Saturday, November 26, 2011

A.D.O.P.T.I.O.N.S. Part 2

I have taken some time between part 1 and 2 of the acrostic regarding adoptions. I didn't want the words to start sounding the same. It is easy to say the same thing over and over with a new letter. As the stories keep rolling through my brain I want them to be fresh and new for this second part so here we go...
T. Trust - Ultimately you have to trust that God has all things worked out to His satisfaction or you wouldn't ever begin the process of adoption. With so many unknowns in the process trust is key to survival and proper perspective. However, under the umbrella of trust of God for all the details you end up learning to trust other people as well. The trust between yourself and the birth family starts to build from the first moment that you meet them. This is the process that is filled with the most lack of trust in the entire adoption. Each party at the beginning will question the other party's motives, understandings, reasons, intentions and everything imaginable. It is beautiful to see these lack of trust items turn into trust items one by one. The process happened with both Patrick's and Eliana's birth families and I am sure that similar trust is built in most adoption situations. If you recognize that this is normal (and even healthy) then you will have an easier time navigating through the process as you experience it.
I. Intimacy - I have often said that to have a child only takes a male and female who have reached a certain biological age and 9 months of waiting and then "poof," welcome to the world, oh, little one. This process at the raw level doesn't take any thought, concern, or discussion. However, adoption is the ultimate bearing of your soul to others in order to become qualified to adopt.   If the enterprise of having natural children were this long and arduous, we would have a much smaller population. The questions are as follows but not limited to:, "Why do you want to adopt?", "What type of child will you accept?", "What race of child will you accept?", "What is your house like?", "What is the state of your finances or tax returns?", "How is your marriage?" Questions spoken and unspoken from the birth families include, "What makes you want to adopt my child?", "What do you think of me as a person since I am giving up my child to adoption?", "Will you love my child always?", and "Will you judge me?" This is not a complete list but often I found myself running away from the questions wondering how any couple could be required to be this transparent with their lives. It is, however, important to embrace the process, since it will make your adoption successful, beautiful and unique.
O. Overwhelming - The entire process is overwhelming. After we adopted Patrick we had the sense that the second adoption process would be easier, and it was with regard to the paperwork, etc. However, as a friend told me, "you are a rookie parent with each child". This statement holds true with each adoption. We are rookie adoptive parents with each adoption. As much as I wanted it to be the same, it was entirely different. With Eliana we expected that we would have time to prepare, time to enjoy setting up her room, time to get to know the birth family, etc.  In hindsight I wouldn't change anything about either adoption, but the reality of it was that they were both overwhelming! The first adoption is always overwhelming because it is a brand new realm. The second adoption for us had the new factor of 7 weeks in the NICU in a hospital 450 miles away. The emotions, the details, the insurance, the finances, the relationships, the unknowns, and more all add up to a process that can be overwhelming. It must be understood that God is in charge of this process. Otherwise, all you have is your raw emotions which cannot be trusted.
N - Not Understood - Just when you think you have entered into this wonderful plan to adopt a child either domestically or internationally, it is now time to share these plans with others. And, of course, everyone will understand your reasons, emotions, and all the details of adoption, right? WRONG.  You will find many people who have no clue about adoption except for what they have heard on the evening news or read about on the internet - these stories are often negative in tone.  In order to survive this crazy world of understanding or mis-understanding it is important to know who to communicate with. This was true in both of our situations. There were people that understood every detail of the story and were of great help throughout the process. There were those who really had no idea what was happening and therefore they got the very general version of "We are adopting a child". After that they were told only basic facts to keep them informed. If you are considering adoption please understand that people generally fall into these two categories (understanding and not understanding) and tailor your communication accordingly.  It will help you keep your sanity and survive the barrage of questions that are prevalent throughout the adoption process.

S - Sacrifice - The sacrifice of having a child (biologically) is one of putting yourself last and putting your child first. They eat before you; they bathe before you; they have their needs met before yours, etc. It is a natural outgrowth of parenthood and you can talk to any new Mom or Dad and get all of the details. This reality is equally true in the adoptive process. Everything in the process seems to happen on its own time schedule which can be inconvenient and frustrating at times. Nothing about the process of meeting the birth family will happen on your schedule. Nothing will prepare you for unexpected expenses (unless you happen to be independently wealthy!) When you keep the focus on knowing that sacrifice will is the norm then the process will be much easier to understand.

Not one of the letters that were described in these 2 articles "A.D.O.P.T.I.O.N.S." describes the process, emotions, or ups and downs completely. You must take all of the discussions in the articles and keep reminding yourself that it is not about you, it is about the child. More importantly it is not about your plan, it is about God's plan for you. This will keep your adoption in the proper focus and give you the strength to make it through. The joy at the end of the process is indescribable. Thanks for reading. I pray that these 2 articles have encouraged other couples in their process of adoption. J.V.P.E


sfitz said...

This is so great! I have lots of little nuggets to take with me. Thank you Vivian and Jim for putting your thoughts out there for all of us to learn from.

rico said...

I am really thankful to the author of this post for making this lovely and informative article live here for us. We really appreciate your effort. Keep up the good work.

International Adoption Agencies