The fifth (and last) in a series of posts about women’s bodies and consecration. I’m gathering insights for an article I’m writing for the fall/winter issue of Segullah. In prior posts we discussed pregnancy, single sisterhood, miscarriage, and infertility.
I was once reading a magazine in my OB/GYN’s office when I came upon an article about a couple who had adopted a newborn. I don’t remember any details of this family’s experience. All I remember is sitting there thinking, “Man, talk about the easy way to get a baby.”To be fair, I was in the last trimester of pregnancy—my fourth or fifth, I think (it’s all a blur). I could barely walk across the room thanks to sciatica and pelvic pain. I couldn’t sleep well because my joints were all loosening, causing deep soreness in my hips and shoulders (and of course, tummy and back sleeping were out). Heartburn fried my throat every 15 minutes or so. And those were just a few of my pregnancy woes—not only did I have a long list of others, but I also had labor and delivery and the postpartum period to look forward to. At that moment, all I could think about was how nice it would be to get a kid without all the pain and suffering.
I’ve grown out of that myopia, to some extent at least. Thanks to women who have shared their experiences with me, I’ve realized that adoptive mothers endure their own brand of difficulty. I now see deep humility and faith in the act of making another woman’s child one’s own. I can only imagine the patience and strength required for the adoption process—the waiting, the scrutiny, the instability. And I suspect there is great vulnerability in mothering a person who had another mother. But I’m still pretty clueless about the unique sacrifices made by mothers of adopted children—and mothers of foster children.
So. Educate me. What are the unique challenges of adoptive and foster parenting? Those of you who know first-hand, what do you wish the rest of us understood? Those of you who have watched loved ones live this experience, what have you learned?