You have made the courageous decision to pursue adoption. What now? How do you know what type of adoption is uniquely right you for? Where do you start?
I have been right where you are and if it hadn’t been for my best friend working in the field of adoption, my head might have erupted like Mount Vesuvius while I was trying to find the answers. So, here I am to help guide you to finding answers about the adoption process.
Give yourself time: After talking with adoptive moms and experiencing the process myself, the most important piece of information to have before you begin — and during — the process is to give yourself time. When it comes to growing a family, I know the last thing you want to hear is that it will take more time, but I’m keeping it real for you and the truth of it is, it will. Let me break down the why for you: Research. Waiting.
You are about to embark on a journey that brings a new life into your family. That is no small thing. In fact, it is a huge. To do it, you and your partner will need to research and decide what type of adoption is best for you. Maybe you aren’t in a hurry and you want to pursue an international adoption. Are you prepared to wait one, two, three, maybe even four years to see that happen?
Or perhaps you have reasons to pursue private adoption. This requires choosing between a national or local agency. Maybe you have seen the need for foster parents in your community and the idea of choosing a foster-to-adopt path is calling you. Have the hard conversations, do the research, and take the time up front to know what type of adoption fits your soon-to-be growing family.
Now the waiting, you are going to wait on your application. You are going to wait for a first mom — or biological mom — for an agency, for the social worker, for the foster care system to choose you. You are going to wait on that child to be held by you for the first time. There is no way around it. Plan for it. Figure out when you can make your adoption happen in the time you have at that next assignment. Our adoption from start to finish — from the first intake screening to the day we finalized in court — was 21 months. Don’t let anyone tell you that as a military family you can’t make it happen. You absolutely can. I promise, it will be worth the wait.
Talk to your kids: Some of you may already have someone at home that calls you mom or dad. Whatever your unique situation may be, you can’t leave your little humans out of the conversation, because after all you are a family.
When we decided to pursue adoption, our daughter was almost 4 years old. We had some people tell us she wouldn’t and couldn’t understand the abstract nature of adoption. They were so wrong and now at age 8, she can tell us she was so thankful that she was a part of the process from the beginning.
From helping design our adoption book to helping decorate the nursery, to when we surprised her at school the day our little man was born — those are priceless memories and pieces of the journey. I truly believe that including your kids in the discussion from the beginning, and along the way, is absolutely necessary for their development as a sibling and part of the preparation for expanding your family.
Heal your heart: The heart is one of the strongest muscles in your body, but more than likely it is the one that has been hurt time after time, month after month, year after year, wearying it. I know we don’t know each other, but my guess is that you, just like me, have experienced a long battle with infertility or loss that has lead you to adoption (I realize not all of you have, some of you have felt the calling to adopt and that is incredible as well). It is so easy for us to shove the pain and the emotions under the proverbial rug and never fully experience the grieving process of that hurt. I have been there.
It wasn’t until we were trying for Baby Vandament #2 that I finally gave in and let God begin to heal my heart. It isn’t easy. It is some of the hardest soul searching, gut wrenching, come–to–Jesus kind of work you will ever do. It will be an awakening. And I say this with the utmost confidence to you because I lived it: You must grieve your loss, and continue the path that has led you to choose adoption.
Letting go of a lifelong dream of carrying a baby in your belly, feeling those kicks and hiccups, and that perfectly designed moment of bliss when that sweet little newborn baby is placed on your chest, it is all a loss. Mourn it. Cry about it. Talk about it. And yes, get mad about it. Because on the other side of that loss — or shame or anger or hurt — is always healing. This may shock you but you need to hear it, your heart has experienced a tremendous trauma, and you must heal it to move forward. This is the most difficult part of the journey and could take longer than you want. Do the work, feel the feels, & cherish every moment.
If there is one big lie that you have to let go of it is this: the only way to gain the title of mom or dad is through biological children. Run full speed into knowing that no matter the biology, he or she will be yours in the only way that could truly matters: unconditional love.Read comments