Every day I peer into the soulful eyes of beautiful boys that hold no gene of mine, and I love them with a painful, throbbing love that makes me want to change the world for them. This love inspires me to speak fearlessly, challenge ignorance, and attempt to stretch hearts and minds to accept my babies more because they are mine. That’s what mamas do for the ones we love. We move mountains.
This month is adoption awareness month, and I want to explore some hard, but beautiful truths–as well as fears–that might hold some people back from choosing to adopt.
One of the most confusing parts of life to me is that some people really want a baby and never get one. And people who don’t want a baby at all still get one. I don’t know why this is. But, if you want to become a parent and it’s not working out, it is heartbreaking. I have felt it more than once, and it hurts something fierce.
I had a lot of ideas about what my family life would look like. I spent most of my childhood caring for baby dolls as if they were the real deal and dreaming up lists of baby names I would someday use. Dreams are motivating, inspiring little things aren’t they? But paired with imagination, dreams can get unrealistically specific about details that can’t be controlled. Throw in an endless amount of negative pregnancy tests and dreams suddenly turn into something dangerous: disappointment. I wish I could go back and tell my ten-year-old self a thing or two about her dreams. I wish I could have warned her that she was going to start feeling a bit alarmed when all of her friends started having one and then two kids when she didn’t have any yet.
I would tell her that she is going to know what it feels like to be angry with God and sad–really, truly, deeply sad when she realizes the babies are not coming. But then I would take her sweet little hand and look her in those scared, big, brown eyes and I would say to her,”Despite all of this hurt and pain, one day you are going to be the happiest you’ve ever been in your life. When you are holding your husband’s hand in the small office of an adoption agency and the caseworker tells you that a paper has been signed and you are now the mother of a three-day-old baby boy–that is when you will realize you have arrived at the happiest moment of your life.”
This is exactly what I wish I would have known a decade ago: that all the negatives on those pregnancy sticks that seemed to be a life game-changer would soon be swept up by the bigger things in life that define us. That our life would extend far beyond adoption and focus more on the simple fact that we belong together.
Although our children might not carry our genes or have our blood running through their veins, we do share the one quality that is necessary to hold any family together: love.
QUESTION: What dreams of family life have turned out differently than you expected? How is love a stronger tie between you and your children than genes?
CHALLENGE: Consider how your current disappointments may be opportunities in disguise.
Edited by Aubrey Degn and Sarah Monson.
Graphic by Julie Finlayson.
I was told at 19 that I wouldn’t have children… I decided then that I didn’t want any anyway… I planned my whole future without children & then I fell in love with a man who had full custody of his 3 children… They’re not my blood, but for the last 6 years they’ve been my babies. They’re 7, 8, & 11 now AND 4 years ago we ended up getting pregnant with our youngest son. We are a family in the way that matters!! I would move mountains for every one of them.
I’ve learned that God’s plans for my family are better than mine, because he sees the big picture. I’ve always had a heart for adoption, and I’ve never been partial to blood relationships. That being said, I did grieve the opportunity to experience a fullterm pregnancy and breastfeeding. But the adoption of my son has been an equally beautiful process and relationship. I couldn’t possibly love him more if he were a blood relative.