Friday, July 20, 2018

A Trip Down Memory Lane

For keepsakes, biological parents have pregnancy tests, maternity clothes, and grainy images of ultrasounds.  Us adoptive parents have...paperwork, just lots of paperwork.  Agency brochures, home study applications, criminal checks, profile questionnaires, court documents, and receipts, oh so many receipts.

One tangible implication of giving up on a fourth adoption and calling it a day in terms of adding children to our family is that I finally got around to going through all the stacks of adoption paperwork that had accumulated over the years.  Aaron's, Jada's, and Asher's all got sorted into neatly labeled sets of folders, as did papers from various failed adoptions (several in the past two years, but you may not know that we actually were in line for a second China adoption right after Jada that never happened).

It was a trip down memory lane.  Remembrances of endless nights of filling out, sorting through, and submitting papers, yes, but also the human parts of the adoption processes: our very first orientation, papers from our trip to China, and mementos from readoption ceremonies in various courtrooms around Pennsylvania.

A particularly emotional part of this rummaging was finding and reading reference letters from friends whose vouching for Amy and me as good people was part of the approval process for being able to bring babies into our family.  Obviously, your friends and family help you big time when you get pregnant and bring a life into this world, but in a different and profoundly necessary way these letters, and the people who took the time to lovingly write them, are a part of the forming of our family.  There was even a reference letter from my best friend from college, who tragically passed away before he got a chance to meet the little Chinese girl who his kind words helped bring into our family.  I never got an opportunity, except at his gravesite, to introduce him to the daughter he assisted me in securing.

The papers are now tucked away in my closet, should any of our kids have interest in learning more about their backstory.  But the memories will forever be a part of my heart.

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