Fireworks! Just thinking about fireworks brings back so many memories of my childhood. If I close my eyes, I can almost see the beautiful flashes in the sky, hear the thunderous booms echo through the night, and smell the smoke rise in the air.

Every summer my family eagerly awaited the holidays. We planned which fireworks to attend and when. We’d even arrive early to secure our spot and then find ways to entertain ourselves while we waited. The entertainment usually involved some sparklers. What were our parents thinking? I don’t know how we didn’t poke each other’s eyes out with the sparklers, but somehow we survived. As a child, waiting for the fireworks to start felt like forever. Even now as an adult, the wait seems twice as long when trying to entertain a toddler who is already up past his bedtime, doesn’t want to sit still, wants to put everything in his mouth, has a tantrum because he ran out of Cheerios, and says he has to go potty every five minutes!

We keep waiting though because we know it will all be worth the wait to finally see the fireworks.

When the fireworks show (we waited for all day) finally started we’d be so excited and ready to be amazed. Without fail though, my sister would cover her ears and start screaming because the fireworks were too loud. Yes, many times we had to leave the fireworks early because the noise was just too loud for her. Instead of celebrating, we went home tired and disappointed.

These memories of fireworks remind me a lot of adoption.

When we began our adoption journey, there was a lot of waiting and planning and then a lot more waiting. We prepared for a child and tried to plan when they might come but really there was not much we could control. We had to just sit back and wait. The fireworks would begin when the time was right and when the sky was dark enough to fully display their brilliant colors of light.

SE Story 2017 06 16 picture 1

After waiting what seemed like an eternity, a child arrived but we still had to wait to see if adoption was needed or not. During that waiting we tried not to focus on the future ‘firework show’ or adoption but instead entertained ourselves with the ‘sparklers’. We enjoyed each moment with the child, loved them deeply, and made lasting memories together. For many different reasons, adoption does not always happen, and then we can be left feeling disappointed and heartbroken. We did not give up when our hearts broke. Instead we chose to put the pieces back together and open our hearts again to keep loving these children.

When I was a child, we did not always make it to the actual firework show either. There were times that we had to leave early for different reasons, but we never gave up hope and kept going back to the show the next year. You would think that my parents would have stopped taking us to see fireworks when my sister screamed every time, but they didn’t. I guess they knew the fireworks were too beautiful to miss and worth it to keep going. I’m thankful they kept taking us to the fireworks, and I’m thankful that we kept going on our adoption journey as well.

SE Story 2017 06 16 picture 2

Eventually, we made it through all the waiting to the actual adoption, and it was everything we had ever imagined and more. Every firework display is so unique just like every child and every adoption is unique and beautiful. Our adoption was a mixture of emotions. I was in awe of this beautiful life that now is our son forever, yet also anxious and fearful of the unknown future and responsibility that I now have. I wanted to celebrate our new family yet I also recognized the great loss he and his birth family experienced.

The fireworks and the adoption were both loud, brilliant, emotional, and breathtaking.

When the grand finale was over and the smoke cleared, there I stood with my beautiful new family, committed to each other forever. I could not believe that we finally saw the fireworks. Now I will take my son to see fireworks every year. We will make sweet new memories together and one day I will tell him about how adoption is like fireworks.

What are your favorite memories involving fireworks?

In what ways do you consider adoption to be like fireworks?