Monday, June 28, 2010

Summer Interview Series - Michelle (Prospective Parent)

Welcome to week four of my Summer Interview Series. Each week I'll post an interview with someone touched by adoption. I hope that you will enjoy learning about them as much as I have. Please let me know if you would like to participate or would like to suggest someone else for me to interview.

This week - Prospective adoptive mother Michelle P. from .

What is your name/title as you would like it to appear on my blog?
Michelle P. from .

How has your life been touched by adoption?
I have to be honest in saying adoption was not something I gave much thought until it we were faced with infertility challenges. I had a good friend in elementary school who was adopted but it was not something that we ever discussed. At that time adoption were so hush hush….I know we discussed it at my family dinners when my curiosity peeked about the subject, but I was told not to speak of it with her.

Five years ago a good friend of mine was blessed with a little girl through adoption and then a little boy a few years later, so I certainly heard her story from start to finish. However in my naivety at that time I never thought it was something that would touch my life so deeply.

When Terry and I discovered that having biological children would not be an option for us, we of course were devastated, and spent time mourning this. We knew though, we still wanted to be parents. By this time we now had a few different couples in our lives that had been blessed with children through domestic adoption, so we had a few very positive experiences to hear about and learn from… didn’t take long to know that this was something that we definitely wanted to do. It has been wonderful to learn and gain insight from these couples…so we decided to start the process of domestic adoption.

We both have always tried to stay very realistic about where this could take us. It may work out but it may not. We truly want our prayers to be answered, but know that if that is not to be we will be okay…we love each other and are best friends…as long as we have each other our lives will be full.

Has your impression of adoption (in general) changed at all during the time you've been waiting to adopt? If so, in what ways and by what influence?
When I think back two years ago and reflect on my opinions and knowledge of adoption in general, I have to chuckle………NAÏVE…that is all I can say. From thinking that this would happen very quickly, to being so scared when our social worker even suggested ‘open adoption”. It is amazing how much I have learned in the past year and a half. Much of my new found knowledge has come from all the wonderful people I have met through my blog. As well all the great online sources.

The one thing that sticks out in my mind is how we felt about open adoption when we first started into this process. It was something that definitely made us nervous. However after chatting with a wonderful birthmother that I have come to know and hearing her story and listening to her and the joy she has when she gets to spend time with her son….I quickly came to realize just how important an open relationship can be for you as a family, for the woman that has given you this amazing gift and of course most importantly that special child.

I have found that the longer I live the more my perspective shifts as I encounter and incorporate new experiences with my own history and impressions. I have been surprised by how much the reality of being a parent, and an adoptive parent, differs from my expectations. What resources have you tapped into to prepare yourself for becoming an adoptive parent? What has been most helpful to you, either specific resources or specific advice?
I am always amazed as well, at how my thoughts and views change the older I get. I think I would have been a much different parent in my 20’s, not better or worse just very different. I doubt I would have been ready to truly be the best parent to an adopted child. I do believe that raising an adopted child is much different in some ways than raising a biological child. Like any prospective parent I have expectations and ideals that most likely will be blown out of the water once reality hits, but at this time I have surrounded myself with books, websites, and friends that are raising adopted families. I am taking their cues on how to handle different situations that arise.

What degree of openness do you hope to have with your child's birth parents? Why?
Well this is a very interesting question for me right now. Like I said earlier if you had asked me this question last year I might have replied by saying hopefully not much. However after a year of growth and knowledge I would love to have an open adoption. I do believe that if handled properly from the very beginning stages of an adopted child’s life the benefits of openness are astounding for adopted children. Unfortunately we are currently matched with a birthmother that is choosing no openness at all, she would like a completely closed adoption…which makes me sad, but we respect her wishes and know that she has some very good reasons why this adoption should continue to be closed. I have said to her many times that our door would always be open to her and her family if ever there is a time that they would like to have contact.

What has challenged you most during your wait? What has been your response?
The only way I can describe the waiting period for me would be the most intense rollercoaster ride. There are times when I have been fine, patient…realizing life is going to happen and there is not one thing you can change about it. Then there are the other times when I am a crazed mad woman that feels totally out of control and needs to take action. That for me is the hardest, the lack of control. Most of your waiting time is spent with no control over the situation…..

What I have done to keep myself occupied was tons of work, tons of fun with my husband, travel, redecorating…crafts, jewelry making…you name it I have done it.

If I can give any advice it would be, don’t beat yourself up at some point in your wait you will have a melt down or two….it is going to happen…you may not be able to go to that baby shower for a friend…that’s okay…because chances are the next one you will be just fine…don’t pressure yourself.

I said to you not long ago that your child will need the particular gifts of yourself that you develop during the wait. What strengths or insights do you see that you have developed?
This wait has changed me in many ways…..the most wonderful thing the wait has taught me has been the hardest lesson of all. Patience! This is not something I have ever had much of. I think this is the one lesson that God knew I needed to learn before raising a family. Now I don’t think I will be getting any awards for being the most patient person around or anything, but I certainly have learned to calm down a bit. I think this is really in invaluable lesson to have learned before bringing a child home.

I really believe I will be a much better mother after this wait is over. Not only will I not ever take anything for granted again, but the desire to be a mother and parent a child is even deeper than I ever thought possible. I know I wanted this when we started into this journey but now I have had almost 2 yrs to really think about it, pray about, and ponder it….I know this is something that the 2 of us truly want.

People who know you know that you have a very close, beautiful relationship with your mother. I imagine you hope to have the same kind of relationship with your child. What are your expectations of a relationship with your child's birth mother, both yours with her and your child's with her?
Yes my Mom and I are extremely close. Besides Terry, both my Mom and Dad are the closest people to me….we are so blessed both of us, with such wonderful families…all sides….the support is amazing. I don’t think that I can give an accurate answer to that question because you never know what your situation is going to look like. There are certainly people that come into your life that you would want to welcome into your family, and want them to be a huge part of your child’s life. However that may not necessarily be the case. I really think you have to take your situation and come up with a plan that is best suited for everyone involved. At the very least what I want is, if my child ever wants any information we will be able to get for them.

Do you have any misgivings about your decision to adopt?
At this point I don’t have any misgivings about our decision. We still feel very strongly, like I said earlier maybe even more so now than when we started this adoption journey. It has been a challenge thus far….it has many low points but we are sure that in the end it will all be so worth it!

Thanks, Michelle!

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Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
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Maru said...
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