5 Things Adoptive Parents Should Be Thankful For This Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

The economy is on the ropes, the Arab Spring is starting to feel the winter chill, and the tabloids have already spent 22+ days talking about Kim Kardashian’s 72-day marriage. Still, there’s lots to be thankful for.

If you’ve recently adopted a baby through open adoption, that’s probably at the top of your list. That, and the fact that you don’t have to worry about all those things you used to worry about when you were trying to adopt. Just in case you’ve forgotten them (baby brain will do that to you), here are five things every new adoptive parent should be grateful for this Thanksgiving.

1. People can say whatever they want about your adoption plans — and you don’t have to care any more. 

You’ve probably heard them before. Lots of times. “Just wait. After you adopt, you’ll get pregnant.” “You sure you know what you’re getting yourself into?” “But what happens if his real mother decides to take him back?”

Kids say the funniest things. Adults, too. Especially when open adoption is involved. Well, the good news is next time someone offers you their unsolicited advice about your decision to adopt or tries to talk you out of it, you don’t have to get upset any more.

But get those comeback lines ready. The bad news is a new set of questions and comments (“So how much did she cost?”) are about to take their place. Don’t despair. You’ve been through it before. You’ll get through it again.

2. You don’t have to jump every time the phone rings.

Ever since you gave your agency a copy of your parent profile to show to prospective birth parents and were told to sit back and wait, you did everything you could to make a match happen. Everything, that is, except sit back and wait.

Instead, you became a nervous wreak. All you could think about was when were you going to get the call. Or rather “The Call.” You were so worried about missing it than you never stayed on the phone for more than a few minutes. And whenever the phone did ring, your heart rate would quicken to the point where you seriously questioned whether you had a cardiac arrest.

Well, now you can finally sit back and relax. The phone can ring all it wants. After all, you’re too busy to answer it. And besides, it’s probably just one of those telemarketers from before anyway.

3. You don’t have to find a nice way of asking your adoption worker why you haven’t heard from her.

There are only so many times, and so many ways, you can call your adoption worker to ask why you haven’t gotten any responses to your parent profile. And chances are, you’ve tried them all.

  • “Hi, I’m just calling to let you know we’re going out of town next weekend, just in case you need to get in touch with us.”
  • “Hi, I’m just calling to see if you need anything else from us to show to prospective birth parents.”
  • “Hi, the phone just rang and I wanted to make sure it wasn’t you.”

Being on your adoption worker’s radar is important. When you don’t hear from her for a long time, it’s only natural to wonder what’s happening. If anything is happening at all. Does she still have your file? Does she remember who you are?

In your more generous moments, you come up with all kinds of scenarios to explain her lack of communication. Maybe she’s on an extended holiday. Maybe she’s ill. Maybe she had an accident. In  the end, you give her the benefit of the doubt. Because, the truth is, you don’t know. And now, with the baby to look after, you don’t care.

4. You can shop ’til you drop.

From the moment you saw that Bugaboo Donkey stroller on sale last summer, you knew you just had to have it. But a voice inside said, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” And then you remembered the story about the couple your adoption worker told you about.

You know the ones who went out and furnished their entire nursery while they were waiting to adopt, only to wait another five years for their baby to arrive. You don’t want to be them. You don’t want to jinx yourself. So while all the other new mothers were showing off their new strollers, you watched in polite silence .

Now it’s time to reward yourself. And with Black Friday tomorrow, there’s never been a better time to do it. Now when you walk by that Baby “R” Us store, you don’t have to keep your eyes peeled to the ground and just keep walking. You can make a beeline to the stroller section and max out on your credit card. But don’t overdo it. You still have to set aside a few dollars for college.

5. No more waiting.

There are a lot of things you’ll miss from your pre-parenting days. But the wait isn’t one of them. The wait to

  • start your adoption classes
  • get your adoption worker assigned
  • get our home study done
  • get your parent profile finished
  • get matched with prospective birth parents.

But now that the baby is sleeping peacefully in the next room, all that waiting suddenly seems like it was, well, worthwhile. Plus, think of it as good practice for parenthood.

You think waiting to adopt was hard? Just wait a few years down the road when you’re trying to get out the door and your daughter wants to stay behind to play with her bowl of cereal. Waiting? You ain’t seen nothing yet.

Now it’s your turn. What part of your adoption journey are you grateful for? Is there anything you’ll miss? What advice do you have for others who are trying to adopt? Leave your comments in the section below.

(Photo: amorphes ding)