By Rachel Roth, guest blogger
When people would find out that we struggled with infertility, two topics were commonly brought up: fertility treatment options and adoption.
My husband and I came to adoption after exhausting our fertility treatment options financially and emotionally. (If you don’t know my story, you can read about it here). We researched agencies and different types of adoptions. Upon choosing an agency, they told us that domestic adoption has an average wait time of one year whereas international adoption can have anywhere from two to five years depending on the country. Since at the time we went through this process we were childless, we decided on domestic infant adoption.
The process began with a lot of paperwork. 75 pages worth. It felt like being back in school with a TON of homework. Then there were physicals. And clearances. And SIX letters of reference. All of that was before we got to the three interviews, which were two hours each. Once accepted into the program, we had to make something called an adoption profile book. It’s like a digital scrapbook for expectant families to look through to get to know you as a family.
Once that was made, we began to wait.
Does this sound familiar to anyone who has had fertility treatments? That dreaded “two week wait”? You would think we would be MASTERS at this whole waiting thing after just having gone through all of that. Not so much.
When there is an expectant mother/family we might want to show our profile to, our agency will notify us on a private message board online. We get details about the situation and have about 48 hours to pray and think about whether we are ok with the known aspects of the situation – the expectant mom’s medical history, expectant father information (if available), how involved the expectant mom wants to be in the baby’s life, number of visits per year she desires, etc. If we feel comfortable with the information, we tell the agency it is ok to show the expectant family our profile book. However, if we say yes to showing our profile, we are committing before being chosen. If we show our profile and she chooses us, we are expected to move forward. It’s a lot of pressure to make the right decision in 48 hours.
A few weeks ago, we were notified of an expectant family. It was a difficult decision because there were some things in the medical history that concerned us. We ultimately decided that God wanted us to adopt and that meant trusting Him through the process. So we told the agency it was ok to show the family our profile. A few days later I received a phone call I have not gotten in 6 months of waiting: “The birth mother wants to meet you.”
It was a strange feeling – on the one hand it was thrilling to get this far. To know that we were closer to bringing home a sibling for our son. On the other hand, it brought along a whole host of questions and concerns.
What do I wear? I don’t want to show up in my Sunday best, but I’m certainly not showing up in my yoga pants.
What do I say? There are so many aspects of this that are sensitive. I don’t want to say or ask anything that might offend her, but I also don’t want to be dishonest and misrepresent ourselves.
What do I ask? There are a couple of topics that are off limits because of her specific situation.
How do I act? I can feel awkward in certain social situations and this definitely fits that category. We will be sitting in a room with a woman who has a child that we are hoping she allows us to take home to be a part of our family. Oh, and it won’t be just the three of us. It will be the three of us, her mom, the social worker, the pregnancy counselor, and the intern. Just an awesome circle of awkward.
What do I bring? Our agency suggested bringing a gift to her as a way of saying thank you for meeting us. Problem is, we are not the only couple she is meeting. She hasn’t chosen us and may choose the other couple. This is basically just an interview. The agency suggested flowers or candy, but that isn’t us. (I eventually settled on a homemade “thank you” card and a candle of our favorite scent).
Mind you all of these questions came to mind in the 10 seconds I got off the phone with the social worker. The next few days were spent doing research, talking to the social worker, and praying. In the end, I figured it was likely the expectant mom felt as nervous and awkward as I did!
As it turns out, all my questions were moot. I received another phone call that I haven’t ever gotten before: “The birth mother changed her mind. She only wants to meet the other couple.”
My first reaction was “Why? What did we do? What’s wrong with us?” The answer is nothing. We just are not a fit for this expectant mom. It’s not meant to be. And that’s ok.
And so we continue to wait. Wait for another opportunity. Wait for another phone call. Wait to be chosen. Wait for our child.