I received word today that family members and friends were initiating some conversations to plan a baby shower for Jennifer and me. It's tremendously thoughtful of them and while we definitely plan to celebrate at some point, we've also decided that we can't allow ourselves to do that until our child is in our arms and at home with us.
In adoption parlance, there's an event known as "a disruption", when a placement falls apart at the last minute, most often as a result of the expectant mother changing her mind after the baby is born. This is absolutely her right and until she hands us the baby and tells us that the little girl is ours to raise, we have no claim on her. Nevertheless, knowing it and going through it after getting our hopes up are two entirely different things.
Close friends went through a disruption. They arrived at the hospital after the baby was born and as they walked down the hallway, someone standing in the doorway of the birth mother's room said to the folks in the room "Oh, they're here." Our friend turned to his wife and said "She's changed her mind", knowing instantly from the tone of voice. He was right. Thankfully, another opportunity arose for them within a week or two to fill the void.
The agency we're working with takes great pains to minimize the instances of disruption by offering the expectant mothers counseling and support throughout the process, enabling them to identify instances where the expectant mother really might not be completely sure of her decision. Still, after all the steps we've gone through and still have ahead of us, nothing is definite until the birth mother makes that final decision and we are given the opportunity to take our baby home and start our lives as a family.
Until that happens, I think we'll be asking family and friends to hold off on the showers and the celebrations. There are enough things left to be done that there's no sense jinxing it, there's no need to get everyone ramped up about it, and the disappointment from a disruption would be bad enough without coming home to an empty nursery and stacks of baby gifts for a baby we don't have yet.
There will be plenty of time to celebrate -- years of birthdays and graduations and potty training and visits by the tooth fairy. There's no need to rush right now.