This guest post is by Chemene, an adoptive mother and adoption support group leader.
Author’s note: When I wrote this article in 2016, I was in a different mindset in my adoption journey. As a leader of a diverse group, I have listened and learned over the last few years and discovered that my thoughts were only about myself; that my feelings only included myself.
I never thought about how my words and language could be perceived as harmful and disrespectful by my son never mind my sons birthmother.
Although I feel the need to make the changes to the following article, I think it is more important to show how education can change you. How meeting adoptees, birthmothers and adoption/foster care professionals can help guide you through your journey as long as you are open to truly listening to them!!
Adoption is an amazing and life altering journey.
However, it can also be very tough and challenging in some ways.
One of the hardest parts of being an adoption support group leader is helping pre-adoptive families decide when it is right for them to transition.
Transition is when you make the decision that the IVF route is over or the trying is done and the adoption route is to begin.
For years, my husband and I tried to start a family through IVF. With it came loss and grief and it was overwhelming.
Realizing this was a journey I didn’t want to continue, we changed our route to adoption.
That decision was easy, but letting go wasn’t.
Emotions stay with you and you need to grieve the loss of what you tried so hard to obtain.
Books don’t tell you how you’re going to feel and the silly things you are going to say—like the time when I told my husband he should move on and get a divorce so he could get a younger and prettier set of “eggs”.
You learn that you have to adjust the dreams you had when you were growing up.
Over the next two years my husband and I went through a grueling process of private adoption with scammer after scammer. It beat me down!
At the 18 month mark, I couldn’t bring myself to take another call so we switched to an agency.
I thought this would be my chance to “take a break” and for the next two years, while we waited for a match, go on a vacation or spend more time with my husband.
Well, as they say, some things are just meant to be. We went live at the agency in September 2009 and six weeks later we were matched!
I can’t express the fear I had! Yes, fear! I don’t know how to be a mom! I have no idea what I’m doing!
Then the day came where my son was born. We received a call on a January evening that our baby boy was born.
Two days later, I was handed the most beautiful human being in the world, sleeping and so peaceful.
The first few weeks of being a mom were hard for me. We couldn’t get him on a sleep schedule at all.
My son was up every 45 minutes crying and I was exhausted! It was NOT what I thought motherhood would be like.
My son was about eight weeks old when I got the call from the agency that all the “waiting period” was over and he was officially part of our family.
That was my reality check. That was my wake up call. That was my slap in the face.
For those eight weeks I was overwhelmed because I was scared, scared of losing my baby boy.
He was part of me and I didn’t know it. The bonding happened and I didn’t realize it. I was scared of getting my heart broken again.
This was the day that I knew I was a mom.
It was the first time I truly realized that through all the sleepless nights, the vomiting of milk; the doctor visits, the shots, the diapers, and the crying, he was mine.
And I was his! My life was complete.
For some families the transition from IVF to adoption is easy and for some becoming a mom is too.
Even though it wasn’t easy for me, I now know why.
Teaching and supporting families for the past nine years, I needed to learn about my own fears and what adoption is truly about.
It’s more than just a journey. It’s a life lesson that I wouldn’t change.
Chemene is an adoptive parent of a 6 1/2-year-old boy adopted January 2010 and a biological son born April 2014. Over the last 15 years her journey has taken her through IVF and loss to adoption and family. She now spends her time as a full-time mom and an adoption/foster care support group leader for those waiting and those who have found their forever families.
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