This guest post is by Noemi Sicherman, a hopeful adoptive parent.
Our niece drew a picture of us recently. In it, I have a great big smile on my face while Jen, my wife, has blue tears falling from her eyes.
Our niece, who is adopted, explained her drawing like this: Aunt Noemi is happy because she knows your baby is coming soon! Aunt Jen is sad because you don’t have a baby yet.
Who knew a five-year-old child would be able to so perfectly capture the mixed emotions of the adoption wait?
We embarked on this path towards parenthood almost five years ago, but even before that, we knew we wanted to be parents.
Before our wedding in 2009, Jen and I met with our rabbi for the recommended pre-marital counseling. She asked us whether we planned to have children, and we answered without hesitation: Yes!
We were surprised to find out that she often meets couples who haven’t even discussed this. We talk about everything, and had had many conversations about parenthood.
What we couldn’t have known back then was that becoming parents would be quite so challenging.
We had a beautiful wedding in our friend’s backyard. We settled into marriage, took an amazing trip to Europe, and then went to see the ob/gyn.
My test results looked great and we were excited to begin trying to get pregnant. And try we did. Try and try and try. The doctor had no explanation for why we didn’t get pregnant.
We knew we could keep trying, and we knew that some couples did IVF cycle after IVF cycle, desperate for a biological child. But we weren’t desperate for that. We just wanted to be parents.
We already knew how incredible adoption could be because it had brought us our fabulous niece.
We thought about all our friends who were family to us, even though they’re not related by blood.
We knew that genetics and biology weren’t what determined family and that not being able to get pregnant didn’t change how much we wanted to open our hearts, home, and lives to a child.
We even knew a little about open adoption. I had been to a conference about open adoption in which birth parents, adoptive parents, and adopted kids all spoke about their experiences.
It had been incredible to learn first-hand that birth and adoptive families could work together to love and support children.
And we knew a little about closed adoption, mostly from our niece, who was internationally adopted.
At first, open adoption did seem kind of scary. When the birth mom knows where her child is, wouldn’t she want to swoop and in and take the child?
So, we read more. We thought more. We talked more.
We learned that in open adoption, birth moms are likely to feel relieved that their children are safe and loved and that these children grow up without fantasies and fears about mysterious birth families that they don’t know.
Adoptive parents can relax, too; they don’t have to worry about unknown birth parents suddenly finding them! They can also answer their kids’ “Why didn’t my birth parents keep me?” questions with more ease.
Open adoption began to seem like a better and better choice.
We went to a weekend workshop with The Independent Adoption Center and signed up as quickly as we could.
So now, we wait. And there are days when we cry and there are days when we smile in excitement and anticipation, just like in the picture our niece drew of us.
We can’t wait for the day when she meets our baby—her cousin—and we finally get to call ourselves parents. Here’s hoping that day is coming soon!
Noemi Sicherman and Jen Izak live in Oakland, CA with their rescue dog, Ella, and cats, Gus & Otto. To learn more about us, please check out their adoption profile.
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