Our friends threw us a surprise adoption shower last weekend, and it has taken me a full week to find the words to describe how much it meant to us! It was incredible. We are humbled and crazy grateful for friends who support us and are excited along with us in this adoption journey.
The shower was just perfect - a co-ed mingly gathering (like all showers should be in my opinion. Dads are parents too and should be included along with their buddies).
They were sneaky, and completely surprised Mr. Ladd. Although I suspected something, I was shocked at everyone who came to celebrate with us. There were new friends and old friends, neighbors, best friends from college, book club friends, and coworkers all in one place.
This meant so much to me personally in so many ways. For our friends to acknowledge this huge thing that is happening in our family was so important. When you're pregnant, a shower is expected. People wouldn't dream of not marking the occasion and celebrating the expectant parents. But, when you're adopting, especially older children from foster care, sometimes people don't know quite how to approach it.
But it's really simpler than you might realize, and this day was a perfect example of that. Casual, laid-back, with bright colors and fun snacks. Gather friends, some goodies, some drinks, and celebrate the fact that your friends are about to be parents! There was a big "family" banner, signs that said "Welcome Home," "You Are Loved, Always," and "Forever and No Matter What," perfect sentiments about adoption that bring tears to our eyes and will hang in the kids' rooms now. Everyone wrote us a message in the book God Found Us You, and brought sweet cards and gift cards since we don't know exact ages or anything. One friend included a game perfect for our age range of potential kids, and another included shot gun shells for Jeremiah (presumably in case we have a daughter). What a great way to help us as we anticipate going from two to four pretty instantaneously, and all the late night Target runs that are sure to come with it.
I'm going to be straight with you that one of the hardest parts about struggling with infertility, getting an actual diagnosis, and even deciding to adopt has been the "shower" issue. To be real, a baby shower is usually nobody's favorite way to spend a weekend afternoon. It's just not - especially the way it's typically done, with too much pastel, lots of cheesy games, and awkward gift openings. So showers have never been my favorite, but in the face of lots of uncertainty about whether or not we were going to be able to have kids, baby showers became excruciating. The pregnant belly, the onesies, the attention around the mom I might never get a chance to be, was really unexpectedly painful at times.
Then we decided to adopt, and a lot of that became easier, because I had this new positive, exciting change to focus on. There was no longer the question of if I become a mom, but when. But honestly something that is still very tough for me is missing out on some of those "normal things." Because pregnancy is such a common experience for so many people, there is a lot of understanding and comradery among parents, and people don't feel awkward about it. But with adoption, sometimes it's different. There's this feeling of "otherness" and unfamiliar territory that can be really isolating at times. Unless...Unless you have amazing friends who are willing to ask questions and do some investigating, unless they go out of their way to show you how supportive of your new family they are, how excited they are for you, and mark the occasion accordingly. And, that's exactly what our friends did for us last weekend.
This girl! Can't even tell you how grateful I am for her. So, Tara, thank you for hosting and putting together such an incredible shower. Thank you for being excited with us, and always asking questions and being interested. Thank you for listening and caring. And, thank you most of all for being the kind of friend that makes us feel so loved!
Also it poured that day! Appropriate for a shower and also good luck, right?