Yesterday was the big annual adoption fair in our city. It was very surreal for me to be there this year. I went last January 28th with the intention of getting some info on how long the singles waiting lists for China had gotten. I was turning 34 in February and had decided that I needed to start moving forward with my plans for motherhood. But as a result of this adoption fair, my conversations with 2 women I met at different agency booths, and an adoption seminar the following weekend... my life and my plans changed drastically. I don't want to repeat the whole story again so click here and read that to understand why this event was so significant in my life and click here if you want to read about all the signs to point me in the right direction that followed.
I found both of the women that I spoke to last year and filled them in on the happenings over the past 12 months. They were both thrilled! These two women represented the only two agencies that I tried to work with. The first one I got on a waiting list with and the second provided me with my singles spot immediately and became my agency. All of the people I spoke to last year at the other booths were not very welcoming. They all tried to steer me away from China adoption because of the long waiting lists for singles. Not only were these two women very supportive and extremely personable, but I remember opening up and talking to both of them about my plans. Plan A and Plan B. I felt the need to stress over and over to them that I wasn't ready to move towards adoption but that I was going to try to get pregnant first. They both listened with no judgement. Complete strangers. I ended up talking to both of these women individually for about 45 minutes each. So to find them again, tell them how much I appreciated that, and deliver the good news was so meaningful to me and will be a part of this journey that I'll never forget.
This day was even more surreal to me in the fact that I participated in the fair this year! Our "Single Adoptive Moms Group" had a booth to recruit others. Last February, I met Kati and Kim in our parent education classes which were required as part of our homestudy. We immediately bonded as the only singles there. We formed friendships that started with just the 3 of us hanging out, talking, going to dinner. We realized how valuable this resource was for us. The support, the connection, the shared experiences of other single women who are going through the same thing. So we sought out a formal organization only to find out that our city didn't have one. Surrounding big cities did .... but not ours. We decided to start it ourselves and the "Single Adoptive Moms of Dayton" support group was born! Here's me and Kati at our booth.
We have moms represented from China, Vietnam and Guatemala so far. Some are home with their children, others of us are waiting still. Yesterday we recruited a Kaz mom, a few paperchasers representing these same 3 countries and even a few thinkers. We had a representative from our local children's services agency ask if she could put our group info in their newsletter because they have single moms who've adopted domestically or through foster to adopt. The more the merrier! So we should start to see some new faces amongst us soon. How exciting!
This is Kim. She had her own booth representing the organization that gave her a financial grant to assist in the adoption of her 7 yr old son from Guatemala. She was required to promote the organization as a part of the agreement with accepting the grant. Our booths were right next to each other so we got to hang out all day. Several of our other moms came by throughout the morning, too, so we had an impromptu get together right there at the fair. I always enjoy spending time with these women. They're all remarkable in their own right and I truly feel comfortable amongst them. We all "get it" and never have to offer explanation or listen to criticism about our single mom status. If those of you out there don't have this kind of support, whether you're a single mom or an adopter or whatever it is you need to feel connected, go find it or start your own group. It is a priceless treasure.
So this was a very full circle moment kind of day for me. To be standing in the place that literally changed my life, to be there with 3 very good friends that I wouldn't have known otherwise, to have a booth there with them and to now be so engrossed in this adoption community was an amazing feeling. Just goes to show you how much can change in a year's time.