This is a subject that, as an adoptive mama, I have struggled with at length and have been somewhat terrified to write about. However, this is part of the adoption processes that I can’t ignore. In fact, it is basically a part of life for anyone struggling with infertility regardless of the path they take. That being said, I want to focus on how this pertains to those hoping to adopt.

One thing you will hear about as you are preparing documents for your home study is the waiting you will encounter after approval. How long you may have to wait is unique to each agency and family, but the fact of the matter is you will wait. I don’t think that ever prepares you, though, for all the waiting. First, there was the waiting to be pregnant. Then there was the waiting for infertility treatments to work. Then, if you have decided on adoption. . . you get my drift.

I’ve been there. It took us four years (from diagnosis to placement) to bring our son home. Some families go into the adoption process for the second, third, fourth time as soon as possible; some wait a few years. We waited three years to put in our papers for the second time. As of this moment, we have been waiting one year, four months, three weeks, and a day. Not that I’m counting or anything.

In this amount of time, I have seen so many hopeful adoptive couples welcome new additions to their families. At first it didn’t faze me at all. With so many friends in different places on their journey, I knew the chances of many of them experiencing placement before us was high. Plus, it’s like the adoption code; we’ve all been through so much and can understand the pain that lies in waiting.

But what happens when you just keep waiting? And waiting? With one adoptive couple being chosen after another and your heart sinking deeper and deeper?

Let me stop right here to express emphatically that this in no way means that I am any less happy for those I know who have added to their family in the time we’ve been waiting. The heart is an amazing thing that is able to feel the most amazing joy for others while experiencing the harshest disappointment and continued yearning. My heart is capable of feeling both these emotions at their highest levels simultaneously.

But it’s hard not to wonder if you will ever be in their position, if endless nights of tears and pleading will end in your dream realized. I know this because I feel it. At this very moment, I feel it so deeply in my soul it physically hurts me. My son is 5 years old and asks questions almost daily about when “his baby” will be here and, “Why can’t mama have a baby for us?” I would rather get checked into glass by Wayne Gretzky than field these questions. (No, not a hockey fan, just picked out something that sounded painful. Hockey players lose an exorbitant amount of teeth, so you know they ain’t playin’.)

So, I imagined that, by the time I wrote this, I would have a plan of action or some hundred-watt idea, but I don’t. I just don’t think there is an easy answer to matters so close to the heart. The main point I want to drive home is that you aren’t alone, that the feelings of hurt are normal, and that you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it, even though I know you will. I want you to know you can talk about it, even though I know you probably won’t. I want to tell you to take some time for yourself, whether that is a vacation (I recommend anywhere with sand, a beach, and gloriously warm temperatures), or a night in with your favorite ice cream.

If you need to take a break from social media outlets, such as Facebook, Instagram, or blogs, do it. You can be happy for others without seeing the details of their day-to-day life. It’s totally normal for them to over-gram their new addition, and it’s also totally normal for you to want to opt out. Do whatever you have to do in order to keep your heart going. If they are your friends, they won’t take it as an offense. They will let you have your space, your time. They will let you come back to the surface when you are ready.

If your heart tells you to then who are you to question it?
If the world gets you down don’t be afraid to wrestle it.
You have your whole life ahead of you,
Come make a mess of it.”