I love stories. Mostly, I love hearing people talk about their own stories and all the ways life has shaped who they are. Social work is a great profession for these kinds of conversations and I learn more about what inspires then I imagined I would. As a parent, I have recently been interested in hearing about what it was like to meet your child for the first time?
When our son was born, I was unprepared for the reality of this little guy. We had planned for what felt like years for this moment and then I was struck by how overwhelmed I was with the responsibility to ‘cut his cord’. As I gazed at his wrinkled pasty body, he opened his eyes. I was is awe. We made a baby and seriously, were they actually going to let us leave the hospital…and raise him?
I still enjoy listening to pregnancy stories, especially for couples who struggled with fertility. Our first attempt at pregnancy was successful the first time. Our second required medical support and infertility treatment. Expecting a child through pregnancy often inspired others to tell and retell their good, bad, and ugly birth stories. Always though is the climax, the moment they meet their child for the first time and its never the same story.
Adoption stories are without a doubt my favorite. The experiences I have heard often include: taking classes, frequent meetings, interviews, and the wait. After we made the decision to adopt “our own children” we experienced the cost and preparation needed for a home study. No matter how prepared we were for the process, it was, in a word, intrusive. After all of this, there are still no guarantees, simply hope and patience for most adoptive parents. So when the moment arrives to meet your child(ren), I can only imagine the variety of emotions.
My mother-in-law often says she wasn’t expecting to adopt a second child, especially a girl. “She was great though…slept all the time…amazing.” My other mother-in-law describes meeting this same daughter twenty-five years later. “She looked just like my sister.” Whether they realize it or not, when they tell their stories, they get to share with each other what it was like to meet their child for the first time. It’s one of my favorite stories.