4 Important Lessons Adoption Taught Me
I went in to adoption with very little exposure of the concept. I didn’t have much knowledge on the subject nor know anyone personally who had adopted. It seemed so far-fetched, a mountain we couldn’t possibly climb. I was overwhelmed at the information online and the endless resources. In the beginning, I was paralyzed with fear and doubt. I had always been a planner. I had my life organized and as predictable as I could make it. That predictability made me feel safe and in control. But the path to adoption took my control away and carried me so far away that I could only see my safety zone in the far distance. And I’m so glad it did.
Here are five life-changing lessons that adoption has taught me. They have truly altered my life for the better and I’m thankful to the process for forcing me from the safe box I’d always lived in.
- Letting go of control. Beautiful things happen when we let go of control. Life changes. We become open to different possibilities. We started the adoption process and I quickly realized that my husband and I wouldn’t have control over much of anything. We didn’t get to make decisions about the pregnancy, where our child would be born, the color of their skin, or when we would first get to hold him/her in our arms. During these years we went through the adoption process that brought us two daughters, I found a renewed spiritual energy that I’ve never experienced. Because I knew I couldn’t possibly control what was going to happen, I turned to the Universe and knew that what was meant to be, would be. I talked to God more and worried less. I showed compassion and love to whomever I could and hoped it would boomerang back to us in return. My daughters are now 2 and 3 years old and I still feel this overwhelming peace of knowing that God is working magic every day.
- Saying YES when your mind tells you no. Because my arms were aching so badly for a little being, we said yes to a lot of things that were extremely scary and uncomfortable. Drug exposure? Yes. Illness? Yes. Disabilities? Yes. Stork drop situations? Yes. We decided to be open to every situation and let God lead the path to our child, wherever he/she may be. If we would have said no to one question or one phone call, I would not have my two daughters. Let that sink in for a minute. If we would have said no out of fear and doubt (like my brain wanted me to so many times), I would not have my children. I remember many phone calls where I was thinking “no, no, no, this doesn’t feel right” and as if I had no control over my speech, I would hear in my own voice “yes”. They are the best things I ever said yes to.
- Embracing your emotions – the good, the bad, especially the ugly. Most of us are taught to hide our emotions or feelings. We sweep grief and anger under a rug where they stay and fester. We’re told that crying isn’t okay. We put on a face and smile at strangers when inside we’re hurting. This path to adoption delivered every emotion under the sun. We were handed hardships and grief, unknowns and fear, joy and gratitude, confusion and helplessness. With each thing that came our way, I tried my hardest (and against my natural tendencies) to let it be okay. I confided in a couple close friends and felt naked and vulnerable. I wrote about hard days on social media and felt support flowing from people who knew us. As emotions came and went, I tried to let them be okay. I cried in inappropriate places, I hugged random strangers, and I gave myself and my husband as much grace as I could possibly muster. I knew we were experiencing some of the toughest days we’d face in this lifetime and we’d only survive by letting our feelings be with us – for whatever amount of time they needed to.
- Unending gratitude. It’s normal human tendency to get caught in the rut of life and lose sight of what is most important. It’s easy to get sucked in to entitlement and negativity. I’ve lived in that space before. But the adoption process set me free in so many ways. I saw how perfectly my family was created and somehow this relieved all the pressure I had felt to do it myself. I look at my children every day and I’m reminded of miracles. Sure, we get caught up in the day-to-day chaos just as any other family does. But I love that my children don’t look like me. I love remembering where they came from and how they came to me. It reminds me of miracles every single day. Every night I tell them how much I love being their mama and I can’t help but remember exactly how I gained that title. I live life with so much more gratitude and joy. I live life without sweating small things anymore because I know how insignificant they are compared to what we’ve been through. My kids, their birthfamilies, our story, it’s something that inspires me in every way. I will be forever grateful.