Entries from November 2013 ↓

making space

I’ve now cleaned (most) of the excess STUFF out of the room that will be the new baby’s room and I’m starting to play around with the furniture layout.  This second time of nursery decorating has been very different than the first time.  Last time, we had an “office” that we hadn’t been using much since we’d gotten laptops and in my head it was always the “baby room” (even before it was decorated) and as such was a bit of an aching wound every time we walked by it, empty.  The idea of decorating it so that it obviously WAS a baby room was terrifying.

The newest baby room was originally our guest bedroom (and may still need to function in that capacity from time to time) and so there’s a lot of furniture and other things in there that I’ve had to fit the baby things in around.  I did reject one of the room layouts I tried because the guest bed dominated the room and was the first thing you saw when you walked into the room and the crib was sort of off to the side, almost like an afterthought.  Although technically one of the better layouts for the room (just in terms of usability), I couldn’t leave it that way.  I don’t EVER want to give the impression that this baby is an afterthought.

I’m finding this process to be a fairly accurate reflection of some of the larger aspects of adopting our second child as well.  I am becoming more conscious of how much STUFF we have in our lives and our daily schedules now and part of preparing for another baby has been figuring out what STUFF or activities we’re going to get rid of or rearrange or “put into deep storage” in order to make sure there’s plenty of room for this newest addition to our family and that they never feel like we had to squeeze them in around the edges.  I do wonder if we end up having a long wait if making this space in our lives will at some point begin to feel like an aching wound.  Either way, simplifying our lives before this next chapter seems like a good idea.  I wonder what other differences between adoption #1 and adoption #2 I’ll discover as our story continues…

In case you’re curious as to how things are progressing with us, three of the six couples from our July orientation group have now been matched with expectant mothers that are due to give birth in November and December.  We are STILL cranking through the last dregs of the homestudy update paperwork (we are sooooo close to being done, but I know this is the deceptively long part) and I’ve spoken to one expectant mother for about 60 seconds and the agency called to ask our permission to show our profile for a case that needed a little extra consideration (we agreed to be shown, but haven’t heard anything back and don’t necessarily expect to).  I am definitely not feeling impatient yet, but my heart does leap every time our home phone rings.

surprised by grief

About six months after Gabriel was born, some close friends of ours here in town gave birth to their second child.  When we arrived at the hospital to visit them and meet the new baby, I was surprised by a flood of tears right outside the door to their hospital room.  Visits like this had been torture for the past few years, but I had thought that now that I was a mom I’d be fine.  The trigger for me had been realizing that we would never have a “happy” hospital visit where friends and family could drop by to meet and admire the baby and say all of the, “congratulations, wow! you look amazing!” sort of compliments.  Instead, the hospital experiences for our children would be marked by sadness and that careful dancing step we do during the “48+ hour wait.”  Plus, instead of being surrounded by our own family and friends, we were surrounded by family and friends of the birthfamily (who are most likely not there to support us, so we’re navigating those first tender days of newborn life much more alone than we would be in the comfort of our own hometown).

It’s possible that during Gabriel’s days in the hospital we danced too close to the sad side.  The adoption worker told us that Gabriel’s birthmother had commented  that we didn’t even seem all that happy or excited about the baby (I guess we’d been trying to remain somewhat neutral so she wouldn’t feel like we were pressuring her to place).  Thankfully, the caseworker was able to explain to her that we were probably trying not to “rub it [our happiness] in” and after we’d learned that (and after placement) we felt a little easier about letting our happiness shine through to our son’s amazing birthfamily. We realized that one of the rewards that she reaped in placing her child with us was the joy of helping to create a family for people unable to do so for themselves and we needed to make sure that she witnessed that joy!

I realize that building a family through adoption is different from building a family the more traditional method in MANY ways with much larger and long-ranging griefs than the details of the hospital stay, so it seems somewhat petty to even bring this up (especially when the birthfamily is experiencing a grief so much more profound at this same time), but it’s just one of the infertility griefs I was surprised by.  We’ll see if our “dance” is any more graceful the second time around.