I was just with an adoptive mom this morning helping her with her newborn girls. We were discussing the similarities between the emotional and physical toll of delivering a baby and having that new baby at home, and of adopting a baby and having that new baby at home. Our conclusion- it's not much different!
When I was carrying around our newly adopted daughter, I heard comments like this, "Must be nice to have a baby and not have to do all the hard work." Now, I'm not knocking the fact that carrying a baby for 9 months, along with labor and delivery is exhausting. I've done it three times! I am simply writing for all of you new adoptive moms or soon-to-be adoptive moms to let you know you're not crazy if you feel exhausted, overwhelmed, and emotional after bringing your baby home.
Adoption is labor. It is a labor of the heart. You wait, you carry a child in your heart, deep in your emotions, sometimes for months! It is an emotional roller coaster many times, and it is tough on the heart. It is physically challenging as well, the paperwork, hours of writing, and running here and there to gather all that is needed for your home study, applications and so forth takes its toll. We sometimes tell couples, "Your paperwork pregnant now!" The adoption process is a a labor of love- it is a deep, incredible experience that I wouldn't trade for anything!
There is many times an initial emotional reaction to a child you are about to adopt (speaking mostly to mom's at the moment) that I honestly believe causes a hormonal shift in your body. I can't document this scientifically, and I could do some research I guess, but that's not the point of what I am writing. I know from the experiences of both natural birth and adoptive birth that the impact was much the same on my emotions!
Finally, there is the practical issue of sleep-deprivation. This impacts an adoptive couple no differently that any other couple with a new born at home! Adoptive mom's often get remarks like this, "Wow, you look great, you're still in the same jeans!" I always thought, "Yeah, my jean size is still the same, but I'm not getting any solid sleep, my emotions have been on a roller coaster, and I'm worn out. The size of my jeans has nothing to do with how I am doing!"
So to all you soon-to-be adoptive families or new adoptive families out there, much grace and strength to you today! May your journey be blessed and full of joy. Know that it is a labor of love, one that will be richly rewarded.
I welcome comments from adoptive moms and dads that might help or encourage another adoptive couple!