Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Being Real


Showers are hard for me as an adoptive parent.
Well, I take that back.
As a foster-adoptive parent.
Things MAY have been very different if my adoptions took place in a more "traditional" manner so to speak.

When my first adoption happened, all three of my children were already living with me. Braeden's was first. He had already been with me for over two years. I know for people on "the outside", they saw him as mine already.

I do get it.

The actual day of adoption wasn't that "big" of a deal - to them. It was merely a formality, the child lives with you, is clothed and comforted and disciplined and celebrated and PARENTED by you. They're "yours." But as a foster parent, you are "told" time and again, maybe not in so many words, but still, over and over you are shown that you are NOT their parent.

A trip 30 minutes away, but over a silly state line, requires forms, signatures, permissions.
Enrollment in a day care means having said day care "ok'd" and approved. And more forms and paperwork for the state to cover payment.
Paperwork at all requires you write their given name, and that doesn't include your last name, and sometimes this gets you looks or questions.
A trip to the hospital often results in hours of waiting simply because the test they want to perform requires approval by the state first since the state, not you, is the primary guardian.
Even a simple haircut requires consent from the birth parents.

No matter how much you love them.
No matter how many hours you have spent at their bedside.
No matter how many times you've been yelled at or taken the brunt of a tantrum or spoken in love when you've wanted to scream.
You. Aren't. Their. Legal. Parent.
And that day of adoption means the WORLD.

And it often goes unnoticed by most others around you.
And it usually means no "baby" shower.
No fanfare.
No special recognition.
Except in the adoption world.
With others who "get it."

And sometimes, sometimes baby showers are hard to attend.
It's hard to realize you've never had that.
That special feeling of awaiting a child,
of being honored,
of being loved and cared for in such a way.
Hard to watch as others receive gifts that you had to buy yourself
(sounds so silly really, so materialistic, but it's more about the idea behind the gifts I think).

Not sure why this has hit me hard this week, but I find myself grieving for some of the "traditions" with having a child.

As I await news on a new little one who is available for adoption...
as I get more and more impatient with the "when" of knowing who our new addition will be...
I look at others who are expecting...
their expectation visible, physical...
I wear my necklace often, but many giggle at it, don't fully comprehend...
There are no congratulations as there would be with an enlarged stomach proclaiming an upcoming arrival...
And the excitement withers a bit.

Waiting is hard.


Jess said...

Been struggling with this as well personally. I got more discouraged tonight trying to find a special gift for a new Mom that just adopted. There wasn't anything! Thanks for being real.

Praying for you as you wait. Excited to see who joins your sweet family!

Diane said...

I totally get this! The more foster kids you have, the less others even notice. My adoption of my little guy is coming up. He has been with me 15 months since he was 12 days old. There will be no fanfare unless I make one. For my first adoption, I held an open house. For my second, I didn't because it would slap a foster child in the face whom I couldn't adopt. Don't know what I'll do this time, since he is so young.

Lora said...

Ok but I LOVE the necklace!!! Where did you get that??

I do think you are right, it is the idea behind the gifts that matter more. It's the concept of your community of friends and family celebrating the newest addition to the family, and I wish there was some way to celebrate it that could be special and unique to adoption without being a "baby shower."

Oh, I can so identify. I struggle with the same feelings. Hugs to you. xo

LOVE.THE.NECKLACE and totally feel you on the rest of the post!

Lisa said...

Here's where I got the necklace... I don't see any listed right now, but she may be able to create one! She does great adoption fundraisers too!

Julie said...

Waiting is tough- I hope you do get a shower once you have an identifed child and coming home date- Adoption is tough- God has gifted you with special ones that were hand picked just for your heart- I myself can not wait for the day that I can change G's name. patience...

Kristen said...

Hi. I love this post. I'm not an adoptive parent, but as a mother of 3... whom all were whisked away to the NICU (twins born at 33 weeks and a "medically complex" child) .... I have a terrible time looking at those photos of families in the hospital just after birth. It doesn't matter how much I love them - those photos get right to me. Love to you .... from our little blog. Kristen

maureen said...

Oh Lisa, I am so with you sister! I have always wanted one of those cardboard storks on my front lawn! I know it is crazy! But all of my neighbors get one when their little ones arrive...and my beautiful children do not!

Each time one appears in my neighborhood, everyone gets so excited, and even though I can show my new little one, inevitably someone asks, "How long will you have her/him?" And the spell is kind of broken, because I know they don't view my foster/adoptive child the way I do.

Of course I am so grateful to have them anyhow! I remember when my 7 year old Madyson had just come to my home, she was 3 months old and several of my friends came over that Saturday to see her. We were all just sitting around and taking turns holding her and my good friend Kim said, "And the women gather..." that is the closest thing to a shower I've ever had. But it was enough.

Keep strong.

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I am a single mom to four amazing kids; each of whom just happen to have been adopted. The first three were adopted through foster care, and we just completed an international adoption from Haiti. Our family has grown through adoption and I am all the more blessed to know each of my children. I worship a mighty God, teach Special Ed, love bargains, and am inspired by Pinterest... come along with us for the ride!

Olivia - 14

Olivia - 14

Braeden - 11

Braeden - 11

Liam - 9

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