The process of adoption is labor

One of the comments I really hate hearing when the topic of adoption comes up is “You did it the easy way by skipping labor and delivery?” All I can do is shake my head with disappointment with statements like this. I really think that people who make the statement that adoption is the easy way out need to have their heads examined. It is clear that when they make these kinds of statements that they have no clue as to how rigorous and exhausting the process of adoption can be.

David and I did go through labor to have Madilyn added to our family. It was just a different kind of labor. Our labor may not have started with physical pain, but it started with emotional pain, excitement, and anticipation as to what our lives would look like when the process was over. Our labor started with a phone call for a request for information on how to add a child to our family through adoption.

When we signed on the dotted line we did not get a tour of the hospital and the maternity ward and a Lamaze class.  Instead we got a tour of a mountain of paperwork, interviews, and background checks. Every area of our lives was investigated and we had to go through multiple approvals before we could even be considered for the placement of a child in our arms and home.

David and I did not attend prenatal doctor appointments but we both attended numerous medical appointments and were both poked and probed to no end. We both had to go through an intense physical and have every test imaginable run to ensure that we were healthy. Once we were declared physically healthy we had to endure mental evaluations to ensure that we were mentally capable of taking care of a child. Even though we had a 12 year old we still had to attend classes about caring for babies and toddlers. We had appointments with caseworkers, our home and bank account were inspected and questioned. I think I would have preferred the prenatal appointments and birth pains over what we had to endure.

We did not have to rush to a hospital, but we had less than 24 hours to pack and be about 1000 miles from our home (with no notice). Our labor did not end with the baby being placed in our arms. We still had to wait 72 hours for the termination of parents rights to occur. Can you imagine having your baby and being told that the child could be taken from you at any point between now and the next 72 hours.  Once the 72 hours passed our labor was still not over. We had to wait for 7 months for our finalization court date. All the while we were walking on egg shells because something could happen that would return our baby to her biological parents, or the adoption could be contested since it was not yet final.

The day of finalization we were like all new parents tired, exhausted, proud, and in awe. We began a new chapter in our lives. The years of labor were finally over. We waited like other families for birth certificates, social security cards, and new insurance cards to arrive. It seemed without these documents it was not really final.

Yes, we started our labor very differently than most families, but like all families we did go through a labor process. Adoptive parents end the placement and labor process just as exhausted as those who gave birth. Having labored with Caleb and going through adoption labor with Madilyn I can say that both processes are hard and the labor of adoption should not be discounted because of the lack of physical pain.

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