Thursday, November 12, 2015

Adoption Awareness Day 12: Open

So this was a topic I was not totally sure what was intended. Was I suppose to talk about open adoptions or was it meant to be open to any topic I want to talk about? Well since I did not complete and open adoption and any information I could post here, would be simply second hand from friends who have, I chose to make it mean open topic. And so I chose to talk about "Paper Pregnant"
So there is all of this paperwork that you have to do for an adoption and for those of you who are married, you had/have more than I do as a single! Anyway, you get a list of things you need to get together to compile your dossier for adoption. These papers include letters of reference, tax returns, proof of employment, fingerprinting at state and federal level, home study paperwork, medical paperwork, background checks and I am sure there was stuff I am forgetting. So once you have all the paperwork complete and turned in to your agency you are ready. And by that I mean you are ready to WAIT. 
Now comes the waiting for the call or email from the agency that says "we have a match" Which means that there is a child that meets the criteria that your social worker said you were able to adopt. ( In the home study the social work will list ages and special needs that you are approved to adopt.) Once the call comes in and you decide to accept the match, which in an international adoption meant I took the provided medical background to a pediatrician in the area to have him look at it and tell me what all the numbers meant and how "healthy" this child was and what struggles I might anticipate. Once you accept the referral people often then say you are "paper pregnant", some will say once the dossier is in and you are waiting that you are "paper pregnant" Either way this pregnancy just involves more WAITING. I guess much liking being physically pregnant and waiting the 9 months for delivery. The difference with the adoption wait is that it may end in a much shorter time or it may take way more than 9 months. For me funny enough I received Little Man's referral on March 2nd, and accepted the referral on March 6th. It was November 18th when I passed court and December 18th when I arrived in Ethiopia and Dec 21st when I got him in my arms. So my paper pregnancy was just over 9 months long. My labor....a 15 hour plane flight to get to Ethiopia and get to my son....or maybe the labor was actually the 17 hour plane flight home with a baby that was all sorts of sick and had only known me for 4 days.
My "pregnancy" was not measure in doctors appointments, gaining weight. feeling kicks and ultrasounds. My pregnancy was packing up care packages to send with the families that traveled before me and then waiting, repeatedly checking email during the day to see if pictures came in from the families that had just come home. It involved talking almost everyday to Jennifer Matasovsky as we waited for our boys and talking late at night to Sarah Tjepkema as we waited to pass court. It involved fear and excitement when the phone rang on court days. It involved me watching my child grow for 9 months in someone else's care and yearning for the day I could kiss his cheeks, play with those curls and look into those big brown eyes.
Paper pregnancy or physical pregnancy they both put a toll on your body, they both changes you and they both teach you patience!

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