Each and every baby shower got harder and harder for me. I played the happy friend, cousin or whatever. I did. And truly, I was happy for them but it was absolute torture for me. I'd leave in the car in tears every time. I guess it was my way of coping from holding it in for however long I could. See, once you learn you will never ever have the opportunity to have a baby, you must mourn that loss some time. Even if no one knows or no one understands. The longing will never go away. Yes, it will ease, but it will never truly leave your mind.
I wanted to defy doctors. At one point, even started thinking if I could prepare for a baby, I"ll be ready. I'll be a good parent, I promise. Bought little clothes here and there. Guess it was a way to keep a dream alive. Knowing deep down, it could never be. Yet, despite feeling this way, I'd always try to celebrate with those who were having babies. Share in their joy and their excitement.
Time passes and you make other plans. In the back of your mind though, always hoping and praying that one day, that baby shower would be your baby shower. So, plans come along and it IS your turn. However, it's a little different. You have decided to adopt and share it with the world. You know, like every other "pregnant" person would do. You though do not have people offering to give you a baby shower or anything of that nature. No. Not sure if it is because people are afraid or if they really don't think you need one. To you though, it's NOT about the gifts. Not a bit. It's about friends and family coming together to let you know just how happy they are for your future additions. This is typically when the first punch in the gut comes from for the adoptive parent. Secretly, you are hoping for a shower despite not saying it out loud.
Now, some of you lucky ones out there may just indeed get a baby shower for your adoptive child. With our first two kids, we did! From our work places. And it was SO needed. Needed for the compassion, love, and friendships that you had. Was wonderful to know that people cared about you and your future children. See, our first two were not glistening babies. Irina and Max were 6 and 4 at the time. Wore size 18 month clothes and 2T. Shower gifts included all kinds of things from toys to gift certs to even a swing set! People were genuinely happy our "babies" were coming home. A sweet co-worker even gave me all her daughter's clothes. Very helpful for those of us spending every cent on an adoption. But it was more than that. It was seeing those people smile for us, for our kids. our kids were at the party! Just a joyous time. It meant they cared about the kids and us.
Now, over the years I've gone to quite a few baby showers. Multiple showers to for children over the years. Meaning one family had a shower, few years later, another shower. Adoptive families will not get two showers. They will be lucky to get one. ( I was lucky) It hurts. I"m going to be honest. It hurts. You want to celebrate your kids' homecoming. You want the world to know. For one set of kids, I sent out adoption announcements. I just wanted to share with the world. I think that is part of the baby shower to begin with....to share with the world your love of your children. It's hard for me over the years to look back at folders with kids things in it. I don't show it to the kids. I know some would have broken hearts thinking that people did not show the same kind of love that they did with our first two kids. I'm talking not even a congratulations card. I guess a part of me hurts for them. What do you say to your kids when they're older? I am fortunate that this last set of adoptions, we received some cards from people across the nation. Fellow adoptive families mostly to show support and love. I know some I never ever got to say thank you to. It really does mean more than you know.
I have saved every single thing I've gotten in support of our adoptions. Even those written on notebook paper. It has meaning. It has heart. It has love and faith. And to me, those are important things to pass onto my kids. I know my kids will have questions. I do. I do not know yet what I'm going to tell all of them. I do know I will be honest with them. A few weekends ago, I received this from one of my cousins: