Amy’s oldest daughter
Today, we here at The Baby Cubby wanted to highlight Adoption Awareness Month which has been all of this November! We are so lucky to have interview Amy with Liv And Hope! She is an amazing mom who started a t-shirt line to help fund her adoptions and also helps other family's who are trying to adopt but aren't able to due to the financial burden! How cool is that?! She is literally one of the kindest people I have ever had the pleasure of working with, and I cannot wait for you to read her tips and advice on the adoption process. Enjoy!
I get asked this question all the time, and to be honest it's so very personal to the adoptive couple and I don't know if there is a magic answer. Typically at this point most couples have been through years of fertility treatments, drained bank accounts, and hearts holding on to any glimmer of hope. I believe you have to look at from the perspective of "are you ready to be parents and love a child?" We all know there isn't a handbook that comes with parenting, and the same is true with adoption. Every scenario, every couple, every birth parent has a different story and situation that crosses the path of adoption. You and your partner will know it's the right time when it's right for YOU! Not because you just have to have a baby, or because your sister in law is pregnant and you are not, it will feel right and be right for the two of you! I think ultimately you will know the time is right when your heart tells you yes, even as scary as the unknown is.
- This is your child! You will love this child more than you ever knew possible. Yes he/she may have come to you through adoption but that doesn't mean this isn't your child. Things happen as they should.
- You will deal with a lot of highs and lows on your way to making a dream a reality. You may wait for months or years before being matched with an birth parent or child. You will face intense scrutiny, fill out piles of paperwork, spend thousands of dollars, and feel like your life is being looked over with a red marker. It's a difficult process, and it doesn't end when you bring your child home. But of course it will all be worth it when you have your child. During the process of adoption try and live your life, don't put your life on hold! Enjoy the time with your spouse because you never know when you when there will be 3 of you!
- Some people will treat you like you are not a real family. Some people are just silly! (or insert your own word). People will say things, assume things, that may be hurtful. But don't let that get you down. What matters is how much you love your child and they love you! Look at all the wonderful things around you, people supporting you, people who will love your child, family and friends excited for you to bring a child into your home. What matters is how you feel and what happens within the walls of your home.
- Expect some things to not go as planned. This shouldn't come to a surprise to you at this point, but ...... sometimes in life things don't go as planned! We aren't in control, (as much as we would like to be). I am not comparing adoption to some of life's obstacles like planning a wedding, building a house, a new job, etc but I kind of am! As you have gone through those times, you have hit road blocks, had unexpected things come up, and even been upset with how things may have turned out. But you got through it right? Adoption is the same way, you may get a heartbreaking phone call, but that doesn't mean that the "best phone call" won't happen. You may be angry that you can't carry your own child, but that doesn't mean that one day you won't be sitting in your nursery at 2am feeding your baby one day. We are strong people to go through this, but that doesn't mean we can't be weak at times.
As family and friends learn that couples are looking to adopt many haven't ever experienced it before. They may have known someone, but it may not have been someone so close to them. There are many ways you can help adoptive families during this time, but wanting to help, looking for help, and learning how to help is step #1. So congrats on being awesome because you are here looking for ways to help them!
- Be supportive Emotionally, Physically, and Spiritually. So many ways to help and you know your friends and family better than anyone. But with that being said, the adoptive families are going into this blindly as well. Even if adoptive families have previously adopted, every situation is different. So they are scared as well. The best thing you can do is just be there for them. Emotionally - it's ok to not have all the right things to say, just be there for them. Sometimes just listening and REALLY listening is all they need. Knowing they have a support team is what can get them through it all. Physically - sometimes its just dropping something by to let them know your thinking of them. It can be helping them get ready for their home study by dropping off dinner so they can have time to clean the house. We all know what it's like to just know that someone is THERE! Spiritually - PRAY for them. Literally get on your knees and pray for them. Sometimes spiritual strength for couples is low at certain points of the adoption process, because they may be mad, or frustrated. So pray for them that they will feel peace, and that they will and can have the strength to go through this.
- Learn to the proper terms and things NOT to say! Couples looking to adopt already are aware that their children will know come to them a different path than they planned. Things people say sometimes make that awkward, inappropriate, etc. Here are a couple things NEVER TO SAY to adoptive couples.
- Aren't you glad you didn't have to give birth to your child?
- Is that "your" child"?
- Where is he/she from?
- That's so sweet, we've always thought it would be fun to adopt.
- He/She's so lucky.
Terms to Avoid Preferred Terms
Real Parents Birth Parents, birth mom, birthdate
Real Children, Natural Children Biological Children
Give up Place for adoption
Keep the child Choose to parent
Adopted Child Child
- Most people, when they inquire about your children, really do have good intentions. Some are just curious. Some are considering adoption. Some have already adopted. Some are soon to be grandparents through adoption. Many times they are innocently curious children. Be kind. Give them the benefit of the doubt when they are asking questions — until they have proven that their intentions are not good. But parents please teach your kids about adoption!
- You are just like every other parent! You are trying to figure it all out just like every other parent. There will be emotional hurdles yes you will need to prepare yourself for. Questions your child will ask. Things other children will say that are hurtful to your child. But you've got this!! You're their mom and dad. You love them, you research, you work through it together just like every other parent has to. But the good will outweigh the bad! You will laugh, and cry, and laugh again with your kids.
- It may take time to feel connected and bonded. I know GASP right! This is something I wasn't prepared for when we adopted our first child. It wasn't talked about, clearly it was something we wondering about prior to but you never know. It is very sensitive and their isn't a magic answer to this. In adoption there are all different time frames that happen. Our first daughter we had 24 HOURS to prepare before we met her. With out second daughter we had a few weeks before she was born. But it isn't like we have the privilege to feel that connection during pregnancy. Don't feel guilty if you don't have that strong connection at first. It will take time, bonding takes time. With that being said, don't underestimate those special moments you will have with your child. If you look at them as your child and nothing else your love will be endless and they will know that as well.
- People will approach you and feel inclined to ask you questions. This is a beautiful thing, and like I mentioned before most people have wonderful intentions and mean no harm. It's unfamiliar territory to some people and they just don't know what to say. But with that being said, you have every right as a parent of your child to hand it how you would like and don't feel guilty for not telling a stranger your adoption story. Not everyone needs to know all the details. I get asked all the time different questions, and sometimes it depends on the mood I'm in honestly and I sometimes will base my answer off how I feel the sincerity of someone asking. People feel inclined to ask questions about adoptive children that they would probably never ask to someone who had given birth to their child. Give them the benefit of the doubt and take this opportunity to show them the how beautiful adoption is.
- ENJOY IT! You've waiting for this day for years! Don't feel guilty if someone wants to bring you a meal, even though you aren't in complete physical pain from giving birth. You are a parent and deserve to be treated like everyone else. You've been through emotional, physical, and spiritual pain as well.
I think you will know that adoption is right for you when you can ask yourself some very difficult questions and feel a sense of peace and be comfortable with them. It doesn't mean it's going to be easy or that you have to know exactly how to feel all the time. You are allowed to have good days and some bad.
Some things to consider before adopting.
- My partner and I are on the same page about this?
- How do you feel when you meet adoptive families and children?
- How comfortable do you feel raising a child who may not look like you, be of a different race, etc?
You may be unsure about questions you have to ask yourself and that's ok. Most times in life you won't know exactly how your going to react to a situation until it's right in front of you. But you need to be somewhat comfortable with some issues that come along with adoption. You are strong enough to do this!
Don't give up! You have to have just that "hope"! The definition of hope is: a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen! Sometimes that's all you have to rely on, and some days you may doubt but don't give up. Write down your thoughts during this time, surround yourself with your support system and meet others who have adopted or looking to adopt. They will understand exactly how you are feeling. Remember that good things take time.
Well, we hope you enjoyed all of that and that it helps you on your journey of adoption! For more stories on adoption and help along the way, follow Amy's blog "Liv and Hope." She does everything from highlighting family's in the adoption process to including you on her parenting and adoption journey. Trust me, you won't be disappointed!
Farewell Superhero's! And have a lovely weekend!