My name is Maria Confer. I’m a 32-year-old stay-at-home mama, erstwhile housewife, caretaker of a crazy chihuahua named Pip, ex-fashion blogger, and sometimes lifestyle blogger, with an addiction to ranch dressing and morning smoothies. I currently live in Minnesota with California dreams. This is the story of how I became an adoptive mama.
I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, during the eighties and nineties, with two loving parents and an older sister. My childhood was wonderful and simplistic. As a young child, before I started school, I enjoyed nothing more than spending hours swinging on the swing set in my backyard, digging in the dirt for bugs, and drawing endless pictures. When the weather kept me indoors, I enjoyed playing mama, which was a combination of taking care of my beloved baby doll Emily, and following my mom around the house and helping her clean. My mom taught me how to put a diaper on Emily, as well as feed her, bathe her, and dress her in pretty clothes. When my baby doll was napping, my mom and I would clean the house. These early years spent at home are not only some of my most cherished memories, but were also the foundation for my future. As the years went by, in a blur of school days, sports, and teenage angst, the one thing that always remained constant was that I knew when I grew up I wanted to be a stay-at-home mama. I knew I could have a career of any kind and that I would go off to college, and while there were times I might of entertained becoming a veterinarian, an entomologist, a fashion designer or a teacher, I knew deep down in my bones that my true calling was to be a mother
When I met my husband, Cole, in our first semester of college, we fell in love within a week and were engaged within a month. Mind you, we were only 18 and 19-years-old. When I look back and think about how incredibly young we were, I can’t help but laugh at our seriousness. But we knew what we wanted and went for it. While our friends were off attending rush week and endless keggers, we were going on picnics and spending hours dreaming about our future life together. Probably one of the first “big” talks that my husband and I had in our early relationship was the desire to have a family, and to stay at home and raise them. Why Cole didn’t go running for the hills, I’ll never know. But he got it and respected my dream. We married three years later, graduated from college, and moved to Boston. The first few years of our marriage were spent working hard just trying to make rent. We talked all the time about when we would start a family, how many kids we wanted and how we would raise them. Since we were 21 and 22 when we were married, we decided to wait a few years to start our family. We dreamed of having four children: two biological and two adopted. When the time came to start our family, we were oblivious to the harsh realities and long years that were ahead. The seven years that we hoped and prayed for a family were the making of our marriage. When you can stare infertility in the face and deal with the fact that you will never have a biological child, you discover truths about yourself and your partner that I believe will either make or break your relationship. As heartbreaking and gut-wrenching as those years were, I wouldn’t trade them for the world. They made me realize how much I really did want to be a mama and the lengths I would go to make that happen. I found a strength I never knew I possessed and a husband that would go to hell and back with me. I believe those seven years were a training period, preparing me not only for becoming a mother, but, more importantly, for becoming an adoptive mother.
When the time was finally right to start our adoption journey, we went full steam ahead. I had met a wonderful new adoptive mama, also named Maria, on Instagram and asked her for some advice and words of wisdom. She told me about how her and her husband used an adoption consultant instead of going through an agency. She told me what a world of difference it made to their adoption journey. Cole and I signed up with Christian Adoption Consultants at the end of January. By the middle of March we had completed all of our home study paperwork, the physical exams, and the FBI background checks and fingerprints. We were ready to start meeting with the social worker. These steps may sound simple, but they were intense, scary, and overwhelming. The home study is the make or break of the adoption process. I had this irrational fear that something would go wrong and we wouldn’t be home-study-approved. There was even a strangely confusing hiccup when my fingerprints were rejected by the FBI. I thought for sure that someone had stolen my identity and they were going to send me to jail! Thankfully, I only had to go back to get my fingerprints redone. That hiccup alone pushed our home study back a few weeks. I was also terrified of meeting with our social worker. I worried about the visit to our home and the questions they would ask. It felt like an invasion of privacy. I’m just so thankful that we had an amazing social worker. She calmed my nerves and diminished my worries. She also became a wonderful source of advice and education. We were home study approved on May 9th, 2013. I told our consultant the amazing news, and that day she sent us three birth mother profiles. Our son’s birth mother was the second profile we received. I immediately felt a strong connection and called Cole at work. He agreed that she was everything we had hoped for in a birth mother. We gave the OK to our consultant and that same day, she shipped the family profile, the one she helped us create, overnight to Texas. On May 17th, we hopped on a plane to Paris. Cole had a conference and I tagged along. On May 20th, we found out we had been chosen. On May 25th, I turned 32. To say it was the best birthday I’ve ever had is a complete understatement. Our son Xavier, was born on June 10th in the great state of Texas. I was privileged to be in the room during his birth. It was a surreal moment, charged with big emotions and even bigger fears. We were even blessed with being able to spend the next three weeks getting to know Xavi’s birth family.
Xavi is beyond even my wildest dream. To put it simply, he takes my breath away. On a daily basis, I am overwhelmed with emotion. It seems impossible that he is my baby and I am his mother. I feel so incredibly blessed and thankful. When I stare into my son’s big brown eyes with his ridiculously long lashes, I know why I had to wait seven years, why I had to face all those dark moments, and why I had to struggle. It was so that I could see the light in his eyes, hold him in my arms and be his mother. It was meant to be. We were meant to be a family. I believe that fate brought my husband and me together and that the universe brought us our son.
Adoption is a tough journey. It’s exhausting, scary, expensive, and emotional. You need your eyes wide open, your head on straight, and your heart strong. You need to read, and then read some more. It’s not just about bringing a child into your life, but about changing your whole perspective of what family means and what it looks like. If you choose to become a transracial adoptive family, you’ll face many obstacles, misguided prejudices, rude questions and stares. You’ll have to grow thick skin and prepare yourself and your child for future difficulties. It might sound daunting or overwhelming, but it’s a choice that needs to come from both your head and your heart. Cole and I hope we are lucky enough to adopt again in the future. Adoption is challenging, but once you’re through the other side and blessed with a baby, you know each and every step was worth it.