I am reading a wonderful book called Adopting after Infertility by Patricia Irwin Johnston. One section I read today was called The Psychological Pregnancy. I’ve mentioned before that I feel like I’m “pregnant.” In the adoption world we call this “paper pregnant” which means our paperwork is complete, approved and we are officially on the list to have our children. Johnston says that the psychological waiting time is similar to a woman who is physically pregnant and she describes the following stages:
“Adoption validation – accepting the fact that our children will join the family by adoption rather than birth
Child embodiment – incorporating the children by adoption into our emotional images
Child distinction – beginning to percieve of the children as a reality in order to make plans for them
Role transition – preparing to take on the parenting in adoption role”
(side note: someone close to me has often asked why we don’t continue to try and get pregnant while we are in this adoption process and Johnston follows the psychological pregnancy section with this comment, “It is impossible to experience a psychological pregnancy related to a particular adoption when one still has enormous amounts of time, energy, emotional reserves, and money committed to becoming pregnant biologically.” I agree with her. Plus, if we got pregnant, which we don’t want to do, our adoption would be put on hold if not canceled all together and then I would feel like I just had 2 miscarriages. Now why would I choose to do that?)
So, I was wondering from other adoptive parents how you prepared for your child/ren to come home during this “paper pregnant” stage when you had no knowledge of timeline, age, or gender to guide you.