Today we sighed with relief when we went to our mailbox and found that finally our fingerprint request from the INS, BCIS or whatever they are called now was here. Although with each of our adoptions we have taken the paperwork stage and the waiting time all in stride, it had been over 4 weeks since we sent our I600A off on 9/26/06 and we seemed to recall the last couple of times getting the fingerprint notice rather quickly. Here we are in the photo sending off our I600A.
Funny the things we celebrate as an adoptive family. We don't have a traditional pregnancy with prenatal vitamins and ultrasounds and "Baby on Board" shirts to wear. Instead we get to mark time with paperwork mailings, memorizing Russian phrases, and photos of children far away replacing our ultrasound. I remember prior to adopting Matthew when this was all so new, and Dominick and I stood in the baby aisle of Walmart trying to take that first step in making this all real and buying our first baby things. Ultimately, after standing there for 15 or 20 minutes we walked away empty handed, both of us feeling as if somehow we had no right to be purchasing baby items. We had no proof of a baby coming, and it felt odd, like we were so out of place.
It is sometimes hard when you are expecting by adoption, and no one around you knows it. There are no outward signs that you are an expectant mother, no one asking your due date as they meet you in the store, and no one really views it quite the same as actually having a baby. Yet you are just as excited as the next expectant mother and want to share your joy with everyone you meet. It is like you are carrying around this fantastic secret in your heart that you want so badly to share with others but how do you bring it up? It is sort of weird, like awkwardly announcing to people you meet that it is your birthday so they can wish you happy birthday. Biological moms don't have to announce anything to share their joy, it's obvious and right out there for all the world to see. When you are adopting there is nothing there to continually remind everyone of your "delicate" condition...and anyone who has adopted internationally can attest to the stresses of homestudies and dossier preparation, travel plans and concerns about lining up professionals to help with everything from speech to attachment to educational assessments to sensory integration issues. Delicate??? You tell me our condition isn't delicate!! Hahahahaha! We may not have swollen ankles, bad skin and stretch marks to contend with (ok..well...let's agree not mention the stretch marks, ok??) but we certainly have our share of stressors and worries. My hormones may not be out of wack, but I am on an emotional roller coaster all the same.
Then there is the nesting...yes, you may not have realized it but that instinct kicks in with adoptive mommies as well as bio mommies. Let's see, with Matthew I was up at 3:00 AM a couple of weeks before we travelled and I was scrubbing my kitchen floor with a toothbrush. This was not military boot camp punishment, this was mommy wanting her house to be perfect for her new baby! With Josh it was pulling all the blinds down and taking them to get cleaned. With T it is a larger project, as we are currently tackling tile work in bathrooms, kitchen and dining room (maybe so I don't need to use the toothbrush this time around???). I laugh as I write this because it is funny even to me that the nesting kicks in so strongly, and it was totally unexpected the first time around. I thought it was a hormonal thing, not an emotional one. I am just glad I have an indulgent husband who after all these years just laughs at his quirky wife and does what she asks, even if he can't see any use in it at all. Hey, I figure he is getting off easy...he only has to tile a couple of floors. He could be spending 9 months going to the store at 2:00 AM to procure a jar of pickels and a pint of pistachio ice cream!