What does preparation look like for the adoptive parent?
R’s nursery before R. There was no trip to Buy Buy Baby to create a registry. I eventually created one. Out of necessity. It felt very utilitarian. The basics. But then little by little, Ethan and I would creep into the tiny room and start to prepare for bringing home baby.
That little nursery. I would just stand in it and be still. Sitting in the rocker I would breathe. It was a form of prayer and meditation. It was how I prepared to welcome my child home. It’s also where I prepared for the alternative. I was prepared to put it all away if we came home from Florida without our child. I had a spot for everything to disappear into.
Eventually we were prepared-but just out of site- we had all the supplies, but still in boxes or in storage….everything was planned and then we would try to forget about it until it was time to hit “go”. Then you have to be prepared if it all falls through. Who has the apartment keys? Who can put the crib away? Put the diapers in storage? Who is waiting in the wings to comfort?
No one is ever prepared for parenthood until it happens. In some ways I felt so prepared for the big stuff. Ethan and I sat through our home study visits and talked about values, religion, discipline, our pasts. The home study can be feared- but it was such a blessing and a way to deeply prepare Ethan and I for parenthood. We couldn’t change a diaper for shit (pun intended) and swaddling wasn’t my strong suit, but, adoption prepares for parenthood in the most glorious ways I think.
We left for Florida with 3 suitcases. One for me. One for E and one for a baby that I hoped to high heavens was my child. The preparation to fly that afternoon was magical and terrifying. I had packed our bags mentally for weeks. Packing each onesie, each blanket with such care. I remember zipping up the baby’s suitcase and praying, hoping, wishing, that everything inside would come home covered in spit up and smelling of my newborn. And it did. And so, with one suitcase and a plan to buy a pack n play at a Kmart in FL, I was as prepared as I was ever going to be to start the adventure.