Just a fair warning right up front: What you are about to read may be a little painful for you to hear.
As you go through your adoption journey, especially during that excruciating waiting period when you are just waiting to receive “the call” that you have been matched with a potential birthmother, you are going to feel a whirlwind of emotions. At times you will feel excitement, anxiety, nervousness, impatience, hope, fear, and a plethora of other emotional highs and lows. Often in the midst of these emotions, it’s easy to forget about what’s important.
That’s why I think it’s necessary to keep your emotions in check from time to time, and focus on what I think is one of the most important aspects of adoption. Again, it not be easy for you to hear. It’s not always easy for me either. But I believe it’s so important that we remember this one thing:
It’s not about you.
That’s right, the adoption journey is not all about what you want. I know that sounds a bit harsh, but hear me out.
Many of us decide to adopt a child for more or less selfish reasons. We want to be parents. We want to have children. Especially for those of us who have tried for so long to have kids but failed, we may feel a bit desperate to fulfill our lifelong dreams of becoming parents.
Now don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that your feelings are unimportant. I have those feelings too. All of us in this position do. But to be completely frank, we shouldn’t come first. The baby should come first. Then the birthmother, and then you.
I repeat: the baby first, then the birthmother, then you.
The baby comes first for reasons that are fairly obvious. He or she is the most important person in the adoption triad. It’s important that no matter what happens, the baby’s needs are met first and foremost.
Why does the birthmother come next, before us? It’s very simple: it’s her baby. Until the baby is born and the mother has signed the papers relinquishing the parental rights to you, she is the child’s rightful mother. In fact, she doesn’t even become a birthmother until those papers are signed. Remember, she is making one of the most difficult decisions any person ever has to make. Even if she is 100% certain she does not want to parent the child herself, she is still having to part with a child who has been growing inside her for nine months. That’s an agonizing thing for any mother to do.
Therefore, it’s very important that when dealing with potential birthmothers, you remain sensitive to her feelings and put them before your own. You have to be careful not to put any pressure on her. That can be easy to do, sometimes without even realizing you’re doing it. But it’s paramount that you understand how difficult her decision is, and that you give her enough freedom to make sure that she is making the right decision for her child.
I can only imagine how heartbreaking it is when an expectant mother who chooses you to adopt her child suddenly changes her mind, and I’m definitely not trying to downplay that. But ultimately, I think we need to respect her decision and trust that it was the right decision for her and her child, no matter how painful it might be to accept.
Just remember that if the right child for you is out there, you will be united with him or her when the time is right.
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