Adopted love is waited for, hoped for, worked for love. I’ve learned this through my own experience.

All things in life that are worth having are worth waiting for. That is what Grandma always said.

I have watched my thinking change, altering the innocent misunderstanding that once encompassed the topic of adoption in my mind. I could have babies. I had three of them– one after another. It was with hard work, active emotions, and a full heart that I did this. Occasionally, I would tease someone, I think I’ll adopt the next one, as if it would take away the work, the wakeful nights, the waiting, and the emotional toll. Little did I know that I would one day get my wish.

At age 29, I had my last pregnancy and was told “no more babies.” I needed hysterectomy and assumed my family was complete.

I was not sad then, as I had full arms– two in diapers and one toddling around. Pure, busy joy occupied my days and happy exhaustion accompanied my nights.

But then the desire came again, the heart-wrenching hope of those long, late nights. That is adoption. It is wanting a baby, a child, your first or your next. It knows no easy path. It is a process of finding out you are expecting, planning, waiting, having overly emotional moments, cravings, preoccupied thoughts, and trouble sleeping through the night– not from an enlarged tummy, but from your swelling heart.

I had carried my three previous children physically; this one, I carried emotionally.

I did not have morning sickness; I had “mourning” sickness. Mourning for the birthmother as I ached for her impending loss. I did not crave pickles and ice cream; I craved phone calls, emails, and letters.

And then, as before, the months passed and I finally understood the love that comes from adoption. As I wrapped my arms around his tiny body and kissed his fuzzy head. I knew that “adoption” was not the word for my son or for our relationship; adoption is the means by which we found each other. And I will be forever grateful for it.