From Paper Pregnancy to Motherhood

The Journey of Adoption
Spring 2013: From paper pregnancy to motherhood
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I’m mom to three precious daughters, ages two, three, and five years old. Like most moms I know, I have a phone full of pictures that I’m eager to show. We are an ordinary family who came to be by extraordinary circumstances—the miracle of adoption.

My kids grew in my heart as they grew in someone else’s tummy. I had a Paper Pregnancy that included social worker home-study visits and safety inspections; fingerprinting; background checks; affidavits from family, friends, and employers; finance disclosure; physicals; parenting and adoption education; and mountains of paperwork that made my mind spin and eyes cross. The paperwork had to be notarized, and then authenticated by state and federal offices. At last my Paper Pregnancy gave life to a dossier stamped with approval. I toasted each time with a glass of wine—one of the benefits to a Paper Pregnancy. Thankfully I experienced the “mommy amnesia” about the paperwork pains just as others experience it about the birthing pains.

My Labor Pains lasted nine and a half months for my oldest, and more than three months each for my younger children. Time slowed to a crawl from finally seeing their beautiful little faces when I received their referral picture to having them placed in my arms forever.

Delivery for me included travel agencies arranging planes, trains and automobiles, and U.S. Embassy interviews in the birth countries of my children. The assistants in my deliveries were lawyers, a foster family, an orphanage and a transition house. Delivery took place in either a hotel or a guesthouse instead of a hospital.

Otherwise my family is just like families with biological children: I love my kids beyond words, with all of my heart and soul, now and forever—and just as profoundly as if I’d birthed them.

I’m often told how lucky my kids are to have been adopted; however, it is I who am blessed to get to be their mommy. I didn’t do anything special for my children; they did something very special for me—they allowed me to be a parent.

Estimates put the number of adopted persons in the U.S. somewhere between 6 and 10 million. A 1997 survey found that 6 in 10 Americans have had a personal experience with adoption: they themselves, a family member, or a close friend was adopted, had adopted a child, or had placed a child for adoption.

I routinely get asked questions about adoption, even though it’s said so many have some experience with it. If you have ever wanted to ask questions about adoption, here is your chance!

There are said to be 143 million children worldwide who need a loving Forever Family. If you are interested in adoption there are a few basics I’d like to share:

  1. Get connected: In the greater Springfield area, we are fortunate to have IAF of SW Missouri (www.iafswmo.org) which is a support group that offers an impressive array of resources, educational programs, parent meetings, social and cultural events to prospective and all adoptive families.
  2. Work with agencies and/or lawyers that are knowledgeable of and have a proven track record in adoption- whether you are considering adopting domestically, through the Foster Care system, or internationally.
  3. Get connected online with groups of families who have already adopted and seek out their experiences with the agencies you are considering.
  4. Talk to adoptive families in your area and ask them about their experiences and journey. If you are sincere and considerate most are willing to talk or to schedule a better time to talk later.
  5. Realize that nearly every adoption journey has similar aspects but each is unique based on very personal and profound circumstances that are usually sacred ground to the families and children involved.

Always with hope, Bobi

 

Bobi Spilker
About author:

Bobi is blessed with three precious daughters, ages 4 years to 7 years old. Among other things she is a malaria prevention, social justice and antiracism activist who is on the board of Directors of Adoptive Families of SW Missouri. She enjoys creating community service educational programs in her community and partnering with communities in her children’s birth counties to support community-identified priorities such as malaria prevention and education, children education & sponsorships, and basic needs of clothing and shoes.

View all posts by Bobi Spilker
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