This personal essay by Sheri Rich is one in the six-part series about her family's amazing domestic adoption saga. A listing of the other installments appears at the end of each article.
For my dear friend Janis, who encouraged me to write our story, and all those embarking on an adoption journey
Know that thoughts of giving up are part of the adoption journey. I wanted to many times. Know that you will go through every emotion a heart can endure. I remember looking at my husband and feeling crushed with guilt. I could not give him another child. I remember looking at my daughter and loathing my body for not being able to give her a sibling. Adoption will come to mean far more than getting a baby. The process of adoption will challenge your strength and faith.
Recently, a family member said to me that she had never known anyone as obsessed with trying to find or have a baby as I had been. I felt hurt by her choice of words. Adoptive moms need not be described as obsessive. We must be determined. We must have faith.
I have found it hard to talk about adoption with just anybody. I end up doing more explaining than conversing. The day I found the Expecting to Adopt message board was the day I found my best friends. My love is with all of you. You are my true means of support -- the lifeline that enabled me to get through this journey and find Emily.
Our adoption journey began almost two years ago, when I learned that I could no longer conceive. Although devastated, I felt determined to have more children and began searching for a reputable adoption facilitator. In retrospect, I may have been naive and hasty, but at the time I felt hopeful and confident; after a one-on-one meeting with our facilitator, I felt that the process of finding a baby was truly under way. The next step required creating a "Dear Birth Mother" portfolio letter, one of the hardest writing tasks I can imagine. Night after night I would lie awake wondering whether I had described our family in the best possible way. Maybe I should not have mentioned our pony and three dogs. Might the animals scare her: Would she imagine the dogs eating the baby? Or Susie, our little wiener dog, smothering the baby with kisses? Might she imagine that someday her child would be thrown off the pony and die? Are these silly thoughts? Not to an adopting mom.
To be absolutely certain we would not miss an adoption-related phone call, we covered all bases and got caller I.D., call waiting, a cell phone and a pager. And our answering machine let callers know: "If you're not a pregnant birth mother, don't waste the tape."
Find out where this domestic adoption saga leads in the following installments: