In honor of National Adoption Month, we’re bringing you a series this week on adoption and fostering. We hope “A Road to Adoption” provides helpful information for those considering the journey and those who’ve already started!
I always wanted to adopt….my husband did not, he wanted to father his children and pass on the family name. Then we struggled with infertility and losses and through that time he wanted to adopt and I didn’t. I resisted because I wanted to experience pregnancy, labor and birth.
We waffled back and forth for years before deciding adoption was for us. Eventually, he realized he can be a father and pass on his name and did not need a biological child to do that and I grieved that I would not experience pregnancy, labor and birth but that ultimately I wanted a child more than anything.
We fostered two school age boys for six months (at which they found a forever home) and then, in a whirlwind 48 hours, we brought home our son. Two years later, as we prepared to adopt again, a positive pregnancy test turned into many doctors appointments and me giving birth to our daughter. Yes, we are that family you hear about…we adopted, then got pregnant.
There are a lot of questions we get asked about our journey, and specifically about adoption. But, there is one unspoken question that doesn’t get asked very often, one that sits at the heart of every person who considers adoption. This question is asked in intimate conversations with people who are waiting at the door of adoption and need to walk over the threshold: Will there be a lack of love in this adoption, either from me or from my child? Do you love your daughter more than your son?
Adoption is not just walking into a hospital and walking out with a newborn baby. Adoption can be:
- traveling thousands of miles across the world, jet lagged and emotionally wound up, to walk through an orphanage of special needs children until you are matched with the one you take home with you.
- fostering children for years and years, watching them return to their biological families or moving onto other foster families, until that one (or more) captures your heart and you file adoption papers.
- having the state reach out to you asking you to take a child(ren) you never expected, to save them from foster care, because a family member made some bad choices.
- opening your heart to the child’s birth mother and realizing that you have more love than you ever imagined, not just for this child, but also for his birth family who chose life.
With that openness comes the vulnerability of love. Love is a hard thing. Love should be unconditional and patient but, for a lot of people love has been distorted in some way. When you open your heart to adoption, you are opening your heart to be exposed in so many ways. I think it is natural to wonder if a child that is not your flesh and blood will love you, and if you will love them back.
Let’s think about that for a second….have you ever loved someone romantically? Then YES, you have loved someone other than your flesh and blood. Have you ever loved a niece or nephew or student? Then YES, you can love a child for who they are. Most children are inherently able to love, it is hardwired into them. So, I would say that if you are taking the time and energy to adopt, then you and your child will connect like no other relationship you’ve had.
Here is the thing…..you cannot love two children or two people the same way because by nature they are different so by default, it won’t matter HOW that child comes into your life, your love for them will be different than any love that has come before or will come after. Love develops in different ways for different children. I know this for a fact because my children love me so differently and need to be loved differently. My daughter is a toucher, she has to hug and kiss to feel loved; on the other hand my son is not like this at all. He is a child that expresses and feels love through time and needs one-on-one time.
All parents struggle with loving and connecting with their children at some point. I know plenty of parents with biological children who have struggled with connecting with their children, whether from new mothers struggling with postpartum depression, husbands feeling separated because their spouse exclusively breastfeeds, children struggling with traveling or divorcing parents, etc. In these and many other situations, parents and children struggle with connection and love for short periods of time and this is natural. However, there is an underlying love that resonates and this is the love of being a parent. Love is patient and it waits, love doesn’t expect to be loved back, love just sits there on your heart.
When a child is put into your arms for the first time, there is some kind of invisible crown that is placed on your head and heart that says “parent”. This crown anoints you in a way you never imagined. It doesn’t matter how that child came into your arms; natural birth, cesarean section, surrogacy, fostering or adoption; when that word parent/mom/dad is put onto your heart, life changes, YOU CHANGE. You feel the overwhelming sense that you will protect this being with all your might, you will be there for that child through every good and every bad. You look into their eyes and things… JUST CHANGE.
For me, this change actually came twice, once when our foster sons were placed with us and again with that unexpected, life changing call. Hearing the words, “A baby boy was born today and his birth mother picked you to be his forever mommy. Can you come tomorrow to meet her and take him home?”, instantly crowned my heart and anointed me to guide this child as he grew up.
So, here are the the answers to all those questions people ask about adoption and being a parent: it will cost whatever it costs, it will take however long it will take, it will be hard, you will start sooner than you are ready, birth order will change no matter what and you will look into a child’s eyes and know this child is yours and you love them like you have never loved before.
I know because I’ve done this twice and I love them both like never before.
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Nicole enjoys the Dallas skyline from Lake Highlands with her husband, two children and Westie. She has had the title of park ranger, hula dancer, cruise ship fun director, life guard and event planner but her favorite and most exciting has been Mami. She now runs a babysitting co-op, a homegrown bible study; is room mom and writes for the blog WiseMommies.
Her passion is helping women find their voice as mothers and her vices are biting her nails, drinking too many Cokes a day and socializing, via social media and hitting a Mom’s Night Out. She is currently studying Spanish and continuously trying to find the lost toys hidden in the couch.