Have you seen the videos of couples getting off the plane and heading into the airport, where a flock of their family and friends wait rather impatiently for the introduction of their new baby? Cheers, hugs, smiles, and tears create the atmosphere perfect for a Hallmark movie. The adoption is complete, and the family is coming home.
The reality of this scene mesmerizes many people and romanticizes their idea of the blissful adoption. Going home, baby in hand, smiles on faces, and love in their hearts truly represents that moment in time. What an exciting moment to celebrate. But how did they get there? Was their entire process flawless? Do the smiles indicate the ease that brought them here? Or did they reach the pinnacle on an emotional roller coaster? Do the tears express freedom past their pain?
My husband and I are in the middle of the adoption process right now. We have dreamt about that airport scene and how we would feel when that day comes. Who would be there welcoming us home, overjoyed to meet our newest family member? Would everyone be in tears? Would we shout for joy? Would silence fill the room as we gazed upon the sweet face that we had anticipated for so long? We aren’t sure what that day will look like or if there will even be an airport involved. So, for now, we wait.
In our waiting, we have also learned more about the adoption process and the risks involved throughout. For us, our first risk is rejection. Each time we present to a potential birth mom, we run the risk of being rejected, of being told she didn’t choose us to parent her child. We even expected this to happen a couple times when we began the adoption because chances are we wouldn’t be matched on our first try. We weren’t. But after our first time presenting our profile to a prospective birth mom and receiving the email from our adoption consultant telling us that we were not chosen, our emotions and hopes crumbled. We prepared ourselves that we may not be matched. When we prayed for this potential birth mom, we even asked that God would place the best parents in the path for this baby that was to be born. The rejection clawed at our hearts like nothing we had ever felt.
This risk is part of our waiting.
The failed match presents another potential risk of adoption. My husband and I were chosen by a potential birth mom and her baby girl to be born this summer. Our excitement overwhelmed us. At the time of the match, we spoke to the potential birth mom on the phone and planned for a time to meet face to face. Phone numbers were exchanged with the intent to continue communication. In the days and weeks to follow, our potential birth mom called and texted us with updates on doctor’s visits and conversation to get to know one another better. Our four-year-old daughter wanted to talk to the “baby’s momma” one night, so they shared time chatting. Airline tickets were booked for the visit when we would encounter this momma in person.
Then, one afternoon we received a call from the adoption lawyer who is assisting us. The gloom in her voice made our hearts uneasy. She had news for us about our potential birth mother.
“I didn’t see this coming. This almost never happens,” she said.
After spending some time explaining the situation with us concerning the adoption, my husband and I woke up to the reality that this baby would not be coming to our home. It was almost like she could see our blank stares, even on the other end of the phone, because her constant apologies attempted to ease the shock. The attorney assured us that she would call us the next day with any updates she had and her office manager would be contacting us soon with a ledger of expenses paid so far.
The attachment to a potential birth mother and the idea of joining her baby to our family poses the greatest risk in adoption if that match does not end in the placement of the baby. For many reasons, an adoption plan could be reversed, leaving the potential adoptive family in disarray. My husband, daughter and I had to take time to grieve this loss. Our hearts and minds were prepared, a name picked out, and a plan in place for the new dynamics of our family. When that changed, we believed that even in pain, we would grow as a family and continue the waiting.
Adoption is risky business — whether you risk your emotions, your finances, your plans, or even your heart. But our eyes must be set on the greater reward that adoption presents to all families involved when our stories are being written. We will rely on the support from our family and friends as we continue on this journey and find hope in the riskiness of adoption.
Jill is a 31-year-old wife and mom. She has been married to her husband, Brannon, for eight years and has 4-year-old and 3-month-old daughters. Jill and her husband are currently in the adoption process to bring another baby into their home. Jill lives in a small community in Kentucky. She has her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish and obtained her Master’s degree in Christian Ministries. Jill’s passions are her faith, her family, writing, playing sports, and eating good food.