Thursday, December 18, 2008

THe Adoption Class

This class was amazing!!

When we walked in the door there was about 8 couples sitting around in a circle, the lady teaching the class was sitting in the front chatting with one of the couples. We signed in and picked up our packet. A 2 inch stack of articles with the top one boldly stating "Parenting".

When we sat down I scanned the room and quickly realized we were the youngest couple there (maybe birth moms like young) everyone looked nice and was quietly talking with their spouse. My husband tried to break the awkward silence with a joking comment about the huge packet, and if anyone had tempted to look through it yet. Well that fell flat! (they are not funny, we are funny, birthmoms like funny) A few glanced up but quickly returned to their own conversations. (who wants unsocial people to parent their child)

The class started with a round of introductions, Hi I am the husband and this is my wife and this is our 2nd class, we are adopting because our equipment doesnt work yada yada. Until one couple mentioned that they were a little distracted because they met with a birthmother that afternoon!! Everyone's ears perked up then and flung the questions, "what did she ask?", "what was she like?", "Did you feel the Connection". They kindly debriefed with us a little but you could tell that they were completely overwhelmed and still processing the day.

The next sections is where the magic happened! An adoptive mother and three of her 6 (Holy Cow!) adoptive children came to speak with us. It was so eye opening to hear these girls talk about their lives and their journey, and to hear their mom tell us about the relationships she had or didn't have with their birth families. Honestly I was and still am completely overwhelmed and still processing all the information. But here are a few things that I learned.

1. I can do this.
The mom that was there sharing with us was no Martha Stuart. She was ruff around the edges normal old mom. and the girls were so well adjusted and had a confidence in who they were. They talked so naturally about their adoption. There was a lot of humor and sarcasm used as they described their situations. It was amazing. It was so empowering to see a normal women just like me have such a successful story! It made me realize that with a lot of love and good parenting that We can do this and have happy normal children who wont resent us for the rest of their lives.

2. Where Facts Flounder, Fantasy Flourishes.
They said that most kids make up a story as to why they were adopted. Some are putting themselves to blame and some are fantasy tales of arriving on the back of a dragon. The point is the more information you can give a child as to their history the less they will have to make it up. Confidence in who they are and who you are is everything, this is what will allow them to be comfortable with their being adopted. The girl that was adopted from Birth had always just known that she was adopted it was talked about often and there was never a sit down day to tell you about your secretive past. This makes sense. And they make great books called "Lifebooks" to help with it. More on that later!

3. Ways to talk about adoption that make sense to a child.
Just listening to the mom and girls talk about adoption was so helpful. Sometimes I just dont know how to describe it or what the proper way to say stuff is. The mom told her children that while they were growing in their birthmom's tummy that they were growing in their heart. How sweet is that! Another one: She told her son that his birthmom could be that his birthmom but she knew that she couldnt be his everyday mommy and so she came and found her to be his everyday mommy. How respectful and loving towards the birthmom! Totally keeping these ones in the arsinal.

4. People will say stupid stuff but with a little humor and sarcasm you will make it through.
Those girls had so much fun messing with people! The older girl was Hispanic and she told a story about how she was looking for her mom in the stands one day after band practice. A friend came over and said oh I bet I could pick her out. Her response, Sure go ahead and try! After her friend pointed to every Hispanic women in the crowd, she proudly pointed out her mom, the short blond on the front row. The whole story was told with laughter. There were stories about explaining to people they were sisters, and people asking the mom about the dad and what he looked like, and every kind of stupid question you could think of. Each response was sarcastic and funny, and made the situation light hearted.

There is a ton more but again I am still processing. Our next class is in January, many of the same couples will be there, maybe they will talk more next time. Maybe I will feel more comfortable next time, and less judgmental (probably not).

Hubbs and I leave tomorrow to go and visit family for Christmas. I will be in and out but hopefully not completely silent. It will be good (I hope) to see family but we will definitely need your prayers and strength. There will be lots of adoption and baby conversations, so pray that we will be able to utilize the humor and sarcasm trick well.


B MoM said...

yay!!!! Glad to hear it went well, and I appreciate your informative blog. I do not know if adoption is in my life path (as of yet), but am glad to know that it is doable and that there are classes out there to help adoptive parents adjust with the awkward situations that could arise. I'm so happy that things are going well for you. I hope to hear that you continue to have good reports and will be matched with a birthmom soon.

Katy Lin :) said...

ooo! i'm glad that it went well and was encouraging! thanks for the info, too! adoption has really been on my heart lately and hubby and i have been seriously discussing it - this post was very encouraging for me as well! :)

s.e. said...

You also helped me with this post. I have much anxiety about starting the process and the "first" meeting. I appreciate you sharing the details both intimidating and rewarding.

Enjoy celebrating the holidays!

Dreamer4agift said...

I'm so glad to hear that you're enjoying the info being piled on you:-) And I can't wait to watch for more of your journey unfold!

Have a great Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Hi! Linked here through cracked me up with your side notes, I remember feeling the exact same way. I HAVE heard that birth moms do prefer younger couples because they *think* that they will have more energy :) I don't know if that's true, but I've heard it. Anecdotally, younger couples and couples that already have a kid or two get chosen more quickly (if the firstmom wants her baby to have siblings). It's sad that the other couples weren't more friendly, but they probably were thinking of you as "the competition." I wasn't able to think nice thoughts about the other waiting families in our agency until after we were matched! In fact, I remember about exactly a year ago checking our agency website and seeing 3 new families there and throwing a fit about it. :) Best of luck to you, sounds like the class had lots of great info!

In Due Time said...

Glad the class was amazing!

I hope y'all have a Merry Christmas and happy new year!


Andrea said...

How exciting! The mom & her kids sound just amazing. How cool to get to hear their experiences. Good luck with the adoption process!!!


Celia said...

I was so glad to read this. Thank you.

White Picket Fences said...

Here from ICLW ..

So glad to read that you had a reassuring class ...good luck with all things wonderful in 2009!

Mama Bear said...

sounds like an awesome experience and an awesome family you got to meet - good luck on your adoption journey!

Annie said...

also here from ICLW. This was really interesting, and so great that they had this family come in to talk to the class. It has to be reassuring to hear these positive stories and get a glimpse into how it worked out for them. Wishing you luck and joy in your journey!

Kara said...

Congrats and glad to hear things are going well. You are one step closer to becoming a parent.

Hope your holiday is great!

Beautiful Mess said...

That class sounds perfect! I hope your next one goes better. Enjoy your family Christmas as best you can!
Sending prayers your way for lots of peace.

WiseGuy said...

I am so glad that you had such a wonderful session that brought on so much learning! All the best to you!

ICLW Trippin'!

emilythehopeless said...

wow that class sounds amazing! good luck!!


Cara said...

I love learning about other journies to parenthood. Your description was so eye-opening. Thanks for sharing and good luck!


Seriously? - Erin said...

I am so happy to hear the adoption class went well. If I was a birth mohter I would want a young, funny, social couple.

I would pick you!


littleangelkisses said...

I'm glad the class went well! Your comments are great...I bet they do like young, funny and social! Good for you:)

Kristin said...

I am glad to hear the class went so very well. I love the way that family dealt with the stupid questions with humor. Good luck with all your future classes.