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.