January 30, 2008

The In-between Time

We are ready. The cloth diapers are folded and the bottles washed. A blank copy of my favorite baby book rests next to Puppy's on the bookshelf. One of the families in our playgroup gave us two enormous boxes of girl clothes that have been sorted and stowed away. The bassinet finally made it into our bedroom, lined with its cheerful red-and-white bedding. We have done the things we hoped to do to prepare Puppy.

And so we wait. I don't even know that we're waiting for Ms B's daughter to be born as much as we're waiting for this to be over. One way or another, to be done with this time in which we're almost parents of two, but not quite yet. Just to know where we stand again.

I kind of hate this part. I am good at waiting to match and I'd like to think I'm decent at playing my post-adoption role. But this in-between time is draining. The time between being told hey, you're going to have a kid and that kid actually becoming yours. When the end of one woman's parenting overlaps with the preparation for your own to begin. Most days it doesn't affect me too much outwardly, but I notice it sapping some of my emotional energy. Other days it stretches me thin until I break at the most inane provocation. Poor T bears the brunt of those moments because I think he will be the only one who will understand.

We happily prepare to welcome a child while also remaining able to gracefully step aside if Ms B's plans change. It's what we must do that until the day it all becomes final. If Baby B does end up staying with us, we will look back on this in-between time and say, "This is when we first started loving you." Retroactively it will become the beginning of our parenting.

If you overheard us talking, you might mistake us for some couple about to have a baby the usual way. We talk about those eminent sleepless nights, wonder where that last box of baby gear is hiding in the garage, joke about not being ready for two kids. But if you listen closely, you might notice that we talk about "the baby" or call her by her name. But we never say "our baby." It's amazing how much is caught up in that one little word.


Anonymous said...

Really thinking about you right now. When do you anticipate the baby to be born?

Sending blessings to Baby B and her family!

Anonymous said...

Red and white bedding? Lovely!

Tammy said...

I'm not sure why this post brought me to tears except it did. I was blessed in one way as in both our experiences, the in-between was fairly short. With Bug, it really was 48 hours (although we though it would be about 3 weeks) so we barely had a chance to breathe and think and prepare. With Si, it was a couple weeks (potentially four) so even then, we didn't have that long, but it was hard nevertheless.

This is the unique experience, the in-between, for those waiting to adopt, this living between the now and the not yet, the reality on one side, the hope on the other and the potential for just about anything in the middle. And that "just about anything" contains a multi-faceted bunch of things, including pure grief and sadness on one hand, and joy and hope on the other, and knowing all that is coming (in the second time around anyway...) makes it so very hard too.

And this is especially if you are living as you are, and as we did, with a heart prepared to parent and love a child, but prepared equally as much to do as you said, step aside if another decision is made. All of you... including Ms B and her baby are in my prayers right now.

Many blessings...

Corey~living and loving said...

oh my.....the waiting....and wondering. YOu are a strong woman. I admire you for keeping things in perspective as much as you possibly can.

Kathy's Korner said...

Its such a careful dance. Like holding your breath almost for what seems an enternity. The what ifs abound. While doing exactly what you said...preparing to step aside if you need to. Preparing to think that the preparations you made weren't actually for THIS particular baby after all. Preparing preparing.

Hang in there.

Clementine said...

First of all, happy birthday to you! I hope you're enjoying your special day.

Second, your post makes me think back to the time when Hester was born--it was such a swirl of emotions for me. Although Ariana and Bobby wanted us in the labor and delivery room so that we might start to bond with Hester right away, I was *very* aware that she was their precious baby, not ours. I remember kissing her sweet little head and not daring to call myself her Mama, only telling her that I loved her with all my heart. It wasn't until Hester was placed with us that I let myself start thinking, "This is my daughter."

My thoughts are with you andyour family, and with this precious little girl and her family.

Anonymous said...

I've been completely submerged in moving-overseas mode that I just today realized "Heather!" She might have a baby already!

I agree that this waiting time, reguardless of the length, is so difficult...complex...emotional. On one hand you want to give yourself completely to being this child's mother, you don't want to hold back your affection if it is, indeed, going to be your child. At the same time, it is necessary to do so, reserving attachment for the time when the baby actually is yours.

I think that I didn't really allow myself to start bonding with our son until after we had finished inter-state stuff and returned back home with him. Until then I was taking care of him, but not really claiming him. It still felt like his first mother's time.

Thinking back I wish I had opened my heart more completely, but I just didn't know how. I think I'll know better next time. Anyway, all that to say this time is HARD and I'm thinking of you.

Shawn and Lisa said...

I know exactly what you mean. We just entered the post-match/pre-baby time this week and already I feel awful. It's a tough emotional line to walk realizing that you are very, very excited to have your daughter on the way, but you are also aware that she’s not your daughter yet, and she might never be.

We are meeting the mom who has chosen us today for the first time and I am an absolute ball of nerves. I just keep hoping it will go well and that I won’t accidentally say anything stupid. I actually got my hair cut and dyed for the occasion (as if she will be thinking, “Look at her beautiful hair! I bet she would be a great mom!”).

Clickin Mama J said...

Oh I can so relate to your post. I'm in the waiting and overlapping stage myself. It's an odd place to be. Exciting and terrifying at the same time. Best wishes to you all!

Andromeda Jazmon said...

God Bless you all and bring a healthy, easy delivery. There is nothing like this waiting time.

Clementine said...

Whatever is happening on your end, I'm thinking of you today.

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