As we are plugging away at more paperwork and putting the finishing touches, signatures and stamps on the last bunch, I wanted to update you on our frame of mind these days, and some aspects of our thoughts and emotions that we don’t usually talk about.
Are we ever scared about our adoption and future parenthood that is right around the corner? We may seem like we have it all together and are ready to tackle this new season in our life with gusto and ease. Our smiles and happy-go-lucky attitude may even lead some of you to believe that we are so naive and don’t know what we are getting ourselves into.
Somedays, I do question all this myself. This huge looming question pops up in my mind and I wonder, what ARE we getting ourselves into? So many doubts and fears start to pop up and bobble on the surface of my mind, and even when I try to punch them down, they just resurface and seem to be laughing and taunting me.
Sergi and I have been married for 6 years now and are in a very comfortable place. Sometimes I catch myself thinking that it would be so convenient and kind of nice to stay that way, just the 2 of us. We have gone through so much in our short marriage which has brought us even closer together. We are absolutely more in love with each other than ever and love spending time together. I’m not going to lie, it’s nice getting to sleep in on the weekends or just relax in the evenings and have “date night” – basically spending time as just the 2 of us, more than a few times a week. It’s great. Adoption has been a dream of ours for so many years and now that we are actually in the midst of the process, it has become so much more real. It’s not something that we occassionally talk about, but we are doing actual steps that lead us closer and closer to flying to a Russian orphanage. We know that this is ingrained deep within us and is something that God has planted in our souls.
In one or the Russian orphanages, 2005
We long to be parents and even though it’s tempting to be a little selfish, we know that it’s not a life for us. I can’t wait to be waken up in the middle of the night to a crying child and have to cook dinner with two toddlers running underfoot and getting in my way.
However, there are other aspects of fear that we have come to know very well. I’d like to ask all the people that are currently parents: Were you ever scared when you were expecting your children? Did you worry that they would be born healthy? It may be silly, but did you hope that they would be cute and adoprable babies? Were you nervous about the labor and delivery?
I bet your fears became more intense if you read some books like “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”, etc. and read about all the awful risks involved with birth and possible birth defects. Now all of a sudden your imagination was in high gear and you payed close attention to any symptoms that were real of imagined.When someone told you a horrific birth experience story, that only intensified your fears.
I’d like for you to imagine that when you were pregnant and other people found out about it, they suddenly approached you with words of wisdom and advice, and mind you most of them didn’t have any children. They all seem to know all about birth and raising children or they know a friend or heard of somebody’s aquaintance to whom such and such happened.
All of a sudden you are approached by these people and they good naturely, from the kindness of their heart and definitely because they want the best for you and are worried about you (I am not being sarcastic, you can really tell that these people are sincere). They tell you the possibility of your child being born with Down’s syndrome, autism, heart/ respiratory problems, cleft lip, etc. There is also the possibility that you will miscarry or lose the baby during birth. You also never know how the children will “turn out” in the future, even if they are born perfectly healthy. They may become criminals, drug addicts, alcoholics or “losers”. For me, just hearing any of this mentioned gives me chills of dread and fear.
All of these things and much more are very real possibilities. However, most decent people don’t go telling all of this to expectant parents. It just isn’t kind or decent. It would just be weird. Besides, we all hope for the best and a new life in a family is a symbol of hope and joy.
However, for some reason, people feel justified to approach adopting couples with horror stories and possible risks that come with adoption. We’ve heard many different versions so far.
“Maybe you should wait a little bit longer and you’ll get pregnant and have YOUR OWN baby.”
“What if your adopted child has ”bad genes”? Their parents may have been alcoholics, drug addicts, etc, and your children will turn out to be just like them.”
“I could never love an adopted child as much as I love my own child.”
“Adoption is so expensive. Why don’t “they” make it free so more people would be encouraged to adopt”?
“I hear that adoption is a big scam and is run by the mafia. That’s why it’s so expensive.”
“What if your child growns up to be a criminal, rejects you and makes you suffer because you bring them up right but they turn their backs on you and you end up crying and worrying about them?”
“Adopted children are so troubled and have many issues. They can have attachment disorders, they set houses on fire, they do the most awful things to their new family.”
“I heard of somebody who adopted, and this is what happened….”.
“What if the orphanage or the adoption agency will lie to you and give you a really troubled child and hide the truth from you about the child?”
Yep, we are at risk for all this. We know that. So are expectant parents pregnant with their own, biological child. We are more at risk because adopted children have experienced so much trauma in their young lives. However, with a few extreme exceptions, pregnant couples don’t have numerous people approacing them with possible things that could happen to them.
When a couple is adopting, they are treated differently. Guess what? We are pregnant too. Maybe I don ‘t walk around with a belly, but we are expecting a child. Two, actually. We are well aware of all the risks that accompany adoption. Most of it is out of our control. What confuses me the most is what these people are attempting to accomplish. What is the goal of all the advice that we hear? Is it for us to stop the adoption because something “could happen”?
We do have a small idea of what we are getting ourselves into. We have been dreaming and researching about adoption for many years. We have read so many books and articles about adoption. We are required to do some training about adoption parenting and international adoption as a requirement from our adoption agency. I worry, wonder and cry. I cry a lot. I’m scared of so many things that could happen. I worry enough as it is, and it’s constanly brought to my attention. Even when I look towards the future with optimism and promise and try to hope for the best, I am forced again and again to listen to more things that “could” happen. The scariest part is that most of these misgivings are so valid.
Please be understanding. We appreciate your support and care. All we ask is to be treated like couples who are pregnant. We’ve been on both sides – we were pregnant with our biological daughter and now we are adopting. We have seen the huge difference in the reactions of others in regards to both. Please be excited for us, be hopeful and stay positive. Babies are a joyful occasion and a reason to smile.
We know that this is our future. We know that life is not all about us. It would be easier and more convenient, but we would miss out on so much joy. Most of all, we know that God is the one who gave us this dream and He holds our future in His hands. He is always faithful and has never let us down. We will go forward with our adoption and do our best to disregard all the fears that come our way.Every time I look at my beautiful nieces, I am once again excited about parenting and know that it will all be worth it. They warm and heal my bruised and fearful heart.
Aren’t they absolutely precious?
Sergi is the strong one. He is the one who always keeps our goal in mind and doesn’t focus on the possible “what ifs”. He leads the way for both of us to stay excited and hopeful. He always knows exaclty what to say to bring calm to my soul.
We would appreciate all your prayers. Thank you to all the wonderful people who are such great encouragers and are excited and happy right along with us. On this journey, we have seen so many amazing people and been blessed by so much support, care and love.
P.S. I have struggled for a long time wondering if I should share this with the public. I don’t usually feel comfortable sharing so much personal feelings and emotions with others. I don’t want anyone to think that you have offended or hurt us. I know that in most cases, everyone sincerely has our best in mind, and if something was said that fed our fears, most likely it was simply due to not knowing how it affects adoptive parents.
Adoption is still pretty rare, especially among Slavic people. Along with our dream of adopting children into our own family, we hope that many more families will follow. This is the main reason we decided to share this with you, with the goal to enlighten and inform.
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