The women who help form the lives of adopted children.
- By Melissa Overbeck
When I think of nesting, I am reminded of a more traditional “nine months” of preparing to bring a child into your home. For adoptive parents, I call it “extreme nesting.” The timelines are so unpredictable! Foster parents may have only hours notice, or international adoptive parents (like us), might have YEARS!
When we initially signed up for our adoption, we were very well prepped that it can take a very long time. WACAP (or agency) has a “family day” that is required, where adoptive parents attend a full day of “what to expect”. They didn’t sugar coat ANYTHING! After that session, my initial thought was “Wow. They are really explaining the worst case scenarios.” Or maybe they were just being realistic, and my optimistic-mind took it as “worst case scenario”. For example, they said if you would like to adopt a brand new healthy infant – be ok with the idea that it could take 5 or even 10 years to be matched!!! For example, they brought in an adoptive Mother who shared her story about her adopted daughter’s behavior and how she handled her anger and frustration from being pulled from her family. For example, your adoptive child might not like you, and you might not like them.
I wonder how many families proceed with the paperwork after attending that class. Adoption is a beautiful thing, but it’s not always sunshine & daisies. Every single child that needs a Foster or Adoptive family is available, because they have experienced significant loss in their young lives. I believe that every child deserves a family.
Going into the adoption process, I knew it would be hard. I knew it would be taking a giant leap. I knew it would be worth it.
So far, on my personal adoption journey, my biggest surprise has been how well taken care of my little boy is in Taiwan. We chose the Taiwan program because my husband’s Mom is from Taiwan, and I loved the idea of raising him with a close connection to his birth-culture. I did not know that it was the most expensive & had the most regulations. However, I was determined to proceed. We had the opportunity to go to Taiwan and meet our little boy, even though the adoption hadn’t been approved yet. They like the adoptive parents to meet the child on a first visit, and then come back again after the adoption is approved. They do this to benefit the children. They wanted us to get to know each other. We got to meet our little guy 7 months after we were matched – when he was about 18 months old. We were nervous to meet him, but when we did, it was very natural. He liked us! And we liked him!
He lives in a “Babies Home”, which is basically an orphanage, but only for children under 2 years old. After the children are 2, if they haven’t been adopted yet, they will go into Foster care in Taiwan. The facility and the staff were amazing! The kids are so well taken care of and there was a lot of love. Their basic needs are taken care of by a large staff of cheerful nannies & they are sent to specialists for any developmental care that they need. When we visited, we got to attend our son’s occupational & physical therapy appointments. Since they don’t have as much one-on-one care like they would with parents, they send the kids to specialists. It was truly incredible. We got to see him work on fine motor skills like dropping coins into a jar as well as walking on an obstacle course to help with his balance while walking. When we went to the appointment, we were accompanied by 2 nannies, a social worker, and a translator. We were ALL his “cheerleaders” as he completed his tasks. Looking at these women who help raise these babies made me feel so proud. They loved my son. That was the moment where it all came together for me. My son has had “Many Mommies” and I plan to honor them and make sure he know how many “Mommies” (including his birth-Mother) love him and want the best life for him which will lead him to ME! How did I get so lucky?
When it was time to go home & return to our lives, I asked myself “how am I supposed to do that?” I really felt lost & had no idea how I could be without him. The day that we left, I felt at peace that he is where he needs to be in this time, and I need to go home where I need to be in this time. So we went home…. and we waited. With the Holiday’s approaching, I felt very sad. The Holiday season is always so magical and I had visions of what our first Christmas together would look it. I had to accept that this was NOT the year that we’d get to experience those moments. It was very hard for me. I LOVE Christmas! I had to get over myself and re-focus my energy on the beauty that this Christmas had to offer. It was my last Christmas with my husband as a family of two! It was my last Christmas where my nieces & nephews would have my full attention. It was my last Christmas as “mine.” My family & friends are amazing, and we did have a wonderful Holiday, but to be completely honest, it was difficult.
Our adoption has been approved, but we’re still waiting on the timeline & travel dates to go back to finalize the adoption. It’s been almost 3 YEARS since we started on this journey. Seriously, it’s been a LONG TIME. As I prepare over & over & over again, it’s my way of staying connected to him. Yes, his bedroom is ready. Yes, his playroom is ready. Of course, yes, his wardrobe is ready. I have been nesting.
I really wanted to share this story, because I want to recognize the emotions that come along with adoption and in general, the emotions that come along with following a dream! When you want to do something BIG, you have to stay focused. I have been very open sharing our experience, but I haven’t been as open about the ups and downs. The waiting is very hard. I received some new photos today and I cried, because he looks so grown up. I am so proud of him and so happy, but I feel sad that I am missing milestones in his life. They are really great about sharing updates about his daily life. His personality is starting to show up & he is growing from a baby to a little boy. For example, they said that he likes to dance to Christmas music, is stubborn, comforted a crying peer, is starting to speak Chinese, and loves to ask an adult for a “hold up.” I know that his character is being developed and it’s so beautiful to learn about who he is becoming. I look forward to the day where I can report back to his “Many Mommies” on who he becomes.