Elephant pregnancy

A. & I had an amazing experience at our home study seminar on the property of the Peal S. Buck Foundation, an historic farmhouse in the midst of farmland not too far from Quakertown. We also had the opportunity to tour Pearl S. Buck's original home and see the desk where she created many of her literary pieces, & we saw many family photos. She was so ahead of her time in terms of living out her belief in globalism. A. & I were grateful to have our choice of PSB as our adoption agency affirmed.

We spent the entire day with three other couples, who plan to adopt from Korea and Nepal. The home study group was diverse. One couple already had two young daughters, the wife was South Asian, and they were adopting from Nepal; in the other couple the husband was Korean, his wife was White, and they were adopting from Korea. And the third couple, probably the one that A. & I will keep in touch with . . . he was Portuguese, had a pacemaker since he was 19 when he suffered from heart failure (he's fine now, a successful restaranteur), and his wife was White, a middle-school science teacher, they're planning to adopt from Nepal. And how could I forget the single mom-to-be adopting from Costa Rica? I would guess that the age range of adoptive parents in the room was anywhere from 27 through early 40s. A. & I were representative of the older folks. Our faciliators were an adoptive parent and adoption program coordinator -- thankfully, H., who happens to be coordinating all of the families applying to the Philippines.

Our adoption journey is our elephant pregnancy. The metaphor speaks for itself. An enormous undertaking . . . One of the groundrules to sharing the day with our fellow adoptive families was not sharing any information about our jobs, and discussing infertility issues was ruled out as those are such personal issues. I have to admit, there were a number of times throughout the day when I was overwhelmed either by our parent facilitator's stories of her & her husband's own adoption journey from Korea (her daughter's now 24) or wondering how A. was feeling & reacting to discusison topics such as attachment or parenting those initial months and getting to know our child when we bring her/him home. And when infertility issues did arise, it was heartbreaking to see how the other women in the group reacted. It was obvious that they'd spent a good amount of funding on unsuccessful infertility methods. While I know that I chose not to go down the route of infertility treatments, there's something about being a woman, knowing that becoming pregnant just isn't happening at the moment and having to think about my inability to give birth . . . being pregnant just may never happen . . . so heavily wrought with all kinds of emotion.

Another meaningful affirmation was, all this money we're spending is not for the cost of our child. We are not paying for our child. A child is not an economic commodity. We're paying for all of the administrative and government fees associated with facilitating a successful adoption process. Much to my surprise, we also learned that the adoption tax credit may no longer be offered, so I need to write our Congress people immediately about not doing away with that tax credit! (And if you're reading this, perhaps you might consider doing the same too?) And how ironic it is that A. & I are required to attend a parenting seminar, which should maybe be mandatory for all parents. As for dealing with awkward questions or unwelcome advice from extended family, I realized, it's okay to be private about our adoption journey as much as I want all of our extended family to be supportive too. And it's okay to be direct with them about either not wanting to answer their questions or telling them we're happy to discuss their concerns at another time . . . or even coming up with some poignantly humorous responses to gently put them in their place. Many times, I wish my Dad were still with us as I know how excited and supportive he would be.

This adoption journey is ours, & this time is precious . . . A. & I are allowed to be alone & enjoy our moments along the way.

I know that the day was worthwhile for A. & me individually as parents, but also as a couple. It was of tremendous support to be in a room with others who are on a similar journey and to discuss our concerns with the PSB staff who've only been names on email & voices on the phone for the past three months. After the seminar, A. & I decided to celebrate our homestudy milesone (finally begining the homestudy process!) with dinner at a Spanish restaurant as we processed our entire day. We cleared the air on . . . A. thought that I much prefer adoption over pregnancy which isn't the case at all as I don't prefer one over the other. I reassured him, I'd welcome pregnancy if we were blessed in that way whenever it happens . . . Now that we've begun the adoption process, I wouldn't want to halt something that we'd already begun. Once I've set my mind to something happening, it needs to happen! More importantly, if we were to become pregnant during the adoption process, I wouldn't want us to not carry through with the adoption at all just because we were having a biological child. A. & I agreed, we would lovingly continue with the adoption if that were to happen.

Here's to our elephant pregnancy & great expectations.

2.54pm -- Just received confirmation via email that our completed application will be reviewed by the Adoption Coordinator, and a copy of our file will be made for the social worker, so that we can start the home study process. That makes two milestones in one week. I radiate with gratitude.