Adoption is not easy. It is not all beautiful. It is a place where heartbreak and hope become intertwined. Locked together fiercely these emotions are filled with wishes for a beautiful child to have a beautiful life. The journey can be long and hard. It is easy to become discouraged, so here are eight mantras for those hard days that will keep you moving forward.

For paperwork, I relied on this quote by Scott Simon.

He said, “There are times when the adoption process is exhausting and painful and makes you want to scream. But, I am told so does childbirth.”  I love that this quote reminds me that growing a family is simply painful, no matter how you do it. There is something important about the step of moving forward through all the struggles. These struggles prepare and mold your commitment. C.S. Lewis said, “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for extraordinary destiny.” Struggles mold us and prepare us for the amazing that is coming.

Next in the process comes the wait.

The wait is hard and varies for everyone.  Some couples are chosen within months, others wait years. While we waited, I was working full time. Each day as I drove to work I would pass a local church. The summer before our son joined our family, the sign out front of this church became one of my sources of greatest comfort. One week the sign said, “Let go and let God.” The next week the sign said, ”While we are waiting, God is working.” Both filled me with such hope. I personally believe that God is in the details of our lives and sometimes we just need patience.   Mandy Hale said, “Trust the wait. Embrace the uncertainty. Enjoy the beauty of becoming. When nothing is certain, anything is possible.”

And then the whirlwind of adoption actually hits.

For us this is when the miracles flew so fast and quick we couldn’t keep track of them all.  Willa Cather said, “Where there is great love, there are always great miracles.” Try to keep track of all the miracles. Write them down so that on the hard parenting days (because parenting is wicked hard) you can remember all the ways God aligned the world to bring you together.  In his book The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho wrote, “I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you.”

Our son is six now and I still find times when I am tucking my little into bed and my heart feels like it might burst with love. I remember how lucky I am because I know this child has been loved by another before. In those moments I always hear this little voice in my head repeat this quote by Desha Wood. “He is mine in a way that will never be hers, he is hers in a way that will never be mine, and together, we are motherhood.”