My biggest fear when we began to pursue adoption had more to do with what I had been taught to perceive rather than what was in fact truth. I was scared to death of meeting and having a relationship with a birth mom.
So many publicized stories of adoptions gone bad - fiction and nonfiction alike - have a lot to do with conflict from the birth parents. At least from what I have seen or heard. So it was no wonder that going into this whole adoption process at the start I was more than happy to adopt an international child. And we did start there but after two years of a mix of our own procrastination and barriers cropping up from the country, we made the decision to switch to domestic adoption.
So there I sat, January 2011, in our all-day orientation at Gladney, with my fears wrapped around my head and my heart and begging God to show me something that could make this alright. I didn't want my fear of encountering a birth mom stop us from having children.
At each orientation Gladney invites a couple of birth moms to join the sessions for Q&A with the prospective adoptive parents. They mostly discuss why they want to create an adoption plan for their unborn child. What they personally want in regards to a relationship with their adoptive parents or with their child after birth, etc. Every answer is different.
On the other side of the spectrum, a panel of adoptive parents are invited to share with the group as well. When we sat in the room an adoptive mom came with her two daughters about 4-5 years apart, both from different birth moms. As I listened, the one thing I began to focus on was what she shared about her relationships with her birth moms. It was the only information that was being filtered through to my brain. Somehow through this woman's story, my fears of the "unforeseen birth mom" gave way to a passion for these women and I was finally able to break through all these jumbled and muddied thoughts and begin to fully accept the most human part of the adoption process - a mother's most sacred and greatest gift in the form of her own flesh and blood.
Since that day and since the adoption of both our boys, I always secretly thought that I would love to be a part of Gladney's orientation some day. If not for just being able to share our story but in hopes that maybe our journey might inspire another adoptive parent or help to alleviate some of their fears. Well our opportunity actually came today!
A few days ago our caseworker called and asked me the very thing I had placed on my heart as of late - would we be interested in coming in to do the adoptive parent panel? Hello, yes! I was so thankful the hubby was open to doing it as well. Plus it would count as one of our post-placement visit requirements with Aaron.
We packed up the kiddos this afternoon and a few minutes after arriving at Gladney we were ushered into Mabee Hall to sit at the front for our own Q&A. A Gladney employee walked us through some questions to help share our story starting with how we heard about Gladney through to completing our profile, the waiting period, "the call" and adopting Noah and then Aaron. Afterward they opened it up for questions and we got to answer a few from the prospective adoptive parents.
The "interview" went by quickly and I barely remember some of the things we said and mostly remember what I wish I had said but I think that's how it usually plays out for people. Noah was definitely a big hit in the room. Within the first 2 minutes Noah had bashed his head on the table and cried for a bit until our caseworker brought him a strawberry. Once he was ready to run around I warned the ladies in the room to take care of their purses - Noah is a sneaky purse item thief. He acted just like a 14-month old should and nobody was bothered one bit. I think they were grateful for the entertainment! Haha!
I could have stayed and talked for hours! (Much longer than our 15-20 minute session) I wanted to be able to hug each woman in the room and tell them anything they wanted to know and to give them hope and encouragement. What's more important is I hope that in some way we were able to touch just one person with the sort of influence that I had experienced during our orientation two years ago. Just before our session I took a moment to pray and ask God for that very thing even though I understand it's improbable that we'll never know. It's in God's hands just as we were and have been.
I'm so thankful for today's experience! It shows us how far we've come and that we will never be alone in this adoption process.