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Adoption Blog: My Paperwork Pregnancies

What to Expect When You’re… Adopting
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When you choose to adopt, you are forgoing the dream of a physical pregnancy. Instead, you get to experience what I call an “adoption pregnancy.” 

When a woman knows she will become pregnant, she may get her body ready by taking prenatal vitamins. For the adoptive couple, this is when they begin researching adoption. Reading books, attending adoption support meetings, and reading blogs become common tasks.

Just as fertile couples can take awhile to conceive, adoptive couples can take their time too. I have seen couples take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to decide from where and with whom they are going to adopt.

I think of the adoption “conception” as a long process that includes completing inches thick of paperwork and the home study.

A fertile couple gets a positive on a home pregnancy test to help pinpoint when they conceived their new baby. The adoptive couple’s “conception date” is when they send in the final piece of adoption paperwork. It is from this day forth that they are expectant parents, just like fertile couples.

The pregnant woman knows that her gestation will be around nine months. But those in adoption don’t know how long theirs will last. There is no expanding belly acting as a timer for when a baby will arrive in their lives. This can be an emotional time.

Keeping faith in the adoption process is very trying for an adoptive couple when their “pregnancy” stretched on much longer than expected. They may lose faith and begin to believe that they will never be able to adopt a child. This is when they must remind themselves that they ARE expectant parents.

A pregnant woman can experience a quick or slow delivery. The delivery stage for the adoptive couple can also be fast or slow. This “delivery” begins as a match with a potential birthmother or child, and ends when their child is in their arms.

Two of my adoptions were fast “deliveries.”  We received a phone call for each saying that a baby had been born and we were chosen to be their parents. An example of a slow “delivery” would be if an adoptive couple was matched with a three-month pregnant potential birthmother.

What happens if there’s a failed adoption? In this context I would call it a false labor. You thought it was the time for delivery but alas it was not. You must wait longer until it’s time for the real deal.

After Delivery
The good news is that once the child is finally in their parents’ arms, there is no emotional difference between the fertile or adoptive couple. Both get to experience the joy of new parenthood in the same, wonderful way. 

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Meet the Author

Danielle Pennel

Danielle Pennel


I have recently adopted or am adopting from...
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Newborn

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