Just living my life, and making it work!

I read a blog post by Dawn Davenport over at Creating A Family talking about perspective adoptive parents referring to themselves as expecting, and how this is sometimes seen negatively from the perspective of birth moms. The blog post referred to comments made by a birth mother’s blog called Monica’s Musings. I understood the birth mother to say that adoptive mothers calling themselves “expectant” was presumptuous, and puts undue focus on the adoptive parent. She goes on to say this is a problem because we should only be focused on the child, and adoptive parents are making a huge assumption that the birth mother won’t exercise her right change her mind after birth.

Now, I usually stay out of these types of debates. I am not a birth mother, nor have I ever faced infertility. I have been blessed with three biological children, and am now being blessed with the opportunity to become a mother through adoption. For some reason this particular issue didn’t sit we’ll with me. After much thought I think I know why.

First, it is true that adoption outcomes are tenuous by nature, but so is any pregnancy. All pathways to parenting are uncertain. Just ask one of the thousands of heartbroken mothers who have endured delivering a still born baby, or who’s baby died shortly after birth. With each of my three pregnancies I held my breath every time a doctor looked for a heart beat because I knew there was no guaranty of a happy outcome. I am similarly acutely await that there are a number of factors that could tear our hopes of adopting from China in two.

Second, for many parents pregnancy is an exciting time filled with joy and anticipation. Women chatter excitedly about nursery themes, baby names, and showers. Moms, and other family members, begin preparing their hearts and homes for the new arrival. Having had the experience three times, and now “expecting” our fourth child through adoption I can say the two are not that dissimilar. I have proudly showed my future son’s picture to everyone who’ll listen just like I did with my sonogram pictures. I have traded reading baby books for reading about adopting older kids, and blended families. I am preparing his room, and making arraignments for my other children while we are in China. I am no less excited, hopeful, overwhelmed, nervous, or prayerful growing our family through adoption as i was with the births of our biological children. By referring to themselves as “expecting” I think adoptive moms are just trying to share in the feelings of joy and excitement while preparing to become parents. This is especially true if a woman has faced infertility. Not allowing an adoptive mom to say she is ” expecting” diminishes her experience, and implies that adoption is a lesser means of becoming a parent. This seems somewhat disingenuous, and slightly mean spirited.

I get that adoption is fraught with loss, and difficult choices on the part of BOTH parties involved. I think that maybe instead of worrying about the vernacular used by someone else to describe their experience we should focus on resolving the individual issues we face.


Comments on: "Should Adopting Parents Consider Themselves “Expecting”?" (9)

  1. I am typing with tears in my eyes, thank you so much for this post. I call myself “Paper Pregnant” as I am an awaiting foster/adoptive mother. We are just starting out in our Journey to become parents. I have watched all my friends with their pregnancies… registering for gifts, painting the room, having a shower…all the things I thought I would never be able to have due to not being able to have a child of my own. I know that I have a family full of supporters and if I want a adoption shower as we get closer to that point in the process, I know they will line up to do it. To read that I am not the only one who feels that she can be just as excited over an adoptive child as a birth child really hits home. I needed to read this today, thank you again and I will be following your blog.

    • strolloholic said:

      Thank you for your kind words. I wish you the best of blessings on your journey to parenthood whatever form it takes.

  2. […] Facebook group, wrote a blog post about it. Then Elisabeth, another Facebook group member, wrote a blog post about it. And now, I’m writing my blog post about […]

    • strolloholic said:

      Who knew this issue would strike such a chord with people? Thank you for sharing your opinion.

  3. Vera Whittler said:

    Thank you so much for posting this. We adopted from the Philippines it took us four years from start to finish (3 being on the waiting list). I wish you luck on your adoption journey –

    • strolloholic said:

      Congratulations on growing your family through adoption! I bet your child was worth every moment of the wait!

  4. I always used to cringe when I heard that term “paper pregnant.” At what point does an adoptive parent to be become paper pregnant? At dossier submission? Upon referral? I am blessed to have been able to experience being both a birth mom and adoptive mom. They are very different in my opinion…the adoption journey is much more of a roller coaster, and involves so many more players than a traditional family building situation. Out of respect for the birth mom, I would rather hear “waiting” adoptive parent or something to that effect. It never occurred to me to use the terminology, “pregnant” or “expectant.” During my adoption journey, I had a more cautious and respectful approach to my journey. I guess from my perspective, if my adoption fell through and my daughter went to another family, did I then have a “miscarriage”? What matters most is the the child have a family, and although losing a child to another family would be devastating, I don’t think it would be fair to liken it to a miscarriage. I think the two journeys of pregnancy and adoption are VERY different and we should chose our words carefully.

    • strolloholic said:

      Thank you for posting your perspective. I realize not everyone is going to agree on every issue.

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