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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Courtship










One month already? Can anyone really believe that our baby boy is one month old?










To me, Lincoln still continues to be a fresh new miracle and I can hardly contain my joy in having him in our family.
For some time now, I've been meaning to write about my thoughts on adoption, becoming a mother to a second child and the feelings that come with both of them. As of right now, Eric has taken Lincoln out for some guy-time watching the Cavs game at our neighbor's house. You guessed it, that leaves a quiet house for my sleeping daughter upstairs and some quality time with my neglected keyboard and myself. (and my bowl of ice cream, it helps me blog; try it sometime)


So, let me just jump right in. I've been thinking of the best way to explain my feelings on adoption and the only comparison I can offer is likening it to getting a new hairstyle. If you've never adopted, this comparison is only meant figuratively, hardly literally. I do recognize how superficial this may sound, but try to follow. It's not my heart and soul here people, just a fun comparison.


"I want a new hairstyle!"

How many of us have ever uttered a similar phrase?





"I want another child."

That's my line.



While saying that adoption is like a new hairdo seems pretty off the wall, let me explain:


Most women, (me, always) look in the mirror everyday and think, "I wish I had a new hairstyle. Something that I can do more/ less with. I wish it were longer/ shorter. I wish that it could get me out of the house faster in the morning." And so, said individual debates the advantages of a major change in her appearance, knowing how it will affect her lifestyle and decides to take the plunge and get it cut off, colored and styled. Here is where we have the parallel to adoption. After all of the time thinking and wondering how this new decision will work into her life, once it's done, there's no turning back. After the initial trip to the salon, you''ll find that your first morning left to do your hair on your own doesn't go just as smoothly as you would have liked. Not hard, but not the same routine pattern that you've grown accustom to and established over let's say, 2 years time. Throughout your day, you catch a glimpse of your new image in the mirror and have to do a double take to believe that this new-you has really reached fruition and is now a part of your life. Understandably so, a new hairstyle says a lot about you and you never know what you are about to end up with until you walk out the door. There's the possibility that you may not feel like you have the face for short hair after all. Maybe you'll love it and can't imagine how you ever dealt with such long hair for so many years. And the color? Who would have known that buttercream blond with red highlights would be just what you needed to give your self esteem a boost? See? Regardless, you rolled the dice, you took the gamble and it's all yours. Someone else's work, all for you.


Then, of course, there is the reaction of people you encounter. What would a new hairstyle (adoption) be without compliments? And who doesn't love them? And sometimes, the compliments need some further explanation. Like, "Yeah, my hair was passed my waist with 17 layers of natural curl and highlights before I got it cut, colored and straightened." While an adoptive parent may have to field generous compliments from strangers who dote over the lovely child and say, "Wow, he's only 2 weeks old? You look great!" or "Ooh, I didn't know you were even pregnant." There's the lateral explanations as you can see.


And lastly, the other way that adoption is like a new hairstyle is that you get so used to having it and you love the way it makes you feel and feels on you and you can't imagine ever going back and rethinking your decision. You feel like you've won the lottery with a single ticket and you get to cash in a million bucks everyday.


That's adoption!

Want more? (need more ice cream!)



Getting down my true feelings on adoption is more like a courtship. Remember dating? Yeah, dating. Going on your first date; a little nervous, excited, wondering if he really could be "the one?" Now that's a little bit like adoption too.



When you become pregnant with your natural child, you have 40 weeks to plan. Down to every last detail, you begin to tell your family and friends, decorate the room, buy new clothes and prepare your household for your new arrival. More than that though, you begin to fall in love. You bond with your unborn child. You dream about him at night, when he's not making his presence known by recurring kicks. Your motherly hormones flood in waves over your emotions, thoughts and your heart. For 40 weeks.



With an adoption, you know you want a baby and you'll take it if it's offered in two years or offered in two days. This is the heart of an adoptive mother with lack of alternatives. I'd have to say that the time line of our adoption was perfect timing for us. We had almost 2 months from learning of a potential child for us and seeing it all happen at lightning speed to holding our son in our arms for the first time. If it had been a longer period of time, that only allows for your mind to raise questions of doubt, fear and unnecessary anxiety. We had sufficient time to prepare our home, our jobs and our minds. We were having a son!



When we adopted Elaina, Eric and I realized how fortunate we were that her birth mom was simply incredible. We highly doubted that we would ever get that lucky again with our next adoption. Again, another gamble. Upon my first conversation with Lincoln's birth mom (Elle), I remember thinking, "She seems almost too good to be true." While everything thing is said and done, I have incredible stories to tell to each of our children about their birth mom's. That's a whole other blog though...



Back to our courtship with Lincoln... so now we have this little stranger in our arms. We look into his eyes with tenderness and wonder. We wonder what he'll look like. We wonder about his health. We wonder if he'll love us half as much as we plan to love him. And we wonder if he'll always be as gassy as he is.


I realize that all mother's share similar thoughts to an extent, but wrapping your arms around a sweet, little 6 pound stranger, knowing how much he is about to change your life is still a little bit different. And the courtship begins.



We are still learning about each other. Eric and I know that Lincoln likes to be fed approximately every three hours, not a minute past. We know that he struggles with gas, random bouts of constipation and the sneaky kind of spit-up when you least expect it. I'm feeling more confidant about changing his boy-diaper and he's been respectful of his gun-shy mother.



With this said, we still have the aspect that Lincoln is our second child. Being a second child myself, I know he's going to turn out just fine. At this point, as he is a wee one-month old, we're all at a disadvantage in comparison to our relationship with Elaina. Elaina is nearly two years old. We've had almost 2 years to learn her, to shape her, to learn her language and likes and dislikes. There's nothing like a new baby to make you feel totally inadequate as a person and a mother. It becomes a juggling act. The new-mom part of me wants nothing more than to hold Lincoln in my arms all day long and cuddle and coo with him as I look into his eyes. The part of me that is exclusively Elaina's-mom, wants to dive down on the living room floor and tickle and play and help her jump in the air and play ring around the rosey for the 789th time. Alas, I can't do both at the same time. Nobody can. So then, if learning about your new baby weren't enough, you have to learn balance. Balancing sleeping, eating, playing, laying and time to be yourself. Could someone remind me why I thought only 8 weeks maternity leave would be sufficient? I'm not balanced yet!



This is adoption. This is our life. Thanks for being a part of it as we're loving every minute of it!
*** Final Note: Not so sure why you can enlarge some pics with a double click and some not. Just wanted to point out that his onesie reads, "Hello, I am IRRESISTIBLE!"

1 Welcome Comments:

Kelsey said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It is so interesting to read how your experience is similar and different to welcoming a new baby that you carried for all those months. I wonder if we'll handle the transition as well when/if our family grows another member!