Sunday, September 4, 2011

Lessons at 2 1/2 Years

I’m blown away by the fact that today is our two-and-a-half-year point.  I have learned so much in the last 30 months, I thought I’d use this post to talk a little bit about what I have learned as I’ve waited.  These came spilling out of my head in no particular order, so bear with me.

©       Find a support system for during your wait.  30+ months is a long time, and you need people to help see you through.  I am especially grateful to my parents, family, a few friends (online and across town), and of course my husband.

©       You and your spouse may not always see eye-to-eye during the wait, and you may not always feel the same way.  It may actually be more like being on a teeter-totter much of the time – when one of you is doing well with the wait, the other is down and ready to jump off, and then vice-versa.  This is OK.  Just be supportive of one another.

©       Find something you and your spouse love to do together and do it.  Gregg and I decided to go out to dinner together once a week, even if it’s just to the local diner.  This forces us to sit for an extended period of time and not only enjoy our food, but enjoy each other.  We talk about our days, our weeks, our plans.  And who knows when we’ll be able to do this after the little one comes home. 

©       Adoption grief is REAL and it is a PROCESS.  A large portion of adoptive parents mourn the loss of something in their lives pre-adoption, whether it be infertility and inability to bear a biological child, or, like us, the loss of a potential placement – a name and a face you loved.  I learned that the grief I suffered was real, and I could not rush though my recovery.  It took a full year before I could think back on the children and smile and now display their photos in my home.  Because after all is said and done, that …

©       Loss in adoption is still part of your story, and it can be honored as such.  There is no shame in this.

©       Your adoption agency proves itself not only in how it handles the very best of situations, but perhaps more importantly, the very worst of situations.  I know we picked a great agency because of the outstanding way they handled our situation with Pooh and Tigger, both in fighting for us and knowing when to let go, but then in helping me to receive counseling afterward.

©       You can love somebody until it hurts and never have met them.

©       You can think you can’t wait another day longer and then push yourself forward another six months…a year…more…

©       Starting a blog and beginning communication with the people whose blogs I had been reading since the beginning of my wait was one of the best things I did for myself while waiting.  I formed friendships with people I’ve never met – across the country and around the world – and these friends have gotten me through the best days and the worst days smiling and laughing.

©       The more you wait, the more you learn.  You learn from people who have adopted before you, from books, magazines, online seminars…If we had been successful at adopting eight years ago, I’m amazed at how much we wouldn’t have known; yet, I’m sure we would have been just fine.  When we finally do bring our child home, I know there will still be so much we don’t know…and yet I know we’ll be just fine.

©       At around 18 months I made quite a stink to Gregg about how upset I’d be if our wait extended to 25 months.  Amazingly, here we are at 30, and I know that I’ll keep waiting as long as it takes to bring my child home.  I’ve waited 8 ½ years for this moment, and a few months more really isn’t the end of the world. 

©       I went into this wait eight years ago wanting a baby.  I’ll come out with a child of a totally different age because to us, it was more important to just be parents.  I’ll come out of this wait a whole lot wiser than when I went in.  I’ll come out of this wait ready to be Mom.