The other night after Olivia was in bed, Chris and I sat on the couch to catch up on our DVR.
I glanced over at our beautiful, small, brightly-lit Christmas tree and tears started welling up in my eyes.
He looked at me like I was crazy.
Crying during an episode of "Modern Family" threw him off a bit.
"What's wrong, babe?" he asked.
"No more waiting," I said.
He knew exactly what I meant.
This year is different than all other Christmases.
We don't have to wait to wrap those small packages with tiny, shiny bows.
We don't have to wait to start traditions of cookie baking, movie-watching and Christmas bedtime
stories with our baby.
The best gift of all is here.
And our sweet daughter gives us more joy, happiness than any stocking stuffer or any beautifully
wrapped box under the tree.
While I don't know what it's like to be pregnant, I do know what it's like to be an expectant mom through adoption.
And I know enough about my friends' experiences of being pregnant to know that becoming a parent through adoption is different than becoming a parent through pregnancy.
Here's a small list of what I believe adoptive parents can expect when they're expecting:
1.) You'll learn to forgive people who don't know they need to be forgiven.
A lot of times people don't know how hurtful their actions [or lack of actions] can be to an adoptive parent. They don't comprehend how important their words are, and they don't always choose them wisely.
There are people in my life who fell off the face of the planet when Chris and I announced we were adopting. There were family members and friends who didn't understand why fundraising was such an important part of our adoption journey. There were people we cared about who never asked us how we were feeling throughout our entire adoption process.
Once Olivia's birth mom chose us, a lot of those people reappeared in our lives. They saw her. They loved her. And we love that. But it was hurtful to not have the support from some of those people from the beginning.
Perhaps they didn't know what to say. Perhaps they didn't know what to do.
And so we forgave them.
To keep these relationships, we had to forgive people who didn't even know they needed to be forgiven.
2.) You will automatically feel a connection with other adoptive families.
I have literally lost count of how many new, wonderful friends we have made because we have an unspoken bond. We understand each other without saying a word.
These new friends get it.
They have survived the leap of faith that it takes to adopt.
They have surrendered themselves and allowed God to do His thing.
The new friends you make are SO awesome, you guys.
Embrace them. You will treasure these people as you move forward with adopting that sweet baby.
3.) You will love the people you love...even more.
It is true that adoption can bring out the absolute best in people. The generosity of friends, family members and complete strangers will bring you to your knees.
The support can be overwhelming. Hold onto those moments.
Never forget the people who stand by you. They are absolute gifts; they are investing in the life of a child they haven't met, validating the decision of a birth mother and/or birth father who chooses LIFE, and they will hold you up in those weak moments where it feels like things are falling apart.
4.) You will experience a mix of emotions you've never experienced before.
You will fall in love and plan for a baby you haven't met yet.
You will pray about a birth momma and have no idea who she is, what she does, or where she lives.
You'll walk into your baby-to-be's nursery and wonder when you'll be tucking in your sweet baby.
You'll cry because you'll think the waiting and planning will never end.
You'll cry when you're not chosen by a birth momma and you don't know why; you'll find an odd sense of peace in knowing that when this happens another family is rejoicing because their wait is over.
You will obsess over the anticipation of receiving *THE* phone call that you've been chosen; you'll wonder how that phone call will sound, how you'll react, what you'll do and how much time you'll have.
You'll cry when your waiting ends. Because your adoption journey is PROOF that God answers prayers. He knows what He's doing.
You'll be completely and totally overjoyed when you snuggle that sweet baby that was meant to be yours all along.
5.) It will be worth it.
When we were diagnosed with unexplained infertility, I always asked myself, "WHY ME?"
When the going got tough with the adoption process, I often times asked myself, "WHY ME?"
It's easy to be angry when you wonder WHY the adoption process is so hard. Why it's such a
roller coaster. Why there's so much red tape.
But when you hold that sweet baby in your arms, it will be worth it.
These days I find myself looking in the mirror while holding Olivia [she loves to see herself], and I ask myself the same question: "WHY ME?" except in a completely different context.
Why did God choose me to be Olivia's mom?
Why did her birth momma feel I was deserving to be this precious girl's forever mom?
What did I do to deserve such a perfect, AMAZING gift?
It is such an honor to be an adoptive parent.
There aren't adequate words to describe how awesome it feels to be CHOSEN.