5 Things You Should Know About Adoption
- It will cost you. I’m not just talking money here. Although you may find yourself spending every last penny in your bank account, certainly. But adoption costs a lot more than that. Adoption is sacrifices. It’s compromise, waiting, and a lot of unknowns. It’s wanting to ask a million question and likely never getting an answer. It will cost you heartache and joy. It may cost you friendships with those who couldn’t possibly support and understand you in the way you need for your unique situation. It costs you giving up your dreams of a perfect round belly, labor, birth, and all the decisions made during the pregnancy because all of that is up to an expectant mother carrying the child. Adoption is beautiful, joyful, and will take you on the greatest adventure. But not without sacrifices along the way.
- It will not heal infertility. Don’t pursue adoption thinking that the sweet blessing at the end of it will heal you. In some ways, it may. You’ll fall in love with those sweet eyes and tiny hands in an instant, I can assure you of that. The hardships that led you to adoption will start making sense. But after the outpouring of love, joy, and adrenaline of the adoption fades, you may feel your hurt from infertility creep back in. Having a baby does not fix your scarred heart. It does not fix infertility or the pain that comes along with it. That takes its own time and healing and that’s okay.
- It doesn’t end once you have your babe in your arms. So many people (mostly those that are unfamiliar with adoption) assume that adoption is done once your child’s adoption is finalized. You’ll likely hear careless comments such as “can you stop talking to the birthmother now?” or “do you have to communicate with the birthfamily anymore?”. Be prepared for such insensitive comments but answer carefully because your child will grow up hearing your responses. But for all sides of the adoption triad, adoption is never finalized. It will forever be an unfolding story and navigation of unknown territories. It’s important for the adoptees that their unique story and roots are recognized and talked about. If you have any kind of contact with the biological family this will add another layer to your adoption that can be such a gift to the adoptee.
- It’s full of pain. Adoption is painful. It’s full of grief and heartache for everyone involved – perhaps at different parts of the journey. When we started the adoption process, I couldn’t wait to meet our child. I swore I’d be the happiest and most content I’d ever been. That ended up being true. But in the same exact moments that I was feeling joy, I also felt immense heartache and even guilt. I constantly thought of what my child’s birthmother must have been feeling. With the amount of love in my heart for my children I simply couldn’t fathom letting them go for a chance of a different life. The twisted mix of emotions is mentally exhausting on top of the physical exhaustion of caring for a young child. Aside from that, many hopeful families also experience disrupted adoptions, witness unethical adoption practices, or may even be chosen by a birthfamily but lose that child weeks later because the birthparents decided to parent after all. Not to mention that financial strain and risk of losing sizable amounts of money with no guarantees of becoming a parent.
- It’s full of beauty. Oh, the beauty. Of all my life experiences (in my short 32 years so far), I am most thankful for the experience of the adoption journey. Of course, it led us to our perfect children and love like I never knew was possible. But all the lessons that I leaned along the way were so unexpected. In the moments, I didn’t see most of these lessons unraveling before me. I suppose they shaped me, changed me over time. But I look back at our journey and weep at all the stars that had to perfectly align to bring my children and their first families in to our life. I learned patience and had my faith tested to the limits. My marriage has transformed – it’s deeper and more meaningful. My circle of friends was defined right before my eyes and I realize they are the only friends I need. They supported me through every step, when they themselves didn’t understand the process at all. Adoption has taught me about brokenness, redemption, and strength. It’s taught me that all humans are capable of loving each other – even total strangers. The most important people in my life aren’t biologically related at all. It’s taught me about forgiveness and unconditional love. Those lessons can’t be learned from a book, or class, or when life is just easy breezy. Rise from the trenches and you’ll realize that beauty has always and will always surround you.