We officially start our adoption home study process with a total of 16 hours of meetings tomorrow and Friday. For the first time in the process, I can say I am more excited than scared.
Deciding to adopt a child is a very personal decision. Although there are two of us partnering on this endeavor, we are still two separate individuals with different needs, fears, and emotions. While my husband was ready to move on to adoption earlier in the process, I needed time to adjust to the fact that as a woman I would be growing my family in a less traditional way. I know how to get pregnant, or try at least, but I don’t innately know how to adopt. My body is programed to be pregnant, birth, and care for a child presented to me this way. I feared that I may not have the same maternal instincts with an adopted child. Will those instincts kick in? Am I doing the “right thing” by taking a child away from their culture and imposing mine? Will I be able to relate to my child and will they love me as their mother? What if they have questions about their life before me that I cannot answer? For a while the questions consumed me. While we were undergoing our 3rd IVF, I tried to prepare myself for adoption by reading adoption blogs, but it only freaked me out further.
Once I realized that you cannot pursue fertility treatment and adoption simultaneously I was truly able to embrace how wonderful adoption is. Although they are both processes with the same desired end, the mindset you need to be in is entirely different. They are two distinct paths a family can pursue to grow their family. A side by side comparison doesn’t work and just exacerbates the areas where each path needs a little reinforcement. Adoption cannot be a back-up plan. When going through fertility treatment I was asked repeatedly, “Why don’t you just adopt?”. There is no “just” in adoption. The path each family decides to pursue is very personal and involves many factors – one is not a substitute for the other. We could pursue additional treatment but right now we want to pursue adoption.
Although my questions may not be entirely answered, I am not certain they ever will be. I am OK with that now. By deciding adoption is the path we want to pursue, answering those questions loses some urgency and my fear of the unknown shrinks. With that fear shrinking, my excitement is able to grow and is doing so continually. I know we will not be perfect parents, but I am certain we will be better than adequate.