So after this post, a thoughtful reader asked for what I thought I did right in our adoption journey. It was a hard question; I’m my own best (or worst) critic…depending on how you look at it. In my insecurity and looking for objectiveness, I turned to social media. I’m glad did. The comments were honest and sincere and developed a couple themes that I can share.
- We did our best to be obedient to God. Not just in our decision to actually adopt, but in how we thought He was leading us once we were neck deep. We continue to learn invaluable lessons about faith and obedience as our journey in this life (and even with our kids) is far from over.
- We didn’t lose ourselves or our marriage. By the grace of God, we were able to not let our crisis completely define us. We still managed to start new hobbies, open a coffee shop, start a wellness business, and find time for ourselves and our marriage. While the past three years have strained our relationship in ways we haven’t experienced since the broken leg era (ask me about that story sometime if you don’t haven’t known us that long), we have fought to be on the same side…and, yes, sometimes it took fighting. We have also done our best at letting each other do things in the area of self-care without begrudgingness or resentfulness (Patrick does this last part way better than me).
- We persevered, researched, and kept an open mind. Patrick and I are both researchers by nature. We’re also pretty stubborn…one of my friends used the word, “tireless.” While we definitely don’t feel tireless…more like battle-weary and scarred…we have spent countless hours reading, listening, conversing, networking, and attending trainings about adoption, attachment, trauma, special education, and alternative therapies in an attempt to do what’s best for our kids. While we can both be pretty opinionated, we’ve tried to keep an open mind and have learned a lot along the way. Maybe one day I’ll do a post about paradigm shifts we’ve made over the past 15 years.
- We gave back. To me, the most obvious redemptive aspect of our journey was that it’s given us a platform to help other struggling families. If what we have learned from our experiences and research (good, bad, and ugly), helped us help just one other family, it was worth it. I’ve also found that when I’m just about to be swallowed up by my own self-pity, the only way to keep my head above water is to reach out and help someone else. Getting to know the stories of other families (some even more nightmare-ish than ours), keeps us on our knees and gives us perspective.
- We advocated. Whether it be for our family or for other families, we have done everything we know to do to raise awareness for and about post-placement families. In a lot of ways, this part of the journey is still new and developing. If nothing else, this journey has obliterated a lot of my inhibitions which allows me to speak up unabashedly for our family and others and to confront those who I think can make a difference. It’s amazing what desperation will do to your filter and fears.
If you want to read the sweet comments my friends contributed to this post, click here.