Surrogate family

The Book: Part Two

The book is complete…. I think.  For those who missed it, I spoke in a previous blog about creating ‘the book’.  For many in the adoption process, creating a scrapbook snapshot of your lives is how birth parents choose which potential adoptive parents they want to meet.  This book can be the key to getting a baby, so it’s a big deal.

Creating the book, for me, was a bit agonizing. Normally, my husband is the perfectionist in our relationship, but in this case, I was the one obsessing over the details.  I love to travel. Its an absolute passion in my life and I have so so lucky to have been to many amazing places.  Therefore, any book about me is going to have to include talking about travelling.  Normally, I’m more than happy to talk about anywhere I’ve been and all the places I still want to go.  However, when trying to show this in the book, I was suddenly questioning everything.  Here’s what happened in my brain: “What if the birth mother also loves to travel? I need to be sure to show that connection and put up fabulous pictures in from the pyramids in Egypt and Machu Picchu in Peru! She’ll love that!” But then: “wait, what if she hasn’t had the opportunity to travel? Maybe financially it’s not an option in her life and putting these pictures up will make me look disconnected from the hard reality of life and she’ll think I’m totally pretentious and don’t understand where she’s coming from.  Ok, take those pictures off”.   But then “But maybe she’ll wish her child will have the chance to travel that she never had.  Put the pictures up”  But then…..  You get the picture.

So, with some advice from the owner of the adoption agency, I decided to just be as authentically myself as possible.  All I can do is put it out there in the way that is the most true to who I am and who we are as a family and trust that the right person is out there.  Turns out that this process feels a lot like dating.  I recall some dates in my younger years when I would spend most of the night trying to figure out if I was acting right and saying the right things etc.  Then I learned that if I wanted to meet the right person to be in my life, I needed that person to like me for exactly who I am, not someone I’m trying to.  Turns out that’s true when adopting a baby also….

If you are looking to adopt, or have adopted in the past, and need someone to talk to about all of the emotions that come along with adopting, please come see me and we can work through it together.

The Book: Part 1

For many people who are looking to adopt a baby, creating your personal book is part of that process.  For those who haven’t had to do so, the book is like a scrapbook snapshot of your life.  Nowadays, most people use internet photo services to upload photos, add descriptions and print out hard copies. Then, these books are shared with birth mothers who use them to help match up birthparents and adoptive parents.

My husband and I are in the process of creating our book right now.  When I first heard about these books, I was  excited.  I thought it would be fun to look through old photos and share the story of our lives with others.  However, now that I’m in the middle of it, it’s really quite daunting.  With the agency that I am working with, these books are shown to the birth mothers who have most of the control when it comes to the matching process.  I like this model and I agree with the reasoning behind it; however, it is also the reason that I have about 20 pages to try to convince a total stranger that she should give me her child… her CHILD!  I’ve found this process to also make me feel very vulnerable.

How do you display seven years of a relationship in way that makes you look loving, caring, responsible, etc.  Additionally, how do we make ourselves stand out from other couples who are also just as deserving of this amazing gift?  Are we likeable? Seem pretentious? Not good enough? Generic and exactly like every other couple? I’m suddenly regretting never having gotten into the scrapbooking fad! I love my life.  I think we’re pretty great.  But honestly, in Colorado, everyone loves to hike, ski and has at least one adorable dog so how I can get us to be THE ONES?  So now I have a pile of photos, some other books to use as references, no idea what to do next… An update to follow when the book is completed.

If you are looking to adopt, or have adopted in the past, and need someone to talk to about all of the emotions that come along with adopting, please come see me and we can work through it together.

Adoption Camp, Part 3

There was another camper who has really stayed with me since camp, let’s call this one Caitlyn. She was there with two siblings.  When her mom brought her to our group on the first day she told me that Caitlyn was born via an egg donor and that they tell her she is partly adopted.  Her two siblings are adopted and sometimes Caitlyn feels different because she has a different story.  Caitlyn jumped right in with the group.  She was outgoing and fun and seemed to be having a great time at camp.

In the middle of the second day, we had an opportunity to sit with the kids and talk about what it meant to be adopted and asked the kids to identify any feelings they had around being adopted. All of the kids raised their hands except for Caitlyn.  Most of the kids told their story about what they knew about their birth parents and how they ended up in their adopted families.  Most said that they were sad that they were adopted.  One of the counselors asked the kids to raise their hands if they were adopted.  I was surprised when Caitlyn also raised her hand and told the other kids about coming from an egg donor and that she doesn’t know anything about the woman who donated the egg and that was sad for her.  All of the kids listened and no one had a reaction.  As soon as she was done, the next kid anxiously started to tell their story.  As soon as we moved on to the arts and crafts portion of the activity, Caitlyn asked to speak to me in the hallway.  She started to cry and said she was uncomfortable.  I asked her to tell me more about what she was feeling.  She said she felt different than the other kids and wished she was adopted too.  She said she hated being different from her siblings and that they didn’t understand how she felt.  I wanted to tell her that every kid in that room would someday be envious of the fact that she was birthed by the woman she calls mom and that her situation was closer to typical.  Of course, those were my judgments so I didn’t say anything of the kind to her.  What I told her was that every person has something that makes them different.  Everyone has something in their lives that makes them feel like they don’t really fit in or don’t belong to one group or another.  She looked at me like I was crazy, then got quiet to think about that for a bit.

I’ve continued to think about Caitlyn since camp often.  Caitlyn seemed to have it all at 8 years old.  She had two parents who loved her very much, she lived in a wealthy neighborhood in Denver, and from what I could see at 8, she was bound to closely resemble Barbie as an adult.  Yet, from her perspective, she was different and strange and had a sad story that made her not likeable.  She craved to be accepted and the same as her peers.  In her house and at adoption camp, being the same meant being adopted and that’s what she wished she had.  

If your child is having similar thoughts and feelings as Caitlyn did, please consider family therapy. We will focus on helping you and your child navigate the sea of emotions that come with adoption or surrogacy, depending on your situation. I look forward to hearing from you!