We’ve often been asked how we made it through 9 years of foster parenting and 14 years as adoptive parents. Our answer is simple: We have a great support system of people who help keep us going. But how do you find a support system like this?
“You’re going to be alright…this is going to be alright,” our friend said to us. “I know it feels like a dead-end street but there’s hope. I’m here for you!”
She was right. More importantly, she was there. Those were two things we were certain of. In our darkest moment on the journey, she looked at us with eyes of compassion, a spirit that understood, and a gentle smile that said “I get it.” We found the strength we needed to get up and keep moving.
Beyond great books, insightful parenting seminars, online resources, helpful blogs, conferences and numerous podcasts, there are 3 simple words that have the power to transform your life and your perspective on the journey of special needs.
My friend had no idea how deep the impact was that he was making on my life. He was just being…him. Loving, kind and understanding. His eyes never left mine, even when I looked away out of defeat or embarrassment. He was quiet as I spoke. Occasionally he would nod, a gesture that reassured me as I poured my heart out in complete vulnerability.
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.