The degree of my ignorance when we started the adoption journey was epic. We were thrust into the world of adoption by an expectant mother looking for a family to place her unborn child with. We were contacted out of the blue with little time to learn about what lay before us. Knowing these seven things before we headed into adoption would have been helpful.
- We are still infertile – From the start I wish I would have known that adopting a baby does not actually cure infertility. Holding my child in my arms does not make pregnancy announcements easier to hear. Nor do baby showers become less daunting. It is not that I want different children, it is just that I wish I could have carried them, breastfed them, and saw the reflection of my husband and I in them. My children are perfect the way that they are, but there are some experiences that I wish I could share with them.
- Placement is not the endpoint – On our quest to starting a family, I was so hyperfocused on bringing home a child that I did not see what lay beyond placement. I was on a mission and bringing a child home was the ultimate endpoint. I can remember the first night home I had to do a load of laundry later into the night and I cried tears of relief because the load of laundry I was doing was for my child. We had arrived at our goal and I was taking it all in. Eventually, the honeymoon period wore off and reality took hold. I had a human to raise into a wonderful adult. I had not arrived, I had just begun.
- Adoption is no small thing – At the start of our journey, I viewed adoption as just another way of growing a family. We would be just like everyone else with the exception of how our children joined our family. The further we go down this road, the more I see how adoption impacts our lives. Our children are just getting old enough to grasp that not everyone has a birth mother and adoptive mother. Questions crop up into everyday life. There are birth family relationships to navigate and as our children get older there will be, Lord willing, biological siblings to connect with. The further we go, the more I see adoption as a prominent thread in our lives.
- There is so much grey – I love black and white answers. I want things to be clear cut. Entering the world of adoption was an eye opener. There are so many types of families and personalities that there is rarely a one-size-fits-all answer. A lot of adoption is figuring it out as you go along. You have to learn to trust yourself that you are capable of making the right decision for your child and your family.
- The love I have for the birth families – I never would have guessed how much I love and care about the families that brought us our children. Yes, they did a tremendous, selfless thing that made us parents, but my love for them does not end there. I want to encourage them to be the best people they can be. I wish the best for their lives. They completely changed our lives and I want to see them transform themselves.
- The love I have for my children – Honestly, I am not sure anyone could have braced me for the love I feel for my children. There are no words to explain how I feel. I would go to the ends of the earth for them. I love them from a place so deep inside that I did not know it existed until Turkey-Man was born. Seeing him made me know that I would have gone through ten times the pain if I had only known he was waiting for me in the end. The love I have for them takes my breath away and would have helped sustain me during the low points in our journey.
- The support that is out there – I am one who likes to struggle alone and hide that. I don’t want people to know that I am having a hard time. To find the plethora of support that is available has made it much easier for me to work through the challenges. It is wonderful being able to get online with a bunch of other adoptive parents and say, “I am having a hard time with X” and see the responses roll in. There are people out there struggling with the same sort of thing, you just have to be willing to reach out.
I had no idea what type of world I was entering into when we got the call asking if we would become adoptive parents. Lots of questions began from that moment, but few answers appeared. Hopefully, this post will give you the springboard you need in learning how to navigate this journey!
So well expressed, Amanda.