Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Celebrating National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month. A decade ago I never imagined I'd be an adoptive mom. I don't know that it's something that naturally occurs to a lot of people. You get married, you get pregnant, you have a baby. That's how life works except when it doesn't. These days more and more of my friends have fertility issues, and now that I've adopted the world's most incredible baby* I find myself thinking, "Why are you bothering with all that drama? Adoption is the way to go." 

I get it - it's really hard to process not biologically having a baby. It's difficult to wrap one's mind around the adoption process and how complicated it really is. Now that we've adopted our son I cannot imagine having done it any differently. It is not possible for me to love him more.
Our first family photo when he was only minutes old.
I've never given birth to a child, so I can't compare experiences. But if I had gotten pregnant right away when we got married and had an easy pregnancy/birth experience, I don't know that I would appreciate it this much. After waiting six years for a baby I have loved every single minute. Even earlier this week when my teething dude was up in the middle of the night I looked at him at 2 am and was so happy to be there with him. I was tired, but looking at him in that moment I felt every minute that we waited for him. There was nowhere else I would rather have been. There's time for sleep later.

The wonder of our little dude only a few hours old
I still have my moments of impatience or frustration that are inevitable in parenting, but it's so easy to remind myself of the journey that got us to be the parents of this wonderful boy. He's smart, funny, and he has so much personality. He's a lot like his dad, and it doesn't matter that he doesn't share his genes. 

I've had so many people ask me intimate questions about adoption. Sometimes I feel annoyed because I think I don't ask you the intimate details of how your child was conceived (because gross - I don't want to have that image in my head). But I want people to hear our story. I want people to consider this life-changing option when becoming parents. Will has changed me in so many ways. The wait for him to come into our lives was agonizing, but he chose us. We were waiting for him, and every moment of the wait was worth it.

On the day Will's adoption was final
Our agency, Adoption Associates, was there every step of the way. Our caseworkers held our hands and had the patience of Job. I wasn't always nice. Sometimes I would call feeling very impatient and nasty. We waited three years. Other people don't wait that long. Where was our baby? When would it be our turn? Our turn came when it was supposed to, and now in retrospect I can appreciate that. During the wait I wasn't always my best self, but I realize now that all prepared me to welcome this beautiful little boy into our life.

Will is almost a year old, and he's a joy. We still make time for things that are important for us - traveling, running, time with friends - and Will has adapted beautifully to the frantic pace of our family. Sometimes it's good to remind myself to slow down. Take in the beautiful little moments that may not seem like a big deal. Every smile, every wave that those chubby little baby hands, every picky meal time is a brilliant moment. 

Baby's first road trip to West Virginia at one month old
Our picky eater's first time trying carrots. Not amused.

Adopting taught me a lot about myself, but mostly it taught me that I'm emotionally stronger than I thought.  In a month that gets overshadowed by men with terrible facial hair, please take a minute to think of adoption. Think of the parents who are waiting. Think of these amazing birth moms who are making the hardest decision they will ever make. Think of these children who are so, so loved. This November take a few minutes to think of the journey that creates families and say a prayer or send good vibes to those people. It's an incredible process, and it has enriched my life in the most incredible way. 

*I quickly realized why everything thinks their child is the most amazing: it's because they are.

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