Tuesday, March 27, 2012

{adoption orientation}

A few weeks ago, the hubs and I attended an hour long adoption orientation at our adoption agency. We decided to go through an agency founded by our church, and our local office is conveniently located right across the street from us.

Naturally, I was a little apprehensive and nervous. I had no idea what to expect and tried not to have any expectations at all (which if you know me, is impossible).

We arrived 15 minutes before the orientation was to begin, and the minute we walked in I evaluated my surroundings. As Andrew checked us in, I found a seat near the front of the office on a floral tapestry sofa, circa 1995. The teal velvet club chairs and scroll woodworking on the coffee tables reminded me of the lobby in my church growing up. It may have been the extra large, silk floral arrangement in the center of the table that threw me over the edge, or maybe it was the fact that it was so silent, you could hear a mouse fart, but suddenly, I was overwhelmed with feeling like I was about to confess my sins to my old bishop. Not a pleasant feeling.

I squirmed in my seat and was distracted from my thoughts by the front door opening. More couples were filtering in, giving their names, and sitting in seats around the lobby. I wanted to badly to get up, introduce myself, and make friends with the new couples in the room. After all, we already knew we had one thing in common- infertility- but the deadening silence and awkward glaces we exchanged increased the intimidation I was feeling, so I stayed in my seat.

Finally, we were called back to the conference room where we were seated around a ginormous conference table. I half expected Donald Trump to enter the room and chose which one of us would receive babies and who would be fired. I looked around at the other couples and suddenly, I felt as if I really was in the beginning stages of some reality show where the winner was awarded a baby. I couldn't help but think of the other couples as my competition and started sizing them up. Who would get picked first? Did they have an advantage? My thoughts were interrupted when a sweet faced, fashionably dressed woman came in and introduced herself. She introduced herself and gave a brief introduction of the orientation and then asked each of us to introduce ourselves. We were first. Andrew looked at me, giving me a half nod while raising his eyebrows to let me know I needed to take the reigns on this one.  I decided to keep things short and sweet.

I started things out cheerfully- probably a little too cheerful to mask my nervousness. "Hi! We're the Crawfords- we're here because we haven't been able to get pregnant (obviously) and we're anxious to learn more!"

I wasn't really sure if that was the kind of introduction they were looking for, but I must have opened a gate of some sorts, because after us, each introduction became a little more personal and indepth. The couple next to us told about how they've been trying for three years. The next talked about the son they've already adopted and they're hoping to adopt again. Some people gave details about their infertility, including diagnoses, etc.

As the introductions continued, my feelings of competition faded. We were all there for the same purpose and it really didn't matter who got what first. We all just wanted to be parents, more than anything.

The orientation really opened my eyes to adoption. Questions were answered and and more questions were brought to mind. There is a lot to decide and even more to take in. While I wish I could say I felt totally at ease with the process, I'll be honest and say that I felt like the orientation is kind of a "weeding out process" (which, come to find out, is what other adoptive couples have said too). Adoption is not for the weary hearted. It's going to be a long, hard, emotionally draining and filling process, but one that is so worth it with a priceless reward.

We feel ready and we're diving in head first.


Lindzee said...

Wow, this totally brings back memories! I am so excited you guys are starting your journey! Can't help with the after stuff, but if you have any questions about the before I'd be more than happy to help. :)

BECKY said...

thanks so much for sharing your stories... can't wait to hear more.

cathycan said...

fingers, toes, all crossed! love you!

paula said...

Adoption is a topic near and dear to my heart Shan. I have a couple very close friends who have adopted and I know several birth mothers....the closest one being my own mother.

Years before she met my Dad and had us kids, she had a child out of wedlock and placed her for adoption. That was back in the days when they'd send the pregnant girl away, she'd never see or hold the baby after giving birth, and not know ANYTHING about the family they were placed with. The only thing she knew was that it was a girl.
It would continue to be a "family secret" for the next 30 years.
30 birthdays, 30 Mother's Days....keeping it all in her own heart, hoping she had made the right decision all those years ago.

Imagine her shock when 8 years after she released her "secret", her first born contacted her and wanted to meet her. Her name was Tracy and she lived only 2.5 hours away. They all agreed that it would be a family affair and Tracy's Mom and Dad would also be included in the meeting. So, the following weekend my Mom met the 30 year old baby that she had never laid eyes on.

That was several years ago and they still keep in touch....there has never been any blurring of lines between who Tracy's parents are....my mother gave her life but the man and woman who adopted her gave her A LIFE....her Mom and Dad.

Adoption is a beautiful blessing. An exchange of precious gifts. A birth mother placing a living, breathing gift into the arms of a Mom and Dad, who in exchange gives the birth mother the gift of hope and a better life. You are right, adoption is not for the weary hearted...on either side.

You and Andrew will be great parents....any child & birth mother will be lucky to have you guys. Good luck Shan.

(sorry for the novel...I felt inclined to share :)

Chelsy Ann said...

Hi! I just randomly bumped into your blog and read your post about adoption. I'm so glad I found it! My husband and I have decided that we want to adopt after trying for a couple years and no baby. We go in for our orientation meeting next week at LDS Family Services and it was great to hear how things were so I know what to expect. I'll be keeping updated with you to see how things go for the two of you and I wish you the best! Its kind of a scary thing to go into, knowing that there might be more heartache and disappointment ahead, but at the same time, we are so hopeful and excited to be parents!