Wednesday, May 2, 2018

If I Could Say One Thing...About Being Matched with An Expectant Family

Being matched with an expectant family can be a mix of excitement and anxiety. It's thrilling to be to that stage in the adoption journey, but soon the reality of entering into a relationship with another person or people sets in. How do we engage with them? How do we love them well during this time? How do we begin building a lifelong relationship with strangers for the sake of the child? Today adoptive parents and hopeful adoptive parents share their experiences and what they've learned along the way.

It's like climbing the next step on a very long ladder. You’re another step closer to your dream, but you are still climbing to the unknown of the outcome. I clung to the quote: “Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.” (Martin Luther king Jr.) It kept my perspective off of the journey itself, but on the purpose behind it: my faith and walk with God.  - Andrea

Keep the focus on the expectant mama/parents. I sent weekly encouragement cards to our birth mama (expectant mama at the time) and she told us she had never been loved like that, and that that kind of love was so foreign to her, but fulfilled her in a way that nothing else ever had. Focus on THEM. It keeps your mind off yourself and the unknowns, and can create a beautiful experience between yourself and the expectant parents. Also, lean in to God. Only He knows the end result, and though that’s hard to accept sometimes, it helps strengthen your walk and trust in Him. Trusting that if this is the right situation, God will guide the steps perfectly, but if it’s not the right situation, He’ll guide those steps perfectly, too. You want to have the baby God intends for your family, and if it doesn’t work out, though incredibly hard, it means He has something even bigger and better in store for you. Wait with trusting hearts in His ultimate plan. He’s not just a good Father. He’s a good GOOD Father, and will only give us the best.  - Andrea R.

Learning the heart of an expectant family is a tragic, beautiful, and prayerful path. Be patient, loving, and kind, and trust in the knowledge that God is over you all through the process. Pray for them daily, and, if given the opportunity, take advantage of the time you have to speak with them. Listen more than you talk. Offer comfort and compassion. Most importantly, love them.  - Katie W.

Hmmm....hard to live, but try not to sweat it. I was going to say don’t sweat the small stuff...but in the moment it’s not small! Go with the flow. Be kind. Ask questions. LISTEN! Everyone wants to be listened to...understood...HEARD. I feel like that is amplified in this situation. Be yourself...but less of yourself as you concentrate on someone else’s story. This part of the journey is not so much about you. It’s about someone else and they NEED to know and understand that. The other thing is love. Love them. They are not necessarily used to being loved. Let alone loved unconditionally. I think I tried to show them how I was going to love their daughter by loving on them...with my words, my comments, my expressions, my actions (not by things and stuff!).  - Katie S.

One thing that was suggested to us in the hospital was to buy a journal for our daughter’s birth mom and just present it to her in case she wanted to write anything down for us to share with our daughter in the future. Her birth mom was very shy (especially around my husband) so we took her lead on how much she wanted to have my husband around. And then we just let her know there no was pressure whatsoever with the journal but if she thought of anything over the couple days we were in the hospital all together she could write it down. Nothing was too small. Since we were matched just two weeks out from the delivery and had only met her the night before we didn’t know much about her, but didn’t want to overwhelm her with questions either. It’s just a sweet little journal and I am so happy to have it to go over with it when our daughter is older and ready. It includes simple things like her birth mom's birthday, activities and sports she liked as a child, and things she craved while she was pregnant. She even included info like when her birth mom’s mother went through menopause so tiny bits of family history. It meant a lot to me and I’m so thankful we have it.  - Ashley

It’s such a BIG moment for everyone involved. It helped us to remember that as excited and as scared and as hopeful as my husband and I were, there was an expectant mom who was having all the same feelings and then some. It helped us to connect with her when we understood it was a huge leap of faith for her too. We also had to resign ourselves to accepting that we had not walked in her shoes or her life experience that brought her to making her adoption plan. We could not always understand her choices or thoughts, so that’s when we had to surrender to grace and love and to a God that was bigger than all of it. It was not always easy, but our faith in Jesus grew as did our love for our daughter’s birth mother during that time.  - Tracy

Prior to being matched, the thought of developing a personal relationship with a total stranger seemed very daunting. But being on the other side now (twice!), I'd say just pour out love and respect them. I see the love they have for their children and the gut-wrenching decisions they made and I stand in awe of them. The love I have for both my sons' first mamas was truly my biggest surprise with adoption! Developing a relationship is not always easy, but oh so worth it!! And remember, they're just as nervous about it all as you are.  - Gayla

It's a very surreal, unfamiliar yet beautiful experience. You are being matched, through a third party, to someone who is going to have a huge part in the rest of your life.  - Nathan

They remain the parents of this child, through and through! We get to love and support them, and then if they decide to parent their child...we can grieve for us but not blame them.  - Natalie

Being matched is an opportunity to pray over and love on someone in a very difficult time, no matter the outcome. We have been matched with both open and closed situations. In closed situations, I’ll send a gift and encouragement through letters if they are receptive to that. In open situations, I make sure to always ask our expectant mom about herself and her life before I talk about baby. I think it’s important that she know we genuinely care for her and her well being, not just the baby growing inside her.  - Michelle

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