Baby names lists gives hope to waiting adoptive parents
I thought of another baby name today. As usual I go to the little piece of paper I have been keeping in my day planner for the past 8 years and scribble it down. I love this list. It’s now 84 baby names long and 8 years old. Some names I’ve scratched off because a friend chose that name for their baby (or for their second baby… or even their third baby). Some of these names have nick names written beside them, or short forms we would use. It’s the closest thing I have to reminding myself one day that I will be a mommy.
They say we are “pregnant by adoption.” But we don’t know what that means, and I sure don’t know if this “pregnancy” will last 1 more week or 5 more years, but I’m pretty sure it will be just as nauseating.
“Be patient” we are told. I have never been pregnant and my experience with pregnancy is quite limited actually - limited to my siblings, my friends, cousins and coworkers. It’s not something that I ever really saw happening for me. I can’t explain why, but I could never really ever picture myself pregnant. Still, we went through the standard lineup of progressively invasive fertility treatments because that is what you do when you want a child so, so badly. But with each big fat negative pregnancy test (and there were many) I was not surprised one bit. They all just made sense. And still, every fibre of my being longs to be a mom.
One day out of the blue my husband suggested adoption and it was like a light bulb went off. This makes so much sense and oh my gosh why did we not think of this sooner?! It seemed so obvious and I felt a little ridiculous almost for putting myself and my husband through all those painful treatments.
Initially we met with our local CAS, where we learned it would be at least another two more years before our file would even be looked at. International adoption would be the same, if not longer. Be patient, we were told. This is going to take some time. Fair enough. Private domestic adoption it is. There is nothing quite like being told by a perfect stranger to just “be patient”, when every day for the past 8 years I have told myself this will happen for us someday soon. When is someday soon?
Now my husband and I have been approved for private domestic adoption for over a year, and what I initially thought would be a walk in the park compared to fertility treatments (you just make a gorgeous profile book, register with an agency and get chosen by the perfect birthmother, right?) is proving to test my patience more than I even thought possible.
This can’t happen fast enough and with every pregnancy announcement at work and amongst my friends, I am reminded that it might not – ever.
In the beginning, my husband and I agreed upon registering with three private agencies. Fast forward one year later with no baby and we are making plans to meet with our sixth agency next month. This is what you do as waiting adoptive parents because if not … what else can we do? Of course all these agencies have a cost. Some have been incredibly supportive, while others have been happy to take our registration fee, never to be heard from again. Some let you know each time you are presented to a birth parent, while others you have no idea if they even remember your name. There is no consistency.
We have been presented to birth parents about a dozen times by now. Each time it’s a roller coaster ride of hope and disappointment. We have been narrowed down to the “top two couples” more than a few times. Once we were even interviewed by birth parents because they just could not decide between us and another couple. One week of pins and needles later, we were told that the other couple were chosen instead of us. We are being patient.
Once we were finally chosen by an expectant mother to adopt her baby girl! It was going to be an open adoption and we thought we had an amazing connection with this woman and her family. We studied our list of baby names together and decided on one that we all loved. It was perfect. She was perfect. She was taken back 8 days later to her birth mother. Through all our experiences, we have been devastated and we have been oh so patient.
“Just live your life and it will happen when you least expect it.” - The words of wisdom from my well-meaning, loving friends and family. I am a very goal oriented person and was raised to think that when you work hard for something it can happen and will happen. Adoption is funny that way. With adoption, it doesn’t matter how many agencies we register with (six), how many profile book revisions we do (probably 15 now) how many adoption websites we join (3, not including our own), it doesn’t happen any faster and the whole thing sometimes feels like slow torture.
I am pretty sure if someone else tells me to be patient I just might break down and cry. And if anyone else tells me that everything happens for a reason (or doesn’t), I most certainly will spontaneously combust.
I often feel guilty for wanting something that comes from someone else’s loss. It seems strange to want something so badly, and that in order for it to happen, another person has to go through pain, grief and even a crisis. Adoption is as excruciating as it is beautiful. It is love and it is loss. I feel guilty and I feel desperate. I have to keep thinking that things do unfold as they should, and people are brought into your life for a very special and specific reason - if they are meant to.
So I thought of another baby name today and I am going to proudly add it to my list. I am sure there will be a day when my phone rings without my heart skipping a beat, hoping it’s one of the agencies. Or I might one day check my email without wondering if an agency has been in touch. But until then, I will keep working on our list and have our child continue to grow in our hearts.
Present day: Since writing this article, Carrie and her husband were chosen by an incredible young woman to be parents to her baby. They now have a beautiful 2 month old son and have a wonderful relationship with their son’s birth mother - it is truly that perfect match they had been “patiently” praying for. Waiting for their son was worth every excruciating second. Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.
Ontario can do better by providing waiting adoptive parents support during the waiting time, pre and post placement to help families like these find hope and comfort with others in the same situations.