I am not good with uncertainty (is anyone good with uncertainty?). When we were in the process of adopting through an agency it felt like every single aspect of my life was completely out of my control. Every night I went through dozens of “what ifs” scenarios in my head as I tried to fall asleep. (Do any of these sound familiar?)
- What if no birth mother chooses us? What if we are too old/unattractive/poor/frumpy/
- What if there is something wrong with the baby?
- What if she decides to parent? What if she decides to parent AFTER we have fallen in love? – —– What if she hates us and pulls the baby away at the last minute?
- What if the baby doesn’t love me?
- What if I don’t love the baby?
- What if my family doesn’t accept our child?
- What if every single Lifetime Original Movie I have ever seen is just a preamble to the nightmare to come?
- What if no birth mother chooses us? (This gets two spots because it is the one on constant repeat in our head, right?)
- What if our child grows up and rejects us for her bio family?
- What if our child grows up and her bio family rejects her?
- What if we don’t pass the home study?
- What if we can’t do it? What if we are terrible parents and we fail at everything?
(Did I leave any out?)
When we found out we were selected by a birth parent and that baby was placed in our arms I was surprised that the what-ifs didn’t stop—instead they were replaced by a whole new set of sleepless, question-filled nights. That’s when I realized that being a parent meant that my anxiety would never quite be silenced, that the quote about mothering being when your heart is worn outside of your body being true. Just this week, however, a friend posted about her worries and struggles to finalize an international adoption with the following caveat: “We know how this ends, the in-between stuff is just in God’s hands.” And we DO know how this ends—we will find our family. We will make a forever home. We will mess up and try again and our kids will alternate between loving us and thinking we are the worst. And when we frame it like that, the middle part isn’t as scary. So get some sleep tonight, and let the “What-ifs” go bother someone else instead.
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