We had a wonderful, amazing workshop Sunday with Open Arms! There were about 10 other couples, from all different states (NY, NJ, PA and Delaware) and of all different ages. (A few seemed to be close to our age) There were even three gay/lesbian couples which was awesome.
The workshop lasted all day. There was a lot more information, plus visits from birth mothers and adoptive parents who were successfully matched through Open Arms.
We got to ask the birth mothers and adoptive parents questions which was nice. There were also breakout sessions, and we really got to know some of the other couples. It was nice to see other people had some of the same questions and concerns as we did. No super new information; just some more about how to prepare the home for baby, what to buy and what not to worry about buying, the process of profile book showing, and discussing how to choose what type of baby we’d be open to considering, in terms of not just race/twins, but drugs used by the birth mother and congenital defects.
At this point I think we both feel very informed and know exactly what is going on. So here are a few things that we’d like our families and friends to know. I don’t say these things to come off as rude or harsh; these are just to inform people. There are a lot of questions and it can be hard to find the right words when people ask about our adoption. It is such a difficult topic for so many reasons, and open adoption is even more complicated. So here’s a quick list. I hope it helps clear some things up!
A few things we’d like our friends and families to take away:
1. There will be no baby shower. Not before, not after the baby comes. Jewish people typically do not have baby showers; this will be no different. I appreciate all of the enthusiasm in wanting to buy us stuff, but we don’t know when the baby will come, and it can be emotionally difficult to have stuff in the house when it’s not certain when we’ll get the baby. That being said, Open Arms tells us what exactly we DO need to buy ahead of time, and we will take care of that. (For example, we need a car seat to take baby home from the hospital, and unisex onesies, stuff like that.) There may be a welcome baby party once we have the baby at home. But no shower. No registry (at this time or at any time in the near future). Thank you for respecting that!
2. Because of adoption laws, we are not permitted to share our baby’s picture via the Internet until the adoption is finalized, which could be 6-9 months after we get the baby. This means no email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, text messages, etc. with the baby’s photo. We can take photos and share them via snail mail, but please do not expect any pictures of the baby for 6-9 months after we get him/her. We are happy to share photos all over the web once we get the go-ahead, but until then there will be no sharing over the internet. Thank you for respecting that also!
3. At this point in the adoption process there is one large thing we need to accomplish before being shown to potential birth mothers: our profile book. I know a lot of you are asking where we are in the process. At this point we have completed our home study and are waiting to be approved for it, and then we just have to compile our profile book. When the book is done (made, ordered, sent to Open Arms for edits, updated and ordered again) we are going to be shown to birth mothers. AT THAT TIME (“the wait” as it is called) it could be anywhere from a few hours to a few years. We don’t know. We also may get chosen by a birth mother who is 7 months pregnant, which means we might know we will be chosen, but won’t know for sure until the baby arrives and she signs consents in the hospital, OR we may be chosen by a birth mother that has already had the baby. There is no way of knowing, which is why there is minimal sharing of this part of the process with family and friends. Even IF a birth mother chooses us, the baby is not ours until she signs consents. Meaning, she could want us, but it could still fall through at the hospital.
4. And speaking of the birth mother, our adoption will be open which means we WILL have and maintain a relationship with the birth mother. Forever. It may mean visits once a year, or sending her photos and email updates every week. One of the reasons we chose Open Arms is BECAUSE it is an open adoption agency. We fully believe in open adoption and 100 percent embrace having a relationship with the birth mother for the emotional health of the baby. I can’t tell you ahead of time the emotional impact that will have; all we know is that we love this philosophy and believe in it.
5. Lastly and most importantly, WE ARE REALLY, REALLY, REALLY EXCITED. We still have quite a journey ahead of us, but we are confident we will be parents and we really can’t thank our friends and families enough for all of the love, support and encouragement. We really, really, really love you guys and are overwhelmed with happiness. Whereas one part of me is terrified, one part of me is so ready to be a mom. We can’t wait to share our future baby with all of you and welcome him/her into our world. Thank you, truly, for all your patience, love and understanding.
There are hard parts of knowing my baby will be adopted, first and foremost the whole “bonding” thing. But actually Open Arms addresses this too. (Really, they help you with everything.) Because the baby won’t come from my body I worry about it not attaching to me, but Open Arms encourages wearing the baby in those wraps to speed up the process. So that helped me feel a little better.
And of course there is the breastfeeding thing. We learned at the workshop Sunday that adoptive moms CAN breastfeed. Apparently there is something they can do, even though they aren’t physically carrying the baby. Obviously, this is not possible for me. I had a double mastectomy, so I have no breasts. But there is another option and that is using a breast milk bank with donated breast milk. Sean and I discussed this, and we don’t see any reason to do that (formula will be fine), but if for some reason the baby’s doctor encourages breast milk we know we have another option. It’s nice to know that exists. So I want women out there who have donated their breast milk to know – your donations are used for a variety of cases, so thank you. Not saying we’ll need it, but it’s there if we do.
So those are some of the main things to take away, and some of the main things I’ve been thinking about.
An update since my last post on the Fosamax: I am not going to start taking it until I talk to my PCP. I emailed her to set up an appointment, and I made a list of questions and concerns which I will bring to our meeting.
I think that’s about it! Lots of snow today but the temps are warmer and I am keeping my hopes up for an eventual spring!