For our adoption process, we have done everything we need to do on our side (home study, paperwork, pictures, etc.). Our local agency approved our home study, and we were approved for the Korea program with our international agency. We are just waiting for official approval/licensure by the state of Illinois. Once that is done, everything will be sent to Korea. Once it is all sent to Korea, we should receive an actual referral of a child within about two months from that time. There is nothing left for us to do but wait to hear updates.
In that sense, it still feels surreal to me. Maybe when we get an actual referral, see a picture, and read a description, it’ll truly feel real, like when you have your initial ultrasound and see the little jelly bean rapidly beating its 2 month old heart. But for now, it hasn’t really hit me. We did move Connor over to where he is sleeping in the bunk bed with Ethan, but Connor’s room is still Connor’s room in every other way. It’s easier to keep it that way (for a chronic, lazy procrastinator), and I probably won’t make real changes to the boys’ rooms until next year.
But the boys are making mental changes. I’ve heard them say that the leftover pink Minnie Mouse stickers they have from a birthday party are for little sister. Today after brunch, Ethan randomly came up with another name: Julie. (His last suggestion had been Leah.) He then said a 3rd, Lala, so whenever her name is said, it is sung. He has been telling people that he is getting a little sister next year so even those we’ve just met are fully informed.
Adoption is a wonderful thing. It makes sense that whenever people find out we are adopting that they are happy and excited and think it’s terrific. We are direct recipients of the greatness that it is with Mike and our future child. However, I have to admit that sometimes I wish people realized that it is so, very complex and not always so beautiful. I mean, think about it, why does adoption exist in the first place? Every addition of a child is a transition, but the factors that come with adoption can be hard, tragic, and wounding on all sides. There have been times when I feel like people hear “It’s a small world” playing in their minds as they gush over adoption and how awesome it is. I want to stop the music then. Harsh, I know. Mike and I are trying our best to be as responsible and thoughtful as we can in this process which is why we have made some of the decisions we have. It’s not just about getting a girl or adding to our family even though those are definitely a part of it. We are trying to be humble and not superior about what we may be providing our future daughter. The truth is, she will have to face many issues that come with being adopted. Yes, she will be in a loving, supportive family that will provide all it can for her in every way. But she will have losses and identity questions and difficult work to do as she grows and matures. I already feel some ache in my heart about those things.
This past week I was listening to Chicago public radio and heard a story from World Vision Report. It was about women in Korea who get pregnant out of wedlock and how the social stigma of intense shame is still so strong. If I remember correctly, only 2 percent of them have their babies. A large percentage end up with illegal abortions. The rest are pressured to give up their babies for adoption. The story highlighted women who are working for change to bring more support, such as shelters that provide housing and resources, for unwed mothers. I remember thinking how I would rather these women get what they needed to be able to raise their children if they wanted to than make it easier for me to adopt one.
Adoption is beautiful. It allows for so much good. But it is more than that, too. Thanks for journeying with us through it all.