This guest post is by Erin Paterson, an adoptive mother and writer.
What do these boots have to do with adopting a baby?
Before our daughter was born my husband and I spent five days in the mountains trekking under the midnight sun, hoping over ice cold streams, scrambling up large boulders, and stopping to take photographs of tiny wild flowers growing close to the ground.
We drank purified stream water and ate freeze dried food next to rocky cliffs. On the last night we pitched our tent on the beach with a million dollar view of Bennett Lake.
My hiking boots carried me over the entire 53km of trail in Northern British Columbia. It was the trip of a lifetime. Which made returning home to the depressing reality of our infertility even more difficult.
We had been trying to get pregnant for over three years. Starting off with cycle monitoring which turned into back to back intrauterine insemination’s (IUI’s), then quickly snowballed into in-vitro fertilization’s (IVF).
With each failed cycle we lost a little piece of hope that we would ever become parents. After giving it much thought we decided to try private adoption.
We were in the midst of becoming adopt-ready. We had finished our home-study and PRIDE training. Now that we were back from vacation we had the daunting task of creating our adoption profile to deal with.
An adoption profile or parent profile is a portrait created by adopting parents for expectant parents to help them choose their child’s adoptive parents. It felt like our futures depended on our profile.
The pressure to get it right made it very difficult to figure out what to include. There were hundreds of amazing couples that were trying to adopt online. What makes us special? Why would prospective birth parents pick us? I had no idea.
One night I sat down at my laptop with a hot cup of tea on the desk next to me, my hands hovering over the keyboard ready to type. Then I imagined a couple somewhere out there who were making an adoption plan for their baby and I decided to write them a letter.
I wrote about how my husband and I ran several times a week, played on a baseball team together, and loved to go hiking. I spoke about our families, how close were to them and how they were excited to be grandparents one day.
I even described what I envisioned a typical Sunday morning would look like, pancake breakfasts and tickle fights, if we were lucky enough to become parents through adoption. Then we picked out some photographs to add to the book.
One of the pictures we included was us at the top of the Chilkoot pass from our recent vacation. My husband and I were wearing matching blue backpacks that rose above our heads because we had to carry everything we needed with us.
We had on layers of clothing and warm mitts because we had encountered snow at that altitude. On my feet were my sturdy beige and soft blue hiking boots.
We were extremely fortunate to be chosen to be parents of a new born baby girl through open adoption. When we went to visit the birth mom and her family that picture of us at the top of the mountain was one of the pictures they connected with.
A close family member of theirs had gone on a similar trip. The family was also drawn to us because we were both runners, I owned a flower shop and was artistic, and my husband was a engineer who worked in the construction industry.
With the exception of our big vacation, those were pretty normal everyday things. We never could have predicted which pictures would be noticed.
We just showed them who we really were.
You never know how you are going to make a connection so it’s best to just remain true to who you are. I wish you all the best in your adoption journey. I hope that your wait is a short one.
Toronto author Erin Paterson tested gene positive for Huntington’s Disease in 2006. Despite the diagnosis she was determined to have a family and live a joyful life. She is a columnist for HuntingtonsDiseaseNews.com. She has also been published on TheMighty.com, Adopt4Life.com and has written for The Huntington Society of Canada (HSC). She spoke at the Huntington Society of Canada youth conference for the past two years.
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