Life changes when you adopt. Not just the fact that you're becoming a parent & have to worry about this amazing new responsibility. You have a different outlook on life. The things that you once valued no longer seem important. The people in your life change.
Before we had Erin, I was never home. David has known from Day 1 that I am an amazingly social creature. Whereas he could care less about being with people, I crave socialization like most people crave oxygen. I'd leave the house in the morning for work, come home after work & many nights go out again. Now I wasn't going out & partying but I wasn't home. Maybe I was out to dinner with friends or at their home. Maybe I was at a local bookstore. It doesn't matter now.
Before we had Erin, most of our friends didn't have children. It just sort of happened that way. We never planned that, but face it, we didn't have much in common with people who were parents. In fact, for me, it just hurt to be around people who were called mommy & daddy. I had friends who had children, & I spent time with them. I was strict & had no idea that flexibilty was a necessity. I thought that what an adult said was law. Ha! Anyway, it doesn't matter now.
When David & I finally decided to pursue adoption, we got all kinds of unsolicited advice. If someone had an opinion about anything, we heard it. I got lectures on the different kinds of formula & why I should use one versus another. I got lectures on store bought baby food versus homemade baby food. People told me what colors I should paint the baby's room. It was crazy, but people kept telling me that I had no clue how my life was going to change.
DUH!! Of course, I kept telling these same people that I did know my life was going to change & that they needed to be prepared for it all. Let's face it. I was going to be a mommy which meant staying home - no more going out every evening. I was going to need to find daycare, schools, a pediatrician & so on. The biggest change was that I wasn't going to be available to my friends at the drop of a pin because I would have my own responsiblities. No one believed me. They thought I was living in a dream world. Ha!
Adoption changed me in so many ways! David & I had always considered international adoption. It didn't matter to either one of us if our child didn't resemble us. We were more worried about his parents & my grandfather. More on that in another post though.
Now that we were pursuing international adoption & had decided upon China, we moved to the first stage of change. I found a group of women & men who were also pursuing adoption - some with our amazing agency & some who were using other agencies. We became the February Waiting Hearts. There were daily emails, weekly chats, cyber baby showers, plenty of laughter & plenty of tears. All of a sudden, I wasn't going out anymore. I was racing home to sit in front of my computer & chat with people I had never met. We dealt with so many things & never met each other. But these people understood me like no one else ever had or ever will. No one can ever tell me "it's too hard to deal with the flu." Ha! As my friend Parris-Lynn says "We survived SARS. We can survive anything."
The people in our lives are no longer the same people. Those old people who told me that I was in for a shock? Most of them didn't stick around. They couldn't handle the fact that I wasn't available to them anymore. I called it. But, that's okay. I surround myself with a bunch of people who are in the same boat as I am. They're also called Mommy & Daddy. Most of their families resemble mine - older parents with children who will never resemble them but who love them to pieces.
Here we are. Our dossier went to China on February 28, 2002. We got The Phone Call on April 1, 2003. We traveled to China on May 30, 2003 & came home on June 11, 2003.
It's been a long road. Just so we could be called Mama & Dada. The changes? I'm glad they happened.