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If you didn’t catch my most recent post, I shared the rest of our adoption journey to bring Theo home. We are officially a family of three now and I am learning to navigate post-adoption life, as a new mom. It has been almost six weeks since we arrived back in the U.S., with our newest addition. We are all learning through this process. Theo is learning English and how to deal with this new environment. We are learning how to parent a toddler boy and how to continue to have a healthy marriage through it all.
Expectations vs. Reality of Post-Adoption Life
Even though you are preached to, throughout adoption training, to not have expectations, it is just the human thing to do. It is almost unavoidable. I do think the training was beneficial. At least when our expectations were not met, we weren’t surprised by it.
For example, I expected to get more sleep. Yes, I knew jet lag was real and it would most likely be harder on a toddler, than it was on us, but I didn’t really think it would last long (wrong). I thought toddlers slept through the night (wrong). The truth is that jet lag can last 2+ weeks, when the time difference is 13 hours. Also, not all (or even most) toddlers sleep through the night.
We wake up at least once a night. Even now, over a month since arriving home. Most of the time, Theo ends up in our bed, because it’s easier for us all to get back to sleep. Then, I wake up early, usually with a little foot in my face.
Navigating the Post-Adoption Marriage Waters
We knew that adding a child to our lives, would cause our marriage dynamic to change. Again, we read all the books and took all the classes. We were prepared. But are people who say that they are prepared, ever truly prepared? Probably not.
Fortunately (or unfortunately), we have been through some pretty tough stuff over the first four years of our marriage. The kind of stuff that makes your marriage stronger, if you stick it out. When agencies and different countries have rules on how long they want you to be married, before you can adopt, this is why. They want to know that the roller coaster experience of adopting a child, isn’t going to cause you to yell, fight, and get a divorce.
The way we communicate now is so much more important, than how we communicated before.
Slowly, but surely, we are figuring out what it looks like to be both a spouse and a parent. So far, nothing is on fire. That’s something.
The Joy of Post-Adoption Life
The one expectation that has consistently been met and even exceeded, is the joy I just knew I would feel, once we were home. Even in the hardest moments. Even when I just want to lock myself in the bathroom, for a moment alone. I am continuously reminded of that joy. Every “Mama!” is like a sweet song of hope. He is my answered prayer, in every way.
I didn’t give birth to him and he doesn’t have an ounce of my DNA, but he is my son. That love is real and like no other.
If you are going through the adoption process or have recently completed an adoption, hang in there Mama! It’s hard, but it is so so worth it!
Until next time!