You do a lot of waiting when you pursue adoption. A LOT. There is nothing fast about the process, and even if it feels comparatively as though you’ve been moving along at a pretty good clip (and we did), it still takes months and months…sometimes years and years.
From the beginning of our first attempt to the end of our second, five years passed. While we were waiting, we got older…and fatter, we moved across the country (and started over), family members got married and started families of their own, we bought and sold houses, our biological child started school, we lost some old friends and made some new ones, and all throughout we were waiting.
- What if I don’t have the right look?
- What if I didn’t say the right things?
- Did I advertise us properly (as if there is a “right” way to do such a thing)?
- Did I include pictures that will make us likable?
- Did we seem braggadocious?
- Does the fact that we already have a child make us less likely to be chosen?
- Does the fact that we are Christians put birth parents off?
- We have pets…will that make birth parents more cautious about selecting us?
- Will the fact that our families live on the other side of the country affect our chances?
- Does the fact that it we have been waiting a while already give birth parents pause?
- Does the fact that we have been waiting a while make birth parents question why no one has chosen us?
- What IS wrong with us, by the way?
- Why aren’t we being selected?
- Could I have made our profile more appealing?
- Does our social worker like us?
- Is our social worker presenting our profile?
- Why were we not selected when we were presented?
- What made us unsuitable?
- Why (with our first agency) are we not being presented to birth parents?
The questions go on and on, and they are not productive. I was utterly unprepared for the onslaught of self-doubt, even though I doubt myself – and my self worth – all the time. Worse, I didn’t say those things to my husband, which I should have…not because I needed someone to refute some of my more ridiculous worries (and I did need that), but because he would have helped shoulder the burden of uncertainty that is a natural part of this process. He would have eased my anxiety, and perhaps even suggested that we ask the questions out loud to our agency, so I would have a more definitive answer, and so I would not needlessly worry. I honestly did not know how to articulate my worries, because half of the time they were just half-formed questions skittering around in my head.
The waiting…waiting…waiting took a toll on me. On us. So if I could give any advice to those who are waiting now, it would be this: Speak your questions and worries out loud. Tell your spouse…make sure you’re not trying to shoulder the burdens alone. Ask your agency. Get answers. Most importantly, tell God. Tell him your fears, and ask him to shoulder them for you. He will. He has offered, and He will. I wish I had done that more, because I really could have used the peace that only He provides.
We had a great ending to that chapter in our lives. The best ending…and the best beginning to the next chapter. It is worth every worry and every doubt I had about myself to be where we are now. Still, I made it harder than it needed to be. I see that clearly now, just as I see clearly how present God has been throughout, and I am grateful that when I doubted, He didn’t.