You may be just getting off an “emotional rollercoaster in a bottle” like clomid or are perhaps still sore from countless fertility injections. Maybe you just hung up your basal body thermometer and cried over your last negative pregnancy test, wondering why your body has betrayed you. You might be just beginning to consider adoption or have known all your life (as I did) that at some point in your life you would grow your family through adoption. You might have just finished your home study and portfolio and are waiting to be chosen or you have your passport in hand and are preparing to fly overseas to meet your baby. Maybe you are fostering with hopes of parenting that special child for a lifetime. While my story does not cover all of the before mentioned bases, I can definitely check some of these things off my , “been there, done that” list. The truth of it is, no matter where you are in your journey—we have all shared at least one thing—a deep and relentless desire to be a mother and love a child with all that you are and all that you have.
I was adopted as a toddler, while my parents were stationed overseas. When I was four, my parents returned to the States and I was naturalized as a US citizen. It was that same year that my Mom gave me one of my life’s greatest gifts when she gave birth to my little sister. I do not remember a time that I did not know that I was adopted and it was always something to be celebrated. I am a happy, well-adjusted adoptee who can be thankful TO my birthmother for the choices she made for me and thankful FOR the mommy who raised me and I always knew I would adopt a child/children myself one day.
I was in my 20’s when I met my husband and was fortunate to find that, though his life had not yet been touched by adoption, my “prince charming” was a happy and willing participant in jumping into the adoption pool with me! When we decided to begin the process of adoption with a domestic agency, I entered things feeling excited, overwhelmed, hopeful and afraid. Once we attended the agency orientation, my husband left me to do the bulk of the paperwork and of course our Letters for prospective birthmothers. I hear this a lot now with the hopeful adoptive parents I work with, do not look at it as a reflection on how much your spouse wants to adopt. My darling husband, who wanted the adoption as badly as I did, simply signed his name where I asked, attended his physical and had his fingerprints done.
I wanted everything done yesterday! I completed things quickly and efficiently and enjoyed checking things off my list from the agency. I had everything perfectly labeled and tabbed in my big 3-ring binder. I felt as though I was doing something proactive and that was helpful to me, as there is so little you have control of in this process. Once I handed everything over and we were ready to be shown to prospective birthparents I felt much less control but knew I had done all I could. The hard part for me was when I did not have something I could be doing to move the process along. I wondered, worried and waited. This is where my husband played his part and it was very important. While he had not played much, if any part in most of the paperwork or our letters, when we waited and I doubted, his faith held strong. He listened and held me up when my own faith faultered. He was my rock.
We were matched in a matter of months and held our 1st child in our arms in less time than I could have ever carried him. Within a four year period, we were blessed three times, each wait was shorter than the one before. Believe me, I understand that even a short wait can feel long, as each day can be an eternity when you are waiting for a child. The child you long to love and raise for a lifetime. My best advice to those who are just beginning the process is to enjoy as much of it as you can—it is your experience of “having a child” — this is your family story!
I remember asking my mom once if she was sorry she could not get pregnant easily and she replied, “Never, because then I would not have you!” Do I wish I could have skipped all those bumps in the road? The bumps you may be going over right now. NO WAY! It was THAT road that brought me to my babies—my life- my loves-my joys–the blessings of love that my life would not be the same without! Embrace where you are right now—you are on your journey, as well– and it is SO worth it!
About the Author
Madeleine Melcher is an adoptee and adoptive mother to 3 blessings of domestic adoption. For more than 8 years, Madeleine has been a part of prospective adoptive parent’s journeys, as owner and designer at OUR JOURNEY TO YOU ~ Custom adoption profile/portfolio design, creating profiles – some of which have been chosen within days of their completion. In addition to her profile design experience, Madeleine will soon be a published author on the subject. As a result of the excellence she has shown in the field, she was contracted by Jessica Kingsley Publishing in late 2012. Her book, How to Create a Successful Adoption Portfolio: Easy Steps to Help You Produce the Best Adoption Profile and Prospective Birthparent Letter, will be released in early 2014. Madeleine has also recently begun working with Parentfinder, lending her expertise as a creative design advisor to their already amazing services. Of all of her titles and accomplishments, Madeleine’s favorite “title” is that of “MOMMY”!