Almost 2 decades ago, we first discussed adoption and I resisted. Thankfully, my heart changed. Today, I’m a better person because of adoption. Here’s why…
I awake early on a Monday morning to begin my typical weekday routine in my household. Quick workout at our local gym, buzz home quickly while I chug water, arrive home and wake kids up, head to the kitchen to make lunches, simultaneously start breakfast, give a check to backpacks, gently remind my kids to get up again, warm the car up for carpool, consider pouring ice cold water over the stragglers who are still sleeping, then kiss the heads of the ones who have made it downstairs in relatively good time.
Everyone of us on the adoptive journey has gone through training, seminars, and events to educate us on everything from trauma, to attachment, to crisis intervention. But education pales in comparison to our connection to others. Here’s why:
I was talking to a close friend the other day when he said something that resonated deeply with me (and spawned an entire blog post :-)). He said, “The United States is one of the most educated countries around. We have trillions of articles at the touch of a button. Yet people still languish and wallow in despair and defeat. Not for lack of information, but rather lack of community and connection.”
Over the years, we’ve been asked how our children feel about being a part of a multi-racial family, and how they’ve adjusted. Our conversation always points back to the importance of your community.
When we became a multi-racial family, we considered the toll it might take on our children and on us. We weighed the scenarios as did our children’s birth parents. In the end, we partnered with our children’s birth parents in making the best decision we could. Our children needed a family and we already deeply loved and cared for one another. We did not ignore the color of their skin but we also didn’t make skin color the ultimate identifier of our family.
It’s not always the case, but often, men can be the toughest nut to crack when it comes to the adoption journey. I know from personal experience. There are a few reasons why this happens, and some key steps you can take to change his mind.
Back in the day, before we got married, I said no to just about everything. In fact, if shaking my head was an Olympic sport, I would have taken the gold. I was such a difficult person to get along with in those days. One of the biggest topics Kristin and I disagreed over was parenting. Sitting in my metallic blue Pontiac Firebird one cold November night, in the fall of 1998, we had a
discussion fight over parenting. Kristin wanted to adopt. I did not. At all. Period. Case closed. End of discussion. Or, so I thought.
On the journey of adoption, foster care and special needs parenting, in particular, we’ve experienced numerous difficult and heartbreaking moments. The only way we were able to make it through these trying times was the encouragement and unconditional love we received from our support community.
We walked in feeling alone and defeated. We walked out feeling empowered and supported. There was nothing magical about the meeting we were attending. It was simply 8 families, all going through what we were going through, all having adopted from the foster care system, sitting around a large conference room table, sharing their pain and agony with openness and honesty.