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"I never expected to feel this way"

“I never expected to feel this way”

This is one of the most common statements we hear in the wake of an adoption placement and throughout the adoption journey.

Throughout the adoption process we prepare our families for almost everything. On the Expectant Parent side we walk them through the matching process and ensure they have access to good medical care. We discuss the hospital stay, their birth plan and what kind of relationship they hope to have with their child’s intended adoptive family. We complete paperwork and talk to attorneys and ensure they have a full understanding of all of their options. The potential adoptive families do countless amounts of paperwork, adoption trainings and child care trainings before they are considered “active”. We walk them through the home study process, the matching process, placement and finalization. Of course a lot of it is in maybe’s, if’s, and usually’s. No two placements are exactly alike and that is because no two human beings are exactly alike. Everyone handles and processes things differently.

However, they all have one thing common. A phrase that always comes in the emotional and physical wake of a placement “I never expected to feel this way”. This comes from the now birthed parent who planned and emotionally prepared for this day for months. They thought they were ready, but now it feels different. The child is here, they have their father’s nose and their mother’s eyes, they look just like their older sibling. It changes everything for them. It could make it easier, knowing they did everything they could to bring this child into the world safely. However, more often than not, it makes the entire process and their decision that much harder.

This also comes from the Adoptive Family who is feeling joy and elation at becoming parents for the first time or meeting their child’s new sibling. They have prepared for this child and loved this child and their first family since the match began. They are finally at the end of the road of something they have prepared, hoped and dreamed for. They expected to love this child in time, but even that sudden all-encompassing love can be a shock. What they did not expect to feel is the great sorrow for the individuals that made them parents. When they see their child’s first mother struggle to walk because she is still recovering. When they watch her hold her child and cry because she knows it will be the last time for a while that she will be able to do so. They feel that so deeply. When they look in their child’s eyes they will always see their first family. They know the pain of losing a child because in a lot of cases they have felt it too. As they say see you later to their child’s first family they know that first family is also saying see you later to the child they grew, nurtured, and loved.

Adoption is a mixture of joy and sorrow. Both sides feel it all. Of course the scales are tipped. One side is losing a child and one side is gaining a child. Both sides are gaining more family and more people to wrap in love. Adoption is hard. If you are currently navigating this process or are supporting someone who is, BE KIND. Be kind to others and be kind to yourself, because you never know what emotions the adoption journey will manifest.

*The sentiments and policies expressed in this blog represent Cradle of Life Staff and/or Clients and do not necessarily reflect the sentiments or policies of all adoption agencies.