Yep, we are “that” family. That family that you see in public and wonder how much we spend on groceries. We are the family that makes you wonder if we are a little crazy. Are we unusual? Somewhat. Growing our family through adoption after having four biological kids is a bit unusual. But it is a life that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Adoption is not for everyone, but I truly believe that it is for more people than you think.
What does it take to be an adoptive or foster parent? If you feel even the slightest interest, this is what I want you to know:
We are not special
What sets us apart is one simple thing: we chose love over fear. Call it what you want, I call it faith. Faith doesn’t mean I never had doubts or scary, hide in my closet moments. It just meant that we would not let fear of the unknown be greater than our love for whatever child we brought home. Our faith told us that it really would be okay.
We also were not worried about loving a child that wasn’t ours, biologically. Loving a child who you just met may take time, and it may be different than you expect, but it most definitely is there in all of its raw, fierce beauty.
Do your research
When my husband and I began to consider adoption, we started by talking to adoptive parents we knew in our community. We read books and articles recommended to us, then we read and talked some more. In doing your research, these are the questions you should consider:
Do you want to adopt a newborn or an older child? (by the way, older child adoption rocks!)
Do you want to adopt internationally or domestically? (there are pros and cons to both)
What do you want from an adoption agency? This is a big one! There are adoption agencies out there that are more ethical than others. Do your research!
Are you prepared to bring home a child with a medical or developmental need? Specifically, are you ready to do what you can to help that child no matter what?
Finally, ask yourself if you are willing to change your path if you are feeling led to do so. Our second adoption was not at ALL what we had planned. But I can’t imagine life without our girl.
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
There are so many parts of the adoption process that will make you uncomfortable. You will tell a social worker every detail of your marriage, your childhood and how much money you make. You will have to prove over and over that you are fit parents (even if you already have biological children). You must get comfortable with knowing that another woman has or is going to give birth to your child and know that you will always, always share this child with them. Really think about how this will make you feel. Be prepared to learn about a medical or developmental need your child may have that you haven’t encountered before. Learn all you can about attachment and trauma. Learn what it is like to have a child that may be a different race than you.
Find your people
Other adoptive parents understand the uniqueness of parenting a child that has come from hard places. These friends are those that I can reach out to and know that they have been exactly where I am. Without the support and community of adoptive families, life would be at times, overwhelming. It is also imperative that your child has a community as well. We have been fortunate that in our school our children are not the only adopted kids and certainly not the only ones who are a different color than their parents.
Expect people to try to talk you out of it
Yes, really. Not everyone was on board with our decision to adopt (both times). There were family members who thought that their input would save us from a lifetime of stress and financial ruin. If you value someone’s opinion on the subject, by all means, ask them for their opinion (they may give it to you whether you ask for it or not). Then be prepared to discount whatever they say.
Have I lost you yet?
Yes, I’m telling it like it is. Adoption is not rainbows and unicorns. It exists because a family could no longer raise their child. As an adoptive parent you have to know this in the deepest part of your soul. You must know when you bring a child home that they don’t owe you a thing, nor should they be grateful for giving them something that is a God-given right. Know that from loss comes great beauty, redemption and love. It is the most amazing thing to have a child come into your home and then witness the transformation that takes place as they grow in front of your eyes.
People often tell us that our children are lucky.
I wholeheartedly disagree.
WE are the lucky ones.
Want to know more? Message me and let’s talk!