06 November 2014

knit together: a family photo, education & anticipation

Wow! Thank you so much for your excitement for us and sharing in our news!

For the life of me, I cannot remember to take pictures. Even when we're on vacation, by the end of our time away there are minimal pictures as compared to the first few days away. I'm hoping that changes when we have a baby. Surely it will. We actually did have photos taken recently, but haven't received those yet. So here's a snapshot of us; it's one of my favorites:

Other than a cat and a dog, this is our family. We're anxiously awaiting children and look forward to our lives being completely different. 

Since we aren't parents yet, we absolutely have lots to learn about parenting. Of course, we'll read books as needed, but I think most can agree that learning this skill requires doing. But there is the component that involves incorporating adoption into life. We know that we don't want to have "the talk" at some point in the life of a child where we reveal that they are adopted. This will be something that our child knows from a very early age. There is a chance that this child will have a different ethnic or racial background, so they would notice differences early in life. Our plan for sharing with our child(ren) about adoption is to provide age-appropriate books. Eventually, we'll strive to have open conversation about the birth family, with hopes that they'll know adoption isn't something to push under a rug and ignore. We want them to be proud of both of their families.

We were exhausted after our home study with the information that we learned. We haven't gone into adoption blindly. Our church has created a culture of adoption, and we have several friends who have adopted; I have family members who are adopted. But there were things our social worker shared that we hadn't considered. For instance, we knew that bonding with an adopted child will be different. They've spent nine months (hopefully) in a different environment. Bonding with baby is essential for any parent, but critical for adoptive parents. We were told that for the first few months of life, all needs must be met by us: feeding, putting down to sleep, holding, changing diapers. Although others can give a little squeeze, passing baby around a circle of visitors so that they can hold him/her isn't something we'll be able to do. We had no clue. It sounds like we'll be pretty busy for the first few months!

We've also learned that positive adoption language is critical so that children know that there is more than one way to grow a family. We want to honor our child and their birth family. Here are some examples:

Real/Natural Parents
Birth parents; birth mother/father
Children of your own
Biological children
Adopted child
My child, child
Was adopted
Is adopted
Born to unmarried parents
Give up for adoption
Placed for adoption
Bi-racial family
Trans-racial family

Another component of education is for those around us--our families and friends who will have an impact on our child's life. The above language will be critical for our circles of influence. We'll work to correct phrases so that there's no shame associated with adoption. 

We also want those who aren't as familiar with adoption to understand the call to adoption we have from Christ. If adoption makes you unsettled, or if you've never truly considered the heart of adoption, I'd love for you to listen to John Piper's sermon called Adoption: The Heart of the Gospel

I think it's safe to say that there's anticipation whenever a child will join a family, whether through pregnancy or adoption. Of course, this is no exception. Like a pregnancy, there's lots of waiting involved in adoption. Currently, we're anticipating our home study to be complete and a start to fundraising. (Side note: we have a fundraising opportunity that's fun for us--or at least me. That'll come in the next couple of weeks!) It seems like once those hurdles are cleared, then things will be easier. But then we'll start the process of being matched with a birth mom. I know, I KNOW that will be nerve-wracking for us. 

We know that we want to wait well. We want to anticipate our child joining us, but not be anxious or filled with worry. We trust that because this process has been Spirit-led that this season will be one of growing in Him, through the waiting. 

Thank you again for following along this journey with us. We're so grateful to have such a broad support system. We're so thankful to Him to grow our family in this way. We'd love your prayers while we're in the learning and the growing and the waiting.


Tara said...

So excited to hear your news! Adoption is such a beautiful opportunity for us to live out the gospel. I'll be looking forward to following your journey!

Christine said...

This is great and very eye opening. Didn't think about the fact that you would need to always hold your baby at the beginning to establish that bond. Thanks for sharing :)

Sarah Wilson said...

I can't wait! So excited!!!