Let me do some truth telling. Your waiting adopting friends are probably not “all there” at the moment. They are answering calls, working, going to church, and following their daily routine. But it’s a bit robotic, a bit distracted. If they were honest they would tell you how little they’ve gotten done this week because they’re glued to their phone, waiting for an email. They would tell you how they forget important things like applying the conditioner after the shampoo in their morning shower. How they have burned a number of dinners now by being so preoccupied. They would tell you how a day can seem like a lifetime and a week like an eternity, when you’re waiting on a tidbit of news.
Oh I know its worth it. I know. But it’s a new normal that takes adjustment. I have never carried a baby to term, but I do know that preoccupation my pregnant friends get. They are in the midst of wondering so many things: is he healthy, how will she look, what will those first moments be like, what if something goes wrong? And they rub their bellies just a bit to reassure themselves that this will all be worth it. Your adoptive friends are thinking all those same things.
Your adoptive friends are in a state of high alert at all times. They are fielding decisions left and right, big life changing decisions. Maybe a situation has come up with a medical need that they are researching. Maybe they are looking at their budgets and see if it can stretch to a situation that has a few extra costs than expected. Maybe they have just been heard a hard “no.” And they take a breath and do the next thing. This is where their weariness comes from.
Your adoptive friends marriages are changing, their homes are changing, and their future is changing. And that’s alot to deal with all at once. They are being inspected, fingerprinted, and interviewed. Every possible parenting weakness they might have is being dredged up, while a million possible adoption complications are being spelled out in training classes. They are learning about bonding and grief and children from hard places. They are learning that great joy and unspeakable tragedy go hand in hand with adoption. And that racism is still very much a factor in our culture. And this will be hard to take. There will be guilt. There will be questioning. Then there will be renewed vision.
Of course there is more. Your adoptive friends are learning to be advocates for a very misunderstood cause. They are getting used to mixed reactions….happiness to anger and everything in between. They are learning to be ok when the 100th person tells them “you will get pregnant now that you’re adopting” or “I still hope you will be able to have a child of your own someday.” They are getting used to giving financial breakdowns of why adoption is “so expensive.” They are getting used to people asking them very personal questions very bluntly.
If you are close enough to a friend going through adoption, you might be getting the details not suitable for blogs or Facebook. And these details might be hard, confusing, and unfair. I worry I am giving my friends a more intense rollercoaster ride than they signed up for. Because being a friend to someone who is adopting is hard work. But if your friends ever needed your support, prayers, and understanding…it’s through the adoption process. It’s the time for the Church to rally and encourage as God does His work of creating a family. Your crazy adopting friends need you to point them back to God and to remind them of His sovereignty just as much as they need you to loan them baby stuff. They need you to stockpile prayers for them just as much as they need to stockpile diapers. And we are seeing this in real time from our amazing church and friends and it’s been humbling and beautiful to watch.