Wednesday, March 8, 2017

What Happens While You Wait

If you know me at all, even a little bit, you probably know that patience is something I struggle with.  I'm a "get it done now" type of person and very often, if we're not getting done quickly enough, my Type A-self will swoop in and try to take over so we can get it done more quickly.

So it's no surprise that even though it's been 2 months, the waiting piece of this adoption journey has been a killer.  In an effort to curb this impatience (although let's be honest- there are plenty of things on my plate to keep me busy--it's just that Type A roaring it's sometimes-ugly head), I've been really digging into the adoption internet land and soaking up as much information as possible on anything and everything adoption.  I've joined (and left) adoption groups, I've posted stories and articles, I've downloaded books, I've read poems and quotes...and what I discovered is a common theme about what happens during the "waiting" period.

There seem to be two schools of thought on how to handle the waiting:  1. Do everything that is easier to do pre-baby (work, vacation, lose weight, etc) and live life to the fullest pre-child OR 2. Prep and learn all you can so you are ready when baby comes.

With the first school of thought (pre-baby bucket list), there's this thought process that in order to wait, you need to distract yourself.  Distract so you don't think of baby all the time.  Distract so you don't look at the empty nursery and cry.  Distract so you don't annoy your social worker with your weekly "Any news?" emails.  Jump into Pinterest for hours searching for any tips an tricks on what to do while we wait because you're a person of action and waiting is not in your DNA.  And yes, waiting for something so big with no end date in site does require a fair amount of distraction.  If I was truly in my normal mind, I would be calling the social worker daily.  I would be crying in the empty nursery...probably daily.  But, does distraction also boil down to not WANTING to think about the waiting and not WANTING to think about the "what if" that is such a huge part of the adoption process?  Does that distraction have to do with the fact that even though we're hopeful and even though our outside shell is confident, there's a little piece of us that is lacking in the Faith that is needed when this is so out of our control?

 That second thought process is a little of the opposite.  We have so much faith and so much confidence, we are controlling what we can of the situation because we KNOW it's all going to work out.  Instead of the distraction, we are MAKING things happen.  Every nursery purchase feels like a victory and every new chapter on the newest book of baby expertise makes us a ready expert.  Every time we post an "answer" or "opinion" on the adoption blogs, we feel vindicated that we are moving in the right direction. And yes, #2 can (to some) feel like a more productive use of that waiting time.  But, really and truly, doesn't this process need some sort of a realization that you actually can't do it and you need help and support outside of yourself?  Is trying to control what you really can't control a little counter-productive?
Now granted, these are extreme schools of thought, but lately, I've found myself smack dab in the middle of these two groups.  On the outside, I'm a #2 all the way.  I've gathered the info, painted the walls, commented on the blogs, read the books, educated my friends and family- I'm on top of it.  On the inside, I am a mess.  I cry at the commercial where the mom has the new baby and does the skin-to-skin contact because I realize even when this whole thing works out, that's probably not going to be in the cards for me.  I get upset because there are times when I feel so helpless about this whole piece, I have to distract myself with what my current success is- my job- instead of acknowledging the fact that I'm a failure as a mother (and I know that's not true, but you know how our minds go, ladies).  I purposely avoid family situations and instead try to find activities for Mr. A and I that are childless so we can have fun and celebrate our pre-parent selves...and to keep me from the jealousy and the grief that still comes up from time to time.  I'm terrified of Mother's Day on one hand, and on the other, I'm so happy that one day I can celebrate that day just like everyone else.

For real- right now, I'm a multiple-personality parent to be!

Now, I know this isn't everyone's journey, but I did promise honesty in mine, so it's important to keep you updated on it all.  And, if you are also in a waiting period, I want to encourage you that waiting is hard and figuring out how to deal with it without losing your mind is not easy.  Here's the thing, though.  Waiting is part of it.  Crying is part of it.  Distraction is part of it.  Resolve is part of it.  Faith is part of it.  Needing support outside yourself is part of it.  Moving forward is part of it.  And waiting a little more is part of it again.  This is not a journey for the weak and we have to figure out in a trial-by-fire fashion how to deal with the waiting with as much grace as we can.

So, I'm probably going to keep looking on Pinterest.  And I'm probably going to work late every now and again.  And I'm most certainly going to change the channel when that commercial comes on. And I'll continue to be so appreciative of the friends and family who are waiting with me.  But seriously, let's keep the remote going so we avoid that commercial, ok? :)

*Adoption isn't without it's joys and struggles.  But it's so much easier having our friends and family as our support system.  To learn more about our journey, click here:

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