Turns out, I've had the wrong attitude from the start. I've been defensive and (to be quite honest) a little irritated that I had to "prove" to someone that I was worthy of being a mom. Haven't I been through enough? Would the endless blood tests and the painful shots to the stomach and the numerous trips to see specialists and the hours spent in doctor's offices and the thousands of dollars spent on acupuncture and the thousands of dollars spent on inseminations leave any doubt in anyone's mind that we desired a baby? Did 4 years of trying (and failing) and watching else everyone around us produce gorgeous little miracles wash away any of our resolve? Absolutely not. And now that we are so close to actually getting a baby, we have to endure a HomeStudy??? NOT FAIR!! We have to show someone our house and our living conditions before they let us bring home a baby; they have to administer background checks and make us go to classes...who are they? Nobody ELSE has to do this stuff! If we'd gotten pregnant on our own, nobody would ask how many fire extinguishers we had in our kitchen.
But WOW...was my attitude changed on February 18th. After the meeting with our HomeStudy advisor, I felt like slapping myself in the face. Why in the world did I not see the BENEFIT to having someone PREPARE me for this? There are so many unknowns...I think every new mom would agree. You have no idea what you're in for when you bring that baby home. Nobody really prepares you for the lack of sleep, the constipation from anesthesia, the scabby nipples from breast-feeding, the acne from hormone changes. And every woman is different. Some women can recover from childbirth like Olympic champions. Some women endure varying levels of post-partum depression. You have no idea until it's YOU, so it's not like anyone can tell you step-by-step how it's gonna go. But with adoption, there are a certain number of "known" factors. And the entire purpose of a HomeStudy is to prepare you for those. Instead of being a total brat, I should have been incredibly grateful this whole time.
So now I have a new attitude. A completely new perspective. Our HomeStudy advisor said, "We are not looking for reasons to NOT give you a baby. We are simply preparing you for the day when you bring one home." Brilliant. Why did I not see this?
For all of the times I snarled my lip at the long list of "requirements", I am sorry. For all of the times I expressed my frustration with this process, I am sorry. For all of the times I felt sorry for myself or desired some form of sympathy from anyone, I am deeply sorry. The truth is, without a check-list or a certain degree of preparation, it's entirely possible that I could fall apart. I could hold that baby in my arms and suddenly freak out because we don't have an escape plan or a fire ladder or CPR training. But now we will. Along with some really good advice about how to talk to our child about the fact that he/she was adopted. And we will have a subscription to a magazine that focuses on Adoptive Families. And we will have a support group of friends with adopted kids who know exactly what "the phonecall" feels like.
It's as if someone offered to clean my windshield. I could have driven with a dirty windshield and arrived at my destination just fine, but now I can truly see. Everything is all sparkly and fresh and clean. And it changes everything.