our families and love a child.
So, a few of the many things we learned:
- Many birthmothers are NOT teenage girls, as you would believe. The birthmother we met was 29 years old when she got pregnant with her third child, and since she is strongly opposed to abortion and could not take care of so many children, decided to give her child up for adoption. She still receives letters and photos from the adoptive family, and the little girl knows she has a birthmother (even though she’s only two years old). She is so happy that the girl is in wonderful hands.
- Older people, as a general rule, tend to have a harder time accepting adoption as a safe way to become parents. This made me feel much better, since my grandma has been having a hard time understanding why we have decided to adopt. She believes that Sam and I “don’t have enough faith in God”, and wishes we would wait until a miracle happened. It’s been one of the hardest things to deal with, because it’s easy to feel like we’re being rejected for our decision. But, hearing stories about why older people react this way to adoption gave me a better understanding, and hopefully more patience too.
- We should be getting ready for baby, after all. One of the most important things this seminar gave me was permission to feel excitement; permission to buy crib, look up bottle brands, etc. But, they do recommend that we wait until baby has been placed in our home before there is a baby shower. They explained that every once in a while they do have birthmothers who change their mind after all, so it is wise to wait until baby is home.
So, we have turned in the formal application paperwork and have now entered phase 2: home study, letter to birthparents, and profile (AKA cute album with photos of us and our life together). Here we go..!
(Image found here: http://peanutbutteronthekeyboard.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/holding-hands.jpg)