Sunday, October 07, 2007

"What do you mean, "She's expecting?'"

At church last Sunday, a precious friend of mine walked up to me and said, “So, I hear you’re expecting.” Then she gave me this sweet smile and hugged me. Two nights before, she had attended a cookout where Andy had shared the news that we have begun the adoption process. She has no idea how much her words meant to me.

I’ve discovered that people don’t really know how to treat someone who is “unable” to have children of their own, someone who is in the process of adopting. How do you talk to someone who is going to raise a baby that didn’t come from her body?

After reading my post “Get In My Belly!” a dear childhood friend of mine (whose mother was adopted) wrote me an e-mail. She prefaced her thoughts by saying that she realized what she was about to say would probably sound crazy, but it didn’t sound crazy to me at all.

When Emilee read where Andy said, “I don’t care about the money anymore. It’s time to move forward [with adoption],” she felt like that was the moment our baby was conceived. She went on to compare our journey of waiting for a child to that of a pregnant woman in waiting for her little one to arrive. Neither an adoptive mom nor a birth mom can see the baby before it’s born. Both wonder what he/she will look like. Both worry about the development of the baby. Both worry about the safety of the baby during delivery. Both prepare for the baby’s arrival. Both worry that they won’t know what to do when they bring baby home. Both experience pain (physical and/or emotional) but when the baby arrives, the pain is forgotten. “The end result is the same—you have a precious baby or child!”

Emilee went on to say, “You many never have a huge belly, but your heart will keep getting bigger and bigger and pretty soon you’ll feel/see things start to move and change—maybe not a significant change, but a little something to let you know it’s on the way. You love that child right now, even though you have no idea who this person is…then you’ll have that first time you ever saw him or her moment.”

It is such a blessing to have friends that think of adoption that way. I’ve read advice from other adoptive parents that say family and friends should treat an adoptive couple as if they are pregnant. We want people to be as excited for us to adopt as they would be if we were pregnant. As the time gets closer and a birth mom selects us to be the parents of her child, and we have a due date, we will be excited to talk about baby showers, strollers, cribs, etc. We’re thankful to have so many supportive people to share the excitement with.

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