The journey to motherhood is celebrated with meaningful rituals, traditions and shared moments. Showers are opportunities for the experienced mommas to share with the excited new ones. The welcome-home showers for my daughters are special moments that I will never forget and took place soon after my girls came home.
For expecting adoptive mommies, there are often additional experiences that are part of the motherhood journey and can be seasons of loss, grief and finally renewed hope once again. Infertility, fertility treatments, miscarriages, failed adoption referrals and governments closing adoptions in some countries are some of the unexpected bumps on the path to motherhood. For me, these heart-wrenching losses tore wide-open my heart and softened it in depths that defy my ability to express. It changed me in ways that are perfect for raising my children. I’m grateful for how it helped mold who I am, and especially that I’m on the other side of those experiences now.
Becoming a mother brought me sobbing to my knees at critical moments. It also allowed me to soar high among the heavens, living my dreams at long last. Emotional as it was at times for me, the adoption process is also emotional during the ups and downs for those who extend their hearts and arms to those of us adopting. For our loved ones, the adoption journey can create a loving, yet hesitant, anticipation. I was able to breathe in and out with my friends and share my “quasi-Lamaze” highs and lows. The daily healing and evolution of my motherhood journey was with my higher power and often unseen by those around me.
I understand why family and friends may have been worried to ask about my adoptions while I was stuck in “the waiting” phases of my Paper Pregnancies. It must have taken a deep breath and leap of faith to bring it up and ask how I was doing. I remember at times I replied with “still no news”, tears, a funny insight and sometimes venting my frustrations and fears.
The experienced, adoptive mommas that reached out to me made up my equivalent prenatal appointments. They shared their experiences, strength and hope, having once been where I was. I am grateful when I get to pay it forward and share the wisdoms that were imparted to me, now that my three blessings are home.
If you care for someone adopting, here are some things I’d like to share from my experience:
- Please do ask if there is any new information during the long waiting process. There may not be any news, but most expectant mommas want to share their excitement and sometimes their fears.
- Baby and welcome-home showers are an important part of becoming a parent. The physical aspects and often some precious moments are missed when forming a family through adoption. Most adoptive parents want the celebration of their children, as well; some prefer welcome home showers after coming home, while others enjoy showers just prior to the big travel or arrival date.
- The homecoming at the airport for adopting internationally or out of state is a joyous time to be greeted by friends and family. It is the equivalent of going to the hospital to see the new baby. These moments are often video taped and become a cherished part of the family story.
- For the first several months to a year, the child and the family are adjusting and working for solid, healthy attachment; please understand if the family initially wants to meet all the child’s needs to help the attachment process. It takes time and effort for everyone to grow deep roots together.
- Just like parents with a new, biological child, adoptive parents really need extra support after their new arrival is home. Offers to deliver dinners or other help is very much appreciated, especially if the child is older or has special needs.
Always with hope, Bobi