The burning question for sure... You know how we are all very careful (that is most of us...) to avoid asking women with protruding bellies if they are pregnant? Well most folks seem to have a similar sense when it comes to the reason behind adoption. I think they are afraid of the answer they might get, or afraid that they will seem nosy. These are valid fears, and honestly, depending on the way the question is asked it can seem nosy. I'll give you an example:
We received a beautiful package in the mail this week from Franks family Central for our little Patricia. It was a box full of every exciting thing all tied up with notes and bows and signs and most importantly topped with a pink fairy dress and tiara, UHmazing!! All of that to say that the lady who delivered the box got wind of the gift being for our new little one, who was napping and proceeded to politely inquire. Sure, no problem, I'll humour you. "My husband and I adopted her. She's two years old. No nothing is wrong with her, she is a healthy happy 2 year old. Yes she was in foster care. No it wasn't horrible, in fact it was the exact opposite. Yes, they can be sad places. Yes it is sad for her birth parents. They weren't able to care for her. They had their own issues". OK!! Leave NOW.... thanks. What started out as a polite inquiry ended with more than a little discomfort and I am frustrated with how little room people give you to re-assure them that things are good; not hard, horrible, difficult or sad. Oh yeah, and we are not adoptive parents because we are desperate or sad, or infertile, or trying to save the world and all the sad children. In fact, it is none of those things that brought us to adoption and we require no pity, sad looks or remorse. Our story is one of a family that had enough love to share and how God made that family grow. PS - I can't figure out why this one video has no sound. The others do.
As mentioned in my last post Ryan and I have been married almost a decade and all I can say is that we have had sooo much fun! I always thought we would have started our family sooner, but as with so many things, my plans are not always the best. It wasn't until I had finished chef school about 4 1/2 years ago that we actually started getting serious about babies. So we tried all the usual things and had no success. Wait. Were we infertile? So off we went to the specialist to get checked out. Nothing wrong with either of us, huh. But! We were eligible for a whole slew of fertility treatments costing anywhere from $400 / month to $7500 a go for invetro fertilization. It was on the car ride home from our appointment that the word adoption first came up, and came up again, and came up with our families, and friends. We prayed about it, thought about it, talked to our friends who had adopted. Our conclusions were drawn and we came to a realistic understanding of what adoption was, how comfortable we felt with it, and felt excited about the future.
All said and done, it was 3 years from application to Tricia's arrival. We never had a 'what are we doing moment', not ever. We weren't even scared by all the potentially challenging scenarios. The truth is, we expect parenting to be difficult. We both come from large families (5 kids in mine and 7 in Ryan's) and we have seen everything from language delays, ADHD, hearing problems, dyslexia etc. At the end of the day, we wanted our family to grow, and biologically or not we were going to gamble on God's plans and not our own typical version of what a family should look like.
Sometimes people wonder if it would be impossible to love an adopted child the same as your own. This is a consideration. Now, I have no biological children of my own, so I can't spare too much time for this comparison. But if falling madly, deeply and ultimately in love with Tricia came as naturally as breathing, then my guess is that yes, it is possible and then some. The best part about falling madly in love with our first child is that Ryan and I got to fall hard together. Falling in love with each other was amazing, but falling in love with Tricia together, well that was Awesome!! On our ride home from the first visit, we both just about died of excitement, we were straight giddy. That little face, little hand and feet, those blue eyes, that delightful smile. To think that she is going to come home with us, ahhh! Today even, when she was swinging dangerously high on the swing and demanding more I found myself stunned by her beauty. She's even beautiful when she cries! How is that possible? In this she differs from her mother. I look scary when I cry. Let me tell you though, she is like us already in a million ways. My dad recently made a great point that it will take a little time to get used to her not being a biological child. "When I tell Williem he looks like his dad, or Reub that he is like his mom, what do I tell Tricia?" My dad's tender heart never ceases to amaze. "Thank you for asking, that is a great question!" My answer? "We tell her she is just like us. We tell her she does things that are just like her mom and just like her dad and the things that are just her. We laugh at all the things that are similar. We celebrate both because we are all unique" (OK, I was not that eloquent in my answer). Also, there is no way to spend everyday together and not be alike. I find this with friends and co-workers, we end up adjusting our mannerisms and idiosyncrasies by accident even. Not to mention Tricia's compulsive copying. I can't believe the hilariously exact match of my voice and intonation she already manages. She is a funny girl. So is her dad, they go into her room for "bedtime" and I honestly believe a herd of hysterical elephants goes with them by the amount of banging and laughing that ensues. Oh ya, and I copy her now too. I'm getting really good at asking for "mo nax" (more snacks) and declaring anything gross to be "stinky yucky!"
I really love conclusions so here is today's. When Tricia was born in Feb '09 it was during the same week that Ryan and I finished our mandatory adoption classes. When I told God last year that I just wanted to be a mom by the time I was 30 I knew I needed to take a deep breath and let my plan go. Of course the week of my 30th birthday, just 3 days after my deadline, Tricia showed up on our computer screen and we knew. My plans are not His plans. About this God is very specific, Jeremiah 29:11 "for I know the plans I have for you" declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future." He has a plan for me, for Ryan and for our family. We just have to get busy with what He gives us and trust that the next plan will be equally amazing!