Dear Hopeful Adoptive Parents,
You may feel invisible right now. Your home and your heart are incomplete. You long for what you see other people having, and you wonder if it will ever happen for you.
You are not invisible. I see you. I see every single one of you because I was you. And I felt all of the emotions you are feeling right now.
I see you at the grocery store, going about your business, shopping for you and your spouse, and you walk past a woman with her baby in the shopping cart, cooing and laughing. She has the perfect life. She’s the lucky one. You feel an overwhelming sense of longing and jealousy. That’s what YOU want. You hope the next trip to the grocery store includes buying diapers and formula; instead, during this trip, you grab an extra bottle of wine and head to your childless home. I see you.
I see you out walking in the park and every single woman who passes you by looks like they could go into labor right then and there. You overhear snippets of their conversations and you instinctively (and somewhat bitterly) know you’d be a better mom than all of them combined. You hear them complain about the weather or how hard pregnancy is, and you know you’d have 40 weeks of horrible days if it meant you’d be able to leave the hospital with a newborn baby. I see you swallow back tears as you try to pass them quickly. Maybe you’re strong enough to mutter out a “congratulations” or “when are you due?” but maybe you just keep walking because you can’t think of anything to say that wouldn’t result in you breaking down into a sobbing mess of tears. I see you.
I see you when your friends are all starting their families and can’t hang out today because of bed times and feeding times and nap times and play times. I see you being the best aunt and uncle these kids have ever had—spoiling them rotten and then handing them back to their parents. You’ve gone to countless baby showers (or maybe you skipped them, and I wouldn’t blame you either way) and you’ve bought gifts for these kids. Always wondering, “When will it be our turn?” Sometimes wondering, “Will it EVER be our turn?” I see you.
I see you scouring the internet for any and all information about adoption. You come across glowing stories of how beautiful adoption is, and your heart fills with excitement because you know your story will top the story that filled you to the brim with happy tears. But then you come across stories of how some people consider adoption terrible and call adoptive parents every sort of bad name in the book. You reconsider your choices, going back and forth thinking, “Are we doing the right thing? Are we doing this for the right reasons? Can I handle this potential criticism?” It eats away at you. Go back to looking up the positive stories, it’s better for your soul. I see you.
I see you as you try to keep organized all of the home study and adoption agency paperwork. I see you as you write check after check, knowing that the amount of money isn’t important but also knowing that some people will be so insensitive as to ask, “How much did you pay for him?” You try to present yourself in an honest but still flattering way, and no matter how many times you write and rewrite it, the “Dear expectant mother” letter still doesn’t convey just the right amount of emotion you were going for while writing it. Don’t worry about staring over and rewriting it again. When it’s the birth mother of your child reading the letter, the emotions will be exactly what she needs them to be. I know. And I see you.
I see you as you enter the hospital, hoping beyond all hope and praying with everything inside of you that today will be the day you can take home your baby. But you’re also sad because you know the only reason you’re able to take home your baby is because someone else is leaving the hospital without one. You wonder if it’s possible to feel bursting-at-the-seams excitement as well as utter despair in the same moment. I’ll tell you this: It’s possible, very real, and the most wonderfully complex emotion you will ever feel in your life. I see you.
Your time will come. You will be parents. And in the meantime, prepare your home and your heart for the greatest journey you are about to undertake. You are most certainly not invisible. I see you every step of the way.
A very grateful, extremely blessed adoptive mom