Adoption Stories: Becoming an Insta-Mom
I had the opportunity to meet Katelyn just a few weeks ago when she came into The Baby Cubby looking for a 4moms swing for little Marcus. Right off the bat Katelyn struck me as bright, energetic, and charismatic. She was really open about talking to myself and another Cubby Mom about her adoption experience. She was very real about everything - just the way we like things around here. So, I asked her if she would be willing to share her story with you - and she said yes! You, my dear friends, are in for a wonderful treat. Katelyn has been through a lot and she is willing to talk about it all! I can't wait for you to read her story. I knew when my husband and I got married that getting pregnant was going to be tough for me. We started trying almost immediately after we got married, but pregnancy wasn’t in the cards. Through years of infertility and trying trying to force my body to do what it should do naturally, no treatments could help us get pregnant (my uterus and I aren’t friends). We took a road trip to Denver in November of 2014 and knew from the moment we got in the car that we were going to go down the adoption route. In May of the next year we were finally able to start our home study. We had chosen an adoption agency based on our preferences and felt this agency was going to be a really good match for us. We had spent years waiting for a pregnancy that never came, and I was not about to wait that much longer to become a "waiting family." I busted through our home study. The agency recommended 4-6 months to have it completed. I ran around Salt Lake City, UT gathering all the documentation we needed in record fashion. I also had a minor setback when I drove to an office to drop off some paperwork for a background clearance and tripped in the parking lot. All that lovely paperwork went flying and I hobbled into the office bleeding, clutching what paperwork I was able to run after. I’m sure I really looked like a person you wanted to give a baby to in that moment. Nevertheless, we did our in home review and interviews with our social worker and had all paperwork done in 3 weeks. I wasn’t messing around.
We spent June and July doing our profile and video for our agency, and then in mid-August paid our final registration fees to become a waiting family! Seven weeks after we went active with our agency we got THE CALL. Oh yes, you read that correctly: seven weeks, not months. I was shaking so violently while talking to our adoption agency I could barely stand. We couldn’t believe it was happening. We found out that they had been working with a birth mom for a few months and she had picked our profile! She was having a boy in one month. If you’ve been pregnant, you know all about the amount of time and preparation that must go into those nine months before your child is born. Condense that down into four weeks, and that was now our reality. The hardest part was that we still couldn’t buy Target’s entire baby section. Adoption is unpredictable and our birth mother had every right to decide to parent the baby. So we made cautious gender neutral purchases that could be easily returned. That was torture, in case you’re wondering. The next week we had a phone conference with our birth mom and we fell in love with her. It was like we were long lost friends. We texted daily leading up to the delivery. Everything I felt I knew about birth mothers and adoption was wrong. We were adopting her as much as her baby, and we were making promises to not only raise her child the best we knew how, but to love her and welcome her into our family as well. On November 11th we got a text from our birth mom that she was being induced the next day (eek!). We were packed and at the airport in 3 hours for the next flight out. 48 hours later, we had gone through an emotional roller coaster that I can’t even describe. Our birth mom did decide to keep the baby, and then quickly changed her mind back, right before we arrived at the hospital. We stayed with her through her induction, and eventually our son was born via C-Section on Friday the 13th, and I was in the room to see it all.
Everyone told me that when I held my son for the first time I would feel just this overwhelming love and joy. The Heavens opening up, angels singing, the whole nine yards. That did not happen. I was happy when my son was born, and happy when I held him, but I had just become an insta-mom and I had no idea what I was doing!
Three days later when we left the hospital we weren’t going home, we were going to a hotel where we had to wait for legal paperwork to clear (and our birth mom had 10 days to change her mind). That first night in the hotel was by far one of the hardest nights of my life. I had 28 days to prepare to be a mom and that just didn’t seem like enough time, I mean who let me leave the hospital with that baby?! You know how the hospital sends you home with a care package of formula and random baby goodies? I feel like in that bag there should be a letter that says, “Open at 3am your first night” and in that letter it should tell you that it’s okay to cry. It should tell you that you might have some terrible thoughts that first night such as “why did I do this”, “I’m not cut out for this," etc. It should also tell you to call your mother, even if it’s the middle of the night because she’ll know exactly what to say in that moment. We spent two weeks at the hotel waiting for legal paperwork to be cleared, and finally our son Marcus was officially ours. It’s been a few months now and I’ve had a lot of laughs telling those around me what it’s like to become an insta-mom. It’s a completely overwhelming sensation to go from not even being pregnant to a mom, a few minutes later. I’ll also be the first to admit I didn’t bond with my son immediately. I’m pretty sure for the first week my body was looking at this beautiful little baby like he was a screaming alien. I honestly felt like my body was rejecting me transitioning to motherhood. I was a mess.
We’re starting to get the hang of it a little more each day. Our son is a beautiful and wonderful addition to our family, but everything I read before he came along, all the advice I got, I ended up throwing it out the window. At this point the playing field is even. Whether you adopted a baby or carried that child in your own body, when that baby comes along, they have a mind of their own. In our short time of preparing we knew what the best baby bottles were for preventing colic and gas and started a small stock pile… he would not drink from ONE of them. He would only take the cheap ones that clog and give him tummy issues. We now have the "baby bottle graveyard" taking up an entire cupboard in our house. That fancy pack-n-play/portable crib I spent months researching even before we got the call? He would not sleep in it, not even for five minutes. It doesn’t matter how you started your family, being a parent is brutal those first few weeks (or months… umm… definitely still brutal for me some days).
It’s all about survival. No one knows what they’re doing - no one has it all together - and I definitely have spit up down my shirt and mascara under my eyes 99% of the time, despite how I look with full makeup on holding my baby in my profile pic. We’re all wandering around looking for answers and making decisions with trial and error, or reading all the parenting books we can while our child silently mocks us because they don’t care how page 73 says that they should have 10 minutes of tummy time - they’re only doing 30 seconds. In the end though, when I change into my second pair of pajamas for the night and baby is asleep after I put him down four times in 30 minutes, I’m grateful for the crazy journey we’ve been on and the miracle that is adoption and being a parent. I wouldn’t trade our experience for the easiest pregnancy in the world. For those of you trying to get pregnant facing another negative this cycle, know that you have a sisterhood surrounding you. You’re not alone and you’re not broken, and it’s not your fault. Be kind to yourself, and do your best to make the most of your year struggling with infertility. We traveled a lot, and had a lot of wonderful adventures together, which helped turn grief into something positive. I’m grateful for all the years we had together to see the world before Marcus came along. For those looking for answers on their next step towards starting a family, I can say that adoption is a wonderful option. I have not given up on the dream of carrying a child in my own body. I understand adoption isn’t the path for everyone, but it’s definitely not giving up on your dreams of becoming pregnant either. It’s just putting that dream on hold. This is the path we chose for our first child and it was a beautiful one. So if you’re curious about adoption ask questions to those you know who have gone through the experience (like me, I never shut up about our adoption). You never know the miracles waiting for you in time, it could be a year down the road, or 28 days away.
I think we can all agree that was fantastic. Thank you again, Katelyn, for being willing to share your story and for being so real about motherhood and your experience. It is difficult and tough, but you can do hard things - especially when you have a community surrounding you. Are you struggling with infertility? Have you adopted or are you waiting to adopt? Comment below with your experiences - we would love to hear all of them! #rawmotherhood Katelyn gave me permission to share her email in case any of you have questions about adoption and would like to contact her! You can contact Katelyn at firstname.lastname@example.org with anything you may have. She is truly an amazing woman and a great resource!