dream a little dream

I’ve heard a couple of fellow prospective adoptive parents talk about the strange dreams they’ve had related to their adoptions. Up until this point, though, I’ve managed to avoid adoption-related dreams. I am not a good sleeper, but when I am sleeping, I tend to have some pretty vibrant dreams, and I often end up scratching my head in the morning, wondering what the heck a particular dream was all about. I do tend to believe that dreams are a manifestation of some sort of feelings we’re having, even if we’re not fully aware of those feelings in a conscious state.

So, last night I finally had an anxiety-based dream about our adoption. It was one of those that made me wake up with a startle, with my heart beating quickly and tears in my eyes. A deep dream, so to speak.

In my dream, we had traveled to Ethiopia and brought our baby home. We went straight to my mom’s house (which for some reason was our previous house in Baltimore), where several people I didn’t know had gathered. I was upset that people were not sufficiently oohing and ahhing over the baby, but I do have to say that I was good in explaining how we might be limiting who holds or feeds the baby because we were working on attachment. (So good for me for that part.)

At some point in the dream I realized that I was a terrible mother and that I was thoroughly unprepared for the baby, because we did not have any diapers, bottles, food, toys, bibs, clothes, blankets, or anything. But nobody (including Craig) thought that was bizarre. I got upset at myself for being so unprepared.

And then I realized why nobody thought it was weird that we didn’t even have any diapers or bottles. It’s because the “baby” I was holding in my arms was not a baby. It was a doll with a plastic head and stuffed arms and legs and goofy painted-on facial features. (I should also note that the doll was Asian, definitely not Ethiopian.) In the dream, I realized that everyone was just placating me and playing along, like they knew that I was totally nuts and that this “baby” was all I was ever going to have, even after going through the lengthy and arduous adoption process and traveling to Ethiopia. And that’s where I woke up.


I do have thoughts from time to time wondering if this adoption is really going to happen. I guess I’m trying to mentally prepare myself in case something goes wrong. But honestly, it’s not something that consumes me or that causes me a lot of anxiety. I have reached a point where I know, deep down, that it will all work out in the end. (Or at least I thought I had reached that point!) But it seems like this dream was a manifestation of some of those worries and anxieties – that all I’m going to end up with in the end is a doll and a much-needed trip to a mental health facility.

I imagine this won’t be the only adoption-related dream I have. We have lots of waiting time ahead of us, still, and I fear now that the floodgates have been opened. I guess time will tell.

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16 Responses to dream a little dream

  1. Leah says:

    I’ve had some pretty weird adoption dreams myself. Some have been comforting and reassuring and some are definitely playing off my fears.

    I also sometimes think, Is this really going to happen? When it takes so long to start a family, it’s easy to get skeptical.

    But, I do think it’s really going to happen. For you and for me. 😀

  2. Jenny says:

    i had my first weird adoption dream this week too. and my baby turned out to be some little white girl… and she was like 2 years old… ??? like you and leah said, i too wonder if it’s ever really going to happen. it seems so distant right now and i almost can’t imagine it. but i DO think it’ll happen. in time. that’s the hard part… in time.

  3. A.J. says:

    I think we all have adoption dreams. How could we not when it is on our mind so often?

    My dreams have been about being a bad parent or being unprepared, too. But I think it’s just the culmination of the separate adoption stress and parenting stress – it doesn’t mean we won’t be great adoptive parents! 🙂

  4. heidi says:

    Every mam who adopts has weird dreams. I’ve heard some doozys! Just let yourself process and move on. You have to believe it will all work in the end, or you will be living an always depressed life!

  5. Elizabeth says:

    What an unsettling dream! But I think you’re definitely not alone in this one. Every single one of us worries that our adoptions won’t be completed until that baby is IN OUR ARMS. And even then, some of us (ahem, ME) worry that the government(s) will change its mind and say “on second thought, you guys are not good enough parents after all.”
    Sometimes I’m jealous of bio families never having to worry about that.
    But back to the point – I have a feeling there will be more dreams like this to follow. But you’ll be a WONDERFUL mama. I just know it.

  6. Christine says:

    Wow. Crazy dream!! I had some of those too… mine usually focused around the fact that my “baby” was 8, 10, 15, etc. when I brought them home. Pretty obvious what my concerns were as well, huh?!

    I’ve been having some major anxiety-induced dreams recently that stem from the fact that we haven’t finalized yet. It’s just been horrible. I wake up either in tears or feeling like I’m going to be sick to my stomach.

    In other words, I relate.

    (And ironic that the doll was Asian, no?!)

  7. Kelly says:

    Yeah, I’ve had some anxiety dreams related to the adoption too, including that part about having NOTHING for the baby and not being prepared AT ALL. This one was a doozy, eh? Maybe we keep our anxieties at bay during the day and then they seep out into our dreams when we’re sleeping. I know your journey is a long one, but I have no doubt it will end with you guys being parents to a beautiful baby. I just wish I could make time fly 🙂

  8. Christine K says:

    I had some similar dreams while we were waiting. Some of them good, some not so good. Your journey is long, but that just means it will so worth it when you bring your baby home. I know it’s easy to think that it will never happen–I wasn’t reassured until our plane took off in Korea. It will happen for you at the right time, and you will be a great mama!

  9. Jodi says:

    Ew, creepy dream! It makes sense that we dream about adoption since it is on our minds so often, and our anxieties often manifest in our dreams.

    But rest assured, your adoption IS going to happen, and you WILL be a fabulous mommy!!!

  10. angela says:

    One of my early adoption dreams was about an Asian daughter. I didn’t realize she was Asian until she turned around. I think it was because some friends asked me why didn’t I chose to adopt from Vietnam, which is their birth country.

  11. Emily B. says:

    I hate it when I wake up from a dream all sweaty with my heart racing! The worst! I have to say that I haven’t had any adoption specific dreams but I have had my fair share of anxiety dreams during the wait and I am sure they are related. Hope you sleep better tonight! 🙂

  12. E says:

    I don’t like those vivid dreams where it takes a second to realize that it isn’t real….freaks me out. I also think, very deep down, that our adoption process will work out in the end. Somehow. It’s the many unknowns that cause anxiety and worry for me, which in turn result in crazy dreams sometimes. As someone else mentioned, we think about it all the time, how can we expect it to stop just because we’re asleep? lol I don’t think you have anything to worry about being a prepared mom…you definitely will be and you’ll be wonderful!

  13. live2roam says:

    What a dream! I have had bizarre dreams also, and it is freaky. I do think your assessment is correct in that it is some sort of defense mechanism. You will be great! Hang in there!

  14. klarobinson215 says:

    Don’t worry – you real dreams will come true – not this bizaare one I’m sure of it! Wishing you sweet dreams only tonight!

  15. Meg says:

    Thanks for sharing this; I have the same concern ALL the time: that something will happen making our adoption impossible. I think of it everyday and it doesn’t help that there has been some negative press out there these days…I find comfort in knowing that WHFC is taking proactive steps to keep their adoptions ethical. Re: your dream, I too recently had my first…Tim and I were shopping for a new bed when the salesperson said, “we have your referral for you.” I turned around and there were two teenagers looking expectantly at me! Very strange. I guess I am afraid of being referred adolescents when our request is 0-4! And just think, we’ve only been waiting 4 months…we’ll be completely crazy by the time we get to Ethiopia. Meg B-Chicago

  16. Janet says:

    Whoa…that one was a doozy!
    I definitely had the “NOT PREPARED” dreams and worries (upon worries) the adoption wouldn’t happen…that something would go wrong.
    Our brains most certainly do not turn off when we go to sleep…and in fact get a little carried away sometimes.
    Here’s to sending some sweet adoption dreams your way! Those are the best.

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