No...I'm definitely not pregnant, but I've got to tell you - this whole adoption thing sure feels an awful lot like pregnancy to me! When we made the decision to embark on this journey, I had no idea the parallels that we would see between actually being pregnant and pursuing an adoption.
I find myself feeling super emotional about everything, causing me to cry at the drop of a hat. Seriously, I cannot keep it together. The first week at work after we decided to adopt, I found myself just staring at the kids with Hispanic or Asian backgrounds walking down the hall, wondering if my son/daughter would look like any of them (at the time, we hadn't picked China). Seriously, I would go to my office and tears would just fall down my face. More recently, I've cried watching a speech therapy session, listening to our server share that her son passed away years ago when he was 17, and reading blogs about adoption. I. AM. A. MESS.
Just like when you are pregnant, and your pregnancy is always in the back of your mind, this adoption is always at the back of my mind. Rather than feel a constant awareness of a person growing inside my body, I have a constant awareness of the love growing in my heart. It honestly feels so full sometimes I think I will explode. I really thought I would compartmentalize better, but the truth is, this adoption is always lurking just beneath the surface of everything I do, waiting for an opportunity to pop up and say hello!
You know how when you're pregnant you have this CRAZY love for a person you haven't even met? There is this instinctual desire to protect, love, and nurture this tiny little person growing inside of you? I remember feeling this even stronger the second time I was pregnant because I had a better understanding of what was in there and who would come out 9 months later. Once again, adoption is the same. We're one week out from choosing our country, and I am already in love with this little person beyond anything I would have imagined at this stage. It's really wild.
When I was pregnant, I always wondered, "What will he/she look like? What will his/her personality be like? How will this person's life change life as we know it?" And again, I am wondering the same things. Is our child a boy or girl? Will I have another son, or will I have my first daughter? What will his/her beautiful face look like? How will Noah and Liam respond to having another sibling?" So many questions that only time can answer!
Waiting. There is a LOT of waiting in pregnancy. Waiting to find out if you're pregnant. Waiting to find out if the baby has a heartbeat. Waiting for maternity clothes to finally fit. Waiting to find out the sex of the baby (we did the second time around). Waiting to make it to 24 weeks when the baby might survive if born premature. Waiting to find out if you passed the glucose test (I failed the first time and had to deal with gestational diabetes). Waiting to hit the 30 week mark...then 37 weeks...38...39...40...and in my case the second time around...almost 41 weeks. Waiting to go into labor. Waiting to finally hold that precious one who grew inside you for 9 months.
Adoption is no different. Waiting appears to be the name of the game, and it doesn't necessarily happen in this order! Waiting to start your home study. Waiting to collect the million documents needed for the dossier. Waiting for fingerprints to be processed. Waiting for all applications and documents to be processed. Waiting for the country to receive your dossier. Waiting for a log in date. Waiting for a referral and deciding to adopt that child. Waiting for your letter of acceptance from that child's country to adopt that sweet one with whom you are now completely in love. Waiting for a travel date to be announced. Waiting to actually travel. Waiting on a crazy long plane ride to reach the country. Waiting to go to the orphanage/foster home to meet your child. Waiting to complete all health checks and legal requirements in country. Waiting to leave the country and bring the child home to his/her new family. THERE. IS. SO. MUCH. WAITING.
So, no, I am not pregnant. But you know what? I totally feel like I am. :)