As my husband and I embarked on our adoption process there were are lot of unknowns. We didn’t know anyone who had recently adopted and therefore our support system within the adoption community was lacking (this was pre-Facebook…). Questions we rolled through our heads included:
How long will this take?
How taxing will this be on us?
How will the process effect our then 1 year old son?
But what really kept me awake at night was, how will we know if our match is the right match?
That’s scary. We adopted from South Korea and at the time, mostly girls were available for adoption (this changed shortly after we adopted our daughter). We were nearly certain we would be matched with a girl (we did not request gender) but when we saw her picture, read her file, scanned the documents, would we know she is ours? I often wondered what would happen if I just didn’t see a connection. I was a part of a yahoo chat group and people often danced around the same question without asking it outright- who would say it out loud? But what if we just don’t feel it?
In June 2006, just days after we completed our homestudy (international adoption was on a much different time schedule then), we were matched with a 10 week old little girl. We received a photocopy of a picture (yes, a photocopy) plus basic medical history. At that moment, and in the moments after I can tell you that those thoughts of “is this really my child?” vanished. They ceased to exist after our hands were on those papers.
I have experienced parenting through adoption and through biology. I can say that seeing my children for the first time, no matter where they came from, was the same. There was not a question of how right it is, if we were making the right move for our family, if the timing was perfect, it just was.
Although we adopted internationally (once more after our daughter came home), the process of seeing your child for the first time is the same. Anxiety and worry is a normal part of the adoption process but I urge you to not let it take hold of you. As much as possible allow yourself to give in to the process. Focus on getting ready for baby, learning about trans-racial parenting, different cultures, attachment, and bonding.
Adoption can be emotionally scary so I encourage you to surround yourself with people who have been through the process. Join us on Facebook in the Parent Match- Domestic Adoption Support Group, where you can privately ask the questions you’ve been too embarrassed to ask in public. There is a huge resource for you in the internet, use it to your advantage. Looking forward to chatting with you.