We attended our home study class on July 9. This is a step in the process that we did not experience when we adopted Jayce. I was assuming that it would be a rather boring day covering everything we've already been through and I really just wanted to get it over with. While we did hear a lot of things we already knew or had experienced, I found this class to be interesting and needed. We could have really used this last time. In this class, the agency tries to prepare you for every aspect of your looming adoption. They tell you what to expect...anyone who has ever parented (in any way) knows that you cannot depend on what you expect to be what actually happens...regarding almost every aspect of adoption.
Our class was made up of eight families (including us). Three of us had previously adopted, two families had biological children and the rest were/are preparing to be first time parents. What an incredible experience to actually be able to share our experience (in pieces) to people who were interested because it was applicable and offered hope...or assurance that what they were/are feeling is ok, real, valid, shared, and understood. I'm finding, as we share with those who are "in the process," I have a huge need to help adoptive families feel validated. Let me just say this and see how it pans out...
NOTE: I am speaking on behalf of myself here and assuming that what I'm about to say could be said by quite a few adoptive families, but certainly not ALL adoptive families...It is tiring, annoying, sometimes hurtful to hear people say things like:
...you will have the baby you are meant to raise
...this will happen in God's time
...at least you don't have to be pregnant and all that goes along with that
...you know, when you complete this, you're gonna get pregnant
...so, you can't have your own children?
In response to these things, I would say:
...You are 100% right, but you don't have to remind me
...You are 100% right, but every once in a while I wish He'd hurry up...and you don't have to remind me
...You are 100% right, but every once in a while I wonder what it would be like -- I wish that you would cherish every minute that you are...and you don't have to remind me
...So far, you are 100% wrong and I don't really care if I ever have a biological child
...My son is my own!
Please understand that the comments above are things I've thought and never really said aloud, except to my closest friends, but I think they are important for people to understand. While most people are trying to be helpful when they say things like this, the biggest help you can give is to listen and pray.
Sorry...I'm supposed to be writing about the class...sidetracked much? So, the class was informative. We discussed the rights of birthmoms, birthdads, and adoptive parents. We discussed what to expect at the hospital and making a hospital plan with our birthmoms. We talked a lot about legal risk. We also talked a lot about open adoption. My favorite thing to talk about when I talk about adoption is the way our view of open adoption changed over the course of our experience. Most couples are really scared to consider open adoption (fyi...there are many kinds of open adoption, but I'll talk about that some other day). We wanted no part of it when we started our journey, but we can't imagine it any other way now. We feel that it is a privilege to be able to put our son in contact with his birthmom any time he asks...assuming she's willing and able to get together. We are glad to know about her and her interests and abilities. We see her in him a lot and we feel great that we can recognize that and help Jayce identify with her in some way. We value her as a person...we love her as a part of our family...we respect her for her selfless decision...we are grateful to her for helping us create our family as it is today. The adoption process has taken us on a journey that we never expected and we have learned how to love far beyond what we ever thought possible. I hope we communicated that to the waiting first time families...