Reflections on Being Matched

I think many adoptive families {including me} look to the matching stage as the final stage in the adoption process. We wait all this time, some longer than others, and when we’re finally matched, we celebrate and let out a sigh of relief. But that feeling of relief does not last long. I honestly thought once we were matched, the anxiousness would subside because at least the next step would be illuminated for us. But the matching process brings about a whole new set of anxieties and worries.

I honestly had no idea how heartbreaking and emotionally insane the matching process would be. I thought it would be smooth sailing from here, but I am here to tell you all that life does NOT get easier once you are matched, my friends!

I’m pretty sure over the past week I’ve turned into the most obnoxious person on the planet to my adoption director. She probably cringes when the phone rings and it’s me with a new question, fear, worry, or obsession. Last week she told me that if they had casual information to give me regarding our birthmother or our match, she would text or email me, but if the phone rang, I should know it was something more serious that required discussion. So when the phone rang earlier today and it was her ringtone, it took every ounce of personal control to not wet myself due to worry. Things were okay, by the way. There was just something to discuss.

One second I’m elated and all I want to do is wash baby clothes and make cloth diapers, and the next second I’m crying and putting everything away out of sight because I can’t bear the thought that a baby of mine might not actually wear those clothes. It’s so painful to even think of, I can’t bring myself to look at anything baby related when I’m feeling worried.

Seeing Little run around the dining room this morning shouting, “Baby sister! Baby sister! Baby sister!” makes me want to run up and join him in his excited chanting, but moments later the reality of the situation hits me like a ton of bricks and I’m drenched in the guilt of knowing it isn’t for sure yet. Anything could still happen, and he may not get that baby sister. Then I’m actually physically sick from the thought that my actions or words might cause my sweet boy disappointment and confusion. I’m grabbing up baby clothes like a maniac and throwing them back in the drawer, locking up that dream and wishing her name wasn’t floating in the air around our house. All out of a desire to guard his heart in ways I can no longer guard my own.

I announce that I’m going to spend the day sewing baby quilts and cloth diapers, but an hour later I’m terrified that a placement won’t happen, and I can’t seem to get my sewing machine put away fast enough. I feel like I’m going crazy in ways I never did before we were matched. I guess I’m just as crazy as I was then, but this feels so much more roller-coastery. Is that a legitimate word?

They don’t tell you this part. I think so many adoptive parents view getting matched as the end of the process. Probably because we’d rather not think that the expectant mother could change her mind. In my head, I beg God to not let that happen. I find myself constantly asking my adoption coordinator, “Does this seem like a red flag to you?” Every little decision she makes, everything I hear about her, I want to ask if this is a bad thing. Because really, I don’t have any clue what is a good thing and what is a bad thing.

I don’t know what’s common with birthmothers, and I don’t know what would cause my adoption coordinator to feel concerned. I know she’s seen a lot of things and dealt with a lot of things before, so I don’t know what would cause her to worry. I do know if she’s worried then I should be worried, but it’s her job to make sure I never know when she’s worried.Β  It’s definitely for the best that I have D as a buffer between crazy me and our birthmother.

I hope and pray that Little doesn’t remember this month and a half. I hope he doesn’t look at me and see an emotional basketcase and wonder what in the world happened to his mommy. Of course, I’ve been an emotional basketcase off and on throughout this entire adoption process, so the poor thing probably just thinks this is how I am. “My mommy cries when she hears a friend is pregnant and fast forwards the TV through baby boutique commercials.” Let’s hope this leaves no lasting impression on his psyche.

Five weeks. That’s all we have. Five weeks. 37 days. I hope they pass quickly. This morning I was so happy going through all of the adorable ruffly pink and yellow clothes I’ve collected faithfully in the hopes of our Someday Baby Girl, and I cheerfully clipped the tags off of each of them and threw them in the wash with my overly priced dye-and-fragrance-free-sensitive-skin-baby-detergent. One wash cycle later and I couldn’t even bring myself to take them out of the washer and put them in the dryer. I think it was the ruffly socks that did me in. They’re pink with a lace ruffle on the cuff. I held them in my hands and imagined the warm little feet that I hope will wear them, and then my chest did this terrifying emotional heart attack thing and I had to stop.

I guess I’ll get husband to move the load into the dryer when he gets home. I suddenly became very preoccupied with catching up on homework and watching Anderson Cooper.

It’s just so hard to explain. There should be an emotional prep manual for adoptive families when they reach this stage. “Now, here is your contract to sign saying you commit to this birthmom match, and here is your emotional prep manual explaining how insane your feelings are going to be for the next few weeks or months.” I never seem to be feeling what the person I’m talking to thinks I should be feeling. That’s the worst. When I’m talking to someone who thinks I should be on cloud nine but I’m feeling like hiding in my bed and crying because I’m so scared that we won’t get this baby girl. Or when I’m thrilled and elated and the person I’m talking to is in “prepare her heart” mode and wants to lovingly remind me that this may not work out, so I need to be careful.

I guess their intentions are good, but my goodness. No one knows what it’s like to try and prepare for that letdown unless you’ve been in this position. There truly is NO preparing for it. That’s why I’m so scared of it. I’m scared of the debilitating disappointment, of explaining to Little that Baby Sister isn’t happening right now, of putting away all of those pink and yellow baby things, of driving back home without a baby, of coming home to my church and friends and telling them it didn’t happen. I know they love us and just want to keep us grounded until she’s actually in our arms, but there’s no way to be ready for that. And believe me, I’ve analyzed it from every angle. Just as my adoption coordinator says, it will feel like our little world is ending. But somehow it’s not.

Sometimes I think we’ve made a mistake by getting so excited over this match and going out and buying baby items that were off limits before now, but there’s nothing I can do about that. I know if I didn’t get excited and we do end up placed with her, I’ll regret not having celebrated her arrival. I guess I’d rather regret buying stuff and getting excited than regret not doing anything. See how complicated this is? I thought being matched would make things easier somehow, but it doesn’t. Things get much much more complicated now. And I guess there’s always the chance that she could change her mind and decide before she’s even born that she doesn’t want to work with us anymore. I’m telling you, the phone rings and I freak out. My stomach goes into knots, my palms get sweaty, and suddenly I’m screaming at the cat {who never makes any noise} to SHUT UP! THE PHONE IS RINGING!!! {And apparently this means your owner has to act like a psycho for a few minutes…}

In summation…Adoption is hard. Period. The wait is hard. The wait SUCKS. No other way to say it. It’s terrible. But being matched isn’t a magic remedy for all adoption-related problems either. I guess technically we are expecting a baby now, but that doesn’t mean we are guaranteed to get one on July 11th. I pray we do. Half the time I feel like an expectant parent who wants to nest and prepare, and the other half of the time I’m drowning in the terrifying “what ifs” of the situation and I want to hide in bed all day. I guess it’s just part of the journey.

Thanks for always letting me be honest.





Filed under Adoption General, Adoption Questions

7 responses to “Reflections on Being Matched

  1. Kerri

    I vote that you let yourself be vulnerable, open your heart, and embrace this moment. πŸ™‚ Celebrate and don’t worry about the what ifs! Deal with them as they come…if they should even pop up. πŸ™‚ *knowing this is easier said than done*

    • I think you’re right, Kerri. There really is nothing more I can do at this point besides just be vulnerable and allow myself to feel excited. It’s scary that you can already feel love for someone that you may never even meet, but when you get ultrasound photos and attach a name to that little person, how can you not feel connected? We had a friend over last night who suggested I push those feelings of fear aside for now. He said, “You’re 36 days out…Just enjoy this time. When you’re 2 days out or 1 day out, you can feel terrified but for now, there’s no place for it.” I’m gonna do that. πŸ™‚

  2. Nanny

    I agree with Kerri. You deserve to be crazy happy about this baby. This baby deserves for you to be carzy happy about her coming birth. Trust God that this is your baby. I’m so happy I’m all giggly. Happy for you and Trav and happy for me too!!!

  3. I love it when people are honest about how things REALLY are! We are fostering and adoption has always been a possibility, though with our current kids things are still so far up in the air I don’t know if they’ll ever come down and settle. Anyway, I really appreciated this post. The stress that goes into loving a child that is yours yet is not yours yet is intense. The fear of loss is so real, so present, so unwelcome, yet so there.

    As I was reading your comments regarding the mother of your baby, I thought of two blogs that I follow. They are both written by birthmothers who gave up their babies, and I find them both incredibly valuable in helping me see that side of the equation.

    The first is
    She was forced into the situation by her parents about nine years ago, and has struggled with it ever since. I love how honest she is. She loves her boy more than anything else in the world, but is confident that his parents are doing a fine job of raising him. She shares her journey as a birthmom and has insights that are amazing, struggles that are heart-wrenching.

    The second is
    She is only two years in to the whole adoption/ birthmother thing, but it is going awesome! The family who adopted her son basically has adopted her too, and she gets to have regular contact and be a positive role model in his life. He will never have to wonder what his mother was like – he will know her. He will never have to wonder if she loved him – she tells him she does in person and a million other ways as well. It is such a positive, happy relationship that I am confident will help her son be so well-adjusted compared to many adoptees who are left with only questions. Obviously every birthmother will not be able to maintain this type of relationship, but it does show the value of openness.

    Anyway, I know that I have found the views these women offer to be incredibly insightful, and since we all want the best thing for our children, knowing as much as we can from every angle will only serve to make us the best parents possible. I hope you enjoy them and can gain insights as well. And perhaps reading them will take your mind away from the stress of not-knowing yet what will actually happen with your daughter. I pray that her mother will make the decision that will truly be in the long-term and short-term best interest of her baby. Stay strong!

    • Thank you for the blog suggestions. I’ll have to check those out! You hit the nail on the head when you mentioned loving a child that is not yet yours. That’s the biggest struggle here. That’s why failed matches come with such a sense of loss, because you allow yourself to open your heart to that child before they are yours. You embrace that dream and that hope fully {whether you want to admit it or not} so when/if it falls through, it kind of takes a piece of your heart with it. So hard. But I can’t live in that fear forever. I’m determined that today will be a better day. Thank you for reaching out and sharing your own experiences with me. I know fostering is HARD and I admire you for going into it. Thanks for the encouragement and support.

  4. I can only imagine what a roller coaster of emotions you are going through dear friend. We are praying for peace in your spirit as you go through these next 5 weeks…knowing that even in the midst of uncertainty you can rest in knowing our God is in control and already has the answers. I pray you can find joy in these next 5 weeks as you prepare for this sweet little girl…love you guys!

    • Thank you Meghan. Those are exactly the prayers I need right now, because sometimes I’m not even sure what to pray for myself. So grateful for our friends and for you guys.

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