Once we had decided to adopt, we jumped in with both feet. That first weekend we were immersed in paperwork. We had signed on with our wonderful adoption consultant Susan VanSyckle at Christian Adoption Consultants. We were reading through all the info she had provided, as well as working through our homestudy paperwork.
The homestudy process was as intense as everyone warns. I think we filled out a combined 18 hours or so of documents and spent additional time gathering supporting items, getting fingerprinted, medical releases etc. It took two full weekends to get everything done and ready to go. Our visit prep was also very intense, made more so by the fear of not getting everything “just right.” But the actual visit was much less stressful than I had anticipated and our social worker was just wonderful. We did not have to remove our wall sculpture that my husband built and he understood the boxed of items waiting to be sold on Ebay. He did not go through my cleaned out pantry for expired items or spicy food (I had read horror stories online.) And our pool was not going to disqualify us so long as we install the fence we had purchased before finalization.
We had our approval on May 29th 2013. I felt more excited to receive that approval than my college diploma.
When you’re adopting, they call this stage “paper pregnant.” You may not have a belly to rub, but you’ve got that signed document saying you’re expecting a baby. It’s an amazing feeling! And perhaps even more significant is the permission this gave me to really EXPECT a baby, something I had never given myself permission to do through infertility. Permission to begin imagining his or her fingers and toes, and think about what they might be doing *right now*. Are they kicking? Sucking their thumb? Are they about to be born or not even conceived yet? What color would their skin be? Eyes be? What would their little personality be like?
And with the expectation came prayers. Prayers are precious for adoptive mamas. Because we don’t have ultrasounds and stirrings of a baby in our wombs. Instead we have stirring in our hearts that prayers cultivate. And with the danger of sounding trite, all the sayings I’ve seen about how adopted children grow in their parent’s hearts, they are so true. Our baby would not be more real to me if I had a big belly to remind me of his or her presence in our lives. They are here, just not HERE.