Gifts for Mom, Grandparents, Besties and YOU🎄 ➔

Dear adoptive parent-to-be, 

Wherever you may be in your own unique adoption journey, I want to cheer you on and let you know you’re not alone.

While it may feel lonely and uncomfortable and even intimidating, there are some similarities in the process for many adoptive families that might encourage you. 

The leading up to the decision to adopt is its own special story for each family. For my husband and me, the initial desire emerged from an unexpected struggle with infertility. But it didn’t take long for us to see our decision to adopt not as a Plan B but as the definite way we wanted to start our family.

The reality was though, that pursuing adoption was a very different way to become parents compared to almost all our friends who tried for a few months, took a test, and came home from the hospital with a baby nine months later. 

RELATED: The Ache While We Wait to Adopt

When my husband and I were in the early stages of the adoption process, I realized that while there were a few aspects of adoption that mirrored a real pregnancy, we were taking on a role with its own kind of symptoms and milestones. 

I dubbed the moment we met with our social worker to begin the process and the following months my paper pregnancy.

These are some of the notes I jotted down during that time. I don’t know how far along I was, but here are some of my paper pregnancy symptoms and discoveries:

Instead of sore boobs, I’ve got sore wrists from typing so many emails and working on our profile book design.

Instead of fatigue from raging hormones, I’ve got fatigue from staying up way too late working on paperwork and reading our adoption literature.

Instead of checking a website to see what fruit size my baby size compares to, I’m wondering what color skin my child will have.

Instead of going to doctor appointments, I’m setting up home inspections, fire inspections, and background checks.

Instead of looking forward to sonograms, I’m looking forward to phone calls.

Instead of being hungry all the time, I keep forgetting to eat lunch because I’m so busy checking to-do items off our home study list.

Instead of labor and delivery classes, we are meeting with social workers.

Instead of worrying if we’ll have enough money for our child’s college, I’m researching adoption financial aid.

Instead of peeing every 10 minutes, I am checking my phone and email to see if there’s any news from our agency.

Instead of asking a doctor all my pregnancy questions, I’m answering questionnaires about my personal history, beliefs, and plans for the future.

RELATED: The Beautiful And Terrifying Truth Of Adoption

Instead of packing a hospital bag, I’m packing a suitcase since I don’t know how long we will be out of town if we get called out of state.

Instead of losing sleep because of a growing belly and squashed bladder, I am losing sleep trying to imagine all the unknowns that lie ahead.

Instead of having to take a gestational diabetes check, I have to get my fingerprints done.

Instead of worrying if my labor will go smoothly, I’m worried about meeting the birth mom and if she’ll like us.

Instead of making sure we have gas in our car in case of a rush to the hospital, I’m bookmarking airfare sites so we can buy a plane ticket in a snap.

Having a home study to complete with items to check off a list was such a relief compared to the wearisome months of negative pregnancy tests and sadness. Even though my paper pregnancy was very different from my girlfriends’ pregnancies, I made it a point to celebrate the big milestones and involve my little tribe of supportive family and friends in the process. 

After months of work, finally, our drivers’ license and background checks were done, home inspection submitted, medical surveys sent from doctors offices and received by the agency, adoption literature read, references submitted, home visits completed, rounds of payments made, and after many, many prayers we were finally home-study approved. 

It was one of the hardest things my husband and I had ever done.

RELATED: Adoption – When Open Arms Ache and Loving Hearts Bleed

The administrative part was manageable, the financial part took a lot of faith, but it was the vulnerability and emotional toll of giving our all for something that we couldn’t quantify–was there really a child for us at the end of this process? Would we experience more heartbreak if the adoption fell through? We had people inspecting every corner of our lives: our finances, our home, our background, and character. Unlike most of our friends who rejoiced at an unplanned, positive pregnancy test, we had to prove we were worthy to be parents and pour all our hearts into a process that was foreign and had an uncertain end. 

What we didn’t know was that throughout my entire paper pregnancy, our little daughter was being knit together in her birth mother’s womb and being prepared for us to love.

Her conception was most likely around the time we had our first conversation about pursuing adoption. We met with a social worker around the time the birth mom may have had her first doctor’s appointment. If our daughter’s birth mother had a 20-week anatomy scan to determine the gender of the baby, that would have been during the height of our paperwork and appointments.

The point is that the whole time we felt blind and uncertain, there was a baby girl being fearfully and wonderfully made in another woman’s body. I may not have carried her in my womb, but she was certainly being carried in my heart. We may have felt uneasy with the uncertainty of the process, but the little baby girl that we would meet only a few months later would be worth all the discomfort and unknowns.  

If you are in the adoption process now, it may feel never-ending. But it will end! The child who was meant for you will be worth every long appointment, every tough conversation, every dollar spent and every tear shed. Right now you may not even be able to imagine what the future may hold, but don’t give up!

You’re not alone in this crazy process. There is something unique and special for those of us who choose this path. We get to tell our adopted children, “We chose you! We worked so hard for you! We wanted you with all our being! We chose to make you ours forever.” Like my husband and me, you too will have a special story to tell and a remarkable opportunity to support others who will follow this unique path. 

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Lauren Rohwer

Lauren is an undeserving follower of Jesus, wife to her beloved husband, adoptive and biological mom of four (+1 glory baby), and suburban housewife turned farmer's wife. She's currently homeschooling three of her children and in her free time loves to read, write, and hang with her girlfriends. You can read about her transition from the burbs to the barn on her website www.Lauren-hope.com

You Gave Him So Much More than a Haircut

In: Child, Motherhood
Baby boy with long hair, color photo

“Thank you for cutting his hair,” I’ve told Emily many times in passing, or lightheartedly over text. I wish I could show her what it actually means in my heart. “I’ll go in by myself,” he says. Instantly, my mind flashes from the achingly handsome 10-year-old standing in front of me to the toddler he once was. I see his 2-year-old self standing before me in our mudroom. Fresh from Kids Cuts, a soggy sticker on his T-shirt that reads “I GOT MY HAIRCUT.” A red and blotchy face from crying, eyes swollen. The buzz cut was the quickest way...

Keep Reading

Having a Late Preterm Baby Is Hard Too

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother holding infant, color photo

I see you, mama, who holds her breath while they bag your brand-new baby. Asking “is she okay?” and being met with “everything is fine” when you know that everything is not fine. The baby who was due in just a few weeks. The baby, who just a few hours earlier, you joked “wanted to surprise us early.” The baby who was fine on the monitors just minutes before. I see you, mama, when they tell you they are transporting your baby to the NICU. The baby you held for five minutes before they took her to the nursery for...

Keep Reading

You’re Never Alone in the Trenches of Motherhood

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother holding infant, color photo

This one goes out to all the mamas in the trenches. To the mamas in the kitchen stirring dinner with a baby on their hip. To the ones waking up an hour earlier than the rest of the house to pump after waking up countless times throughout the night to attend to both your toddler and baby. The ones who must take care of business from lobbies, bathroom floors, lunch breaks, and the carpool line. To the mamas who pass on their own birthday presents so their kid’s medical bills can be covered. RELATED: This is the Sacrifice of Motherhood...

Keep Reading

Simple Moments Shape Childhood

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy in shallow water of beach

Sometimes it’s the little things that can turn out to be the biggest things. Motherhood has made me appreciate the everyday moments, the simple moments, differently.  Being outdoors with my boys can be simple in theory, but I absolutely love the adventures we take. Whether we are hiking, biking, swimming, exploring, or checking out a new park, this momma knows it is time well spent.  RELATED: I’m Watching You Grow Up in the Little Moments Because whether they realize it or not, these memories being made are the special ones. The ones my boys will carry with them in their...

Keep Reading

When You Stop Running into My Arms, I Pray You Run to Jesus

In: Faith, Motherhood
Child and mother walking on beach in sunlight

I love seeing the light in my little girl’s eyes when I pick her up from school at the end of the day. Her eyes open wide, and she runs to me loudly saying, “Mommy!” for all to hear. I pick her up and give her a big hug and kiss on her cheek. She smiles ear to ear and knows she is loved and adored. She feels safe in my arms, and I pray that never changes. I want to always be her biggest cheerleader and greatest fan–holding the streamers on the sidelines in shades of brilliant gold encouraging...

Keep Reading

I Promise to Show Up for You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter in garden

My child, I hope you know you can count on this: I will show up for you. I will show up when you wake in the middle of the night, when you get up too early or stay up too late. I will be there to make your meals, read you a story, and tuck you into bed. I will show up when you are sick—taking time off work, bringing you to the doctor, cleaning up your throw-up, and sitting up with you. I will show up at every game, sitting in the stands or a camp chair, freezing or...

Keep Reading

A Strong Woman Does Not Always Feel Strong

In: Motherhood
Woman holding baby on beach, color photo

You feel weak, mama, but you are strong  We wear our strength in many forms, barely noticing the feats we accomplish daily.  The strength of a mom can be seen carrying grocery bags from the trunk to the house, upstairs and down again, with a baby strapped to her chest.  The strength of a mom is pushing two kids on swings next to each other while inwardly dealing with a recent miscarriage eating away at her heart. She holds back tears while picturing a newborn in a stroller nearby watching. And the hole deepens. Yet she carries on.  The strength...

Keep Reading

When You Feel Like You’re Failing, Know You’re Not Alone

In: Motherhood
Tired woman sitting in messy child's bedroom

Dear parent, you are going to fail. You are going to fail over and over again while parenting. I don’t care if you have nine children or one. I don’t care if you are a step-parent, an adoptive parent, or anything in between—you are going to fail. Over and over again. But the great thing about kids is God made them so resilient and forgiving, so He could show us grace on earth.  I have forgotten to send the paperwork to the school. I have forgotten about events and practices for the kids.  RELATED: I May Fail, But I’ll Go...

Keep Reading

Our Nanny Is a Special Part of Our Family

In: Motherhood
Family with nanny, color photo

The saying is “it takes a village,” and I didn’t know how true this would ring until I had children of my own. Within ours, I anticipated family, friends, the church, and various members of the community. What I never anticipated was the special role our nanny would fill within our family. As working moms, leaving our kids in someone else’s care is hard, no matter the circumstances. We wonder if they’ll miss us and whether their day will still feel full in spite of our absence.  Ever since we brought our nanny into the family, I’ve never had to...

Keep Reading

Maybe Motherhood Is a Chance to Begin Again

In: Motherhood

It’s a funny thing when you have your own children, only then do you start to see yourself in such a way that you’ve never seen before. Terrifying yet beautiful. Before you become a parent, you have this vision of how you swear you will parent. It may be an exact replica of how you were parented or may be completely different. The only guarantee is that you don’t actually know until you become a parent. Some days you hear yourself and you sound just like your mother, your father, your grandmother, your aunt, or anyone who was around long...

Keep Reading