Adoption and the adoption process has many frustrations attached to it. A stranger coming into your home for your home study. Piles of paperwork. Sharing private information. Getting fingerprinted. Feelings of uncertainty during the waiting period. Grief if a placement falls through.

But all frustration evaporates when you finally receive your child. I guess I could compare it to the pains of childbirth: you don’t remember how hard it was, all you know is the joy of holding your child. You will forget about all of the paperwork when you see and hug your child for the first time. You will forget about the roller coaster of emotions when you are rocking or putting your child to bed.

I always knew I wanted to be a mom. I knew I wanted to attend recitals and soccer games and PTA meetings. What I didn’t know was how I would get there. When I was told I couldn’t physically carry a child, I was devastated. But now I believe that was just leading my husband and me to adoption—and to our daughter. Yes, there are emotional ups and downs in adoption, as in a pregnancy. But instead of doctor appointments, you have meetings with your social worker to attend, and your social worker becomes a person of support and not an intruder. We had a disruption when we were matched; the expectant mom decided to parent her child at the hospital. While that was painful, it made us appreciate and love the emotions that prospective birth parents are facing on a different level.

For me, adoption has changed my life in ways I didn’t know was possible. I love my daughter more than I thought was possible. I feel a need to provide for her that I have never felt. I have a love for her birth mother for providing me with such a gift that no amount of gratitude or thanks can ever suffice. The pain of going through a disruption just strengthened my husband and me and helped us appreciate what we have now even more.

My feelings are summed up perfectly in this powerful quote from adoptive mom Jillian Lauren:  ”I love adoption. I love the whole messy, rich, textured, complex world it has given me. I do not love it because it is one long Disney happy ending. Rather, I love it for the way its struggles have defined my life and made me strong. I love it for the fascinating, crazy quilt of a family it has stitched together for me.”

Why do you love adoption? How has adoption changed you?