Pregnant women experience an overwhelming desire to get their home ready for the unborn child. They clean, they organize, they paint and decorate a nursery. They have a deadline, a due date when their baby will descend upon their home, and they need to get it ready for the arrival.
But when you’re adopting you don’t have a due date. Sure, once you match you’ll have the birthmom’s due date. But you may not match with more than a few weeks, or even a few hours, notice. And even then, it might fall through. No, when you’re adopting you don’t know when you’ll bring your baby home until you’re actually doing it. The unpredictability and insecurity of it all makes it hard to prepare.
It seems there are two broad schools of thought on how much you should prepare as an adoptive parent. On the one hand, you may not get much notice, so take this time and get things ready. However “this time” could be long, and it’s hard to pace yourself when you don’t know how long. So many waiting families choose to do nothing, in fear of spending months, or even years, walking past a finished nursery without a baby to use it.
At first I thought my emotionally fragile state meant I should hold off. And yet my type A, planning, organized personality wants nothing more than to nest! I am deprived of so many things that other moms get to enjoy. Why should I deprive myself of this as well? I may be setting myself up for future heartache, or maybe I’ll create myself an oasis where I can sit and dream of my future child, whoever she or he may be.
So I’ve been researching strollers, collecting baby items from friends with older children, and last weekend I painted our spare room, the first step of turning it into a nursery. I’ve had a long time to think about what this nursery will look like. So many details were thought up years ago, but failure and disappointment left that “dream nursery” unrealized. Now I finally get to take the first physical step of bringing it to life. I stared at paint chips for weeks, finally selected a color, and then spent hours carefully applying it to
the walls. But when I stepped back and looked at my handiwork the color wasn’t what I had imagined. It happens a lot, a small paint sample can’t always give you an idea of what the full wall will look like. My husband and friends keep reassuring me. “It looks great,” they say. They’re right, it does, but it’s not what I’d imagined. I wanted grey, and this is more blue. Oh well, I guess we’ll have a pale blue room instead.
But why should I settle? So many things in this process are beyond my control, so much I have to compromise. Yet this is very much within my power to change. For the price of a bucket of paint, I can make this little sliver of my world exactly how I want it. So next weekend I’ll take a few more hours and paint the room again. In an imperfect reality, I’ll get to have one perfect thing.