Years ago, I began to plan out my life. After graduating from high school, I would go to college and graduate with a bachelor’s degree. I would meet my Prince Charming, and we would get married. Within two years of marriage, we would start having children. I was planning to have four or five babies two or three years apart. Being a stay-at-home mom was my dream. Adoption was not in the plan, not because I had anything against adoption, but I thought that having children would not be a problem. When my husband first told me that adoption would most likely be in his future, I was not scared off. I knew that adoption could be a blessing, and my heart was willing to open to it. My Plan B became the best plan for us.
I am now an #adoptivemama to three wonderful boys, and I could not imagine my life any other way. The struggles with infertility, adoption, and foster care were difficult to endure, but because of them, I became stronger. I like to say that I love my children more because of how hard we prayed and worked for them to come into our family. My life turned out better than I could have planned.
Examples of #Adoptivemamas
While growing up, I saw many examples of mothers including adoptive mothers. I remember being fascinated with adoption, and, looking back, I can see that this helped me prepare to be an #adoptivemama. One of the first examples that I can remember is my aunt. My uncle and aunt endured miscarriages and infertility issues. Even though the heartbreak, they knew that they wanted to be parents. They made the decision to adopt. My cousin was placed with them when I was about 8 years old. The first time I met my cousin, my aunt was beaming with happiness and love. In my 8-year-old mind, there was no difference between her and my other aunts who had given birth. They were all mothers. They all loved their children and wanted to be good mothers. My aunt was appreciative of my cousin’s birth parents and talked about the sacrifice it must have been to place her for adoption. She felt an eagerness to give her daughter a good life. In the coming years, my aunt gave birth to a few children, and they also adopted a few more children. Each child was welcomed with open arms. Each child was told his or her individual story and celebrated for how they came to their family. Adoption was the first step for children to come to their home. My aunt and uncle are now also grandparents. I love seeing their family photos of all their children and knowing that adoption played a special part in all of their lives.
Another example of an #adoptivemama that I saw was a woman at church. She and her husband had a daughter who was a few years younger than I was. This family only had one child, and, at the time, I thought it was a choice. I did not realize that they had been experiencing secondary infertility. This struggle was something that they faced privately. When their daughter was around 10 years old, they made the announcement that they were adopting a baby. The next time that I saw them at church, they had a beautiful baby boy. I watched this second-time mom. Her countenance was filled with joy and pride. She wanted to show this baby to everyone. The new big sister was excited to finally have the baby brother that she had been begging for. As this little boy grew, they doted on him. He was the center of their lives. This mom was happy to share her love with another child whom they had been waiting for to join their family. She has supported her children as they pursued their goals in music. This #adoptivemama taught me some of the unknown pain that may come from infertility, but also the complete joy that came because of adoption.
My Adoption Guru
When I was first starting to pursue adoption with my husband, I tried to seek out others that were also hoping to adopt or had adopted in the recent past. Adoption had changed in the years since I was younger, especially with open adoption being more prevalent. The first thing I did was to seek out adoption blogs that were popular at the time. There were a few blogs that I read regularly that dealt with these women’s infertility and adoption struggles. Many of these women vulnerably shared their feelings, which were similar to mine. They made me feel validated in my own experience. I felt a special connection to one woman through her words. She and her husband had found out that they would never be able to conceive a child. She had been convinced that not being able to create life would destroy her. However, as the babies came in the next ten years, she discovered that this inability could “bring greater joy than that devastation.” When I started following her journey, she and her husband had adopted one son and were in a court battle for another child. As I followed what came, I remember thinking how strong and resilient she was in the fight for this child. She shared the pains that came through that battle, but when the judge ruled in their favor and they were finally able to adopt the child, she shared the joy that came. She had depended on many people’s prayers and support. When she posted the pictures of their adoption, I cried tears of joy even though I had never met her. They continued to face losses including a scam, a reverse placement, and many other trials because of adoption. There was a time that they were searching for the right situation and the right child to come to their family. At the time, we were new on the adoption road, and I emailed her to say if things didn’t work out for her and her family, there was no hope for the rest of us. I looked up to her as an #adoptivemama and saw the strength she had in order to endure the heartbreak so that the children that needed her and that she needed would be able to come into their family. She recently said, “We gained so much more than we lost. We have a house full of kids! It is the privilege & thrill of my life to be their adoptive mom. We have sacred relationships with our kids’ birth families, our world view has expanded, our hearts are more sensitive to those trying to have a family, we have more empathy for those in pain, we’re better at healthy boundaries, we cherish & celebrate this family we worked hard for. Adoption taught me to love all in, from the beginning. Fearless, no matter the outcome. As a result, we’ve been gutted beyond description a few times, but no regrets.” Because of her, I learned to not be afraid of open adoption, but that it was a wonderful blessing for all involved. She helped me become a better #adoptivemama because of how she lives and advocates adoption.
My Story of Becoming an #Adoptivemama
There are many highs and lows in my own story of becoming an #adoptivemama. Being a mom was one of the biggest goals in my life. After realizing that children would not be coming biologically, I knew that adoption would be beautiful and that the right children would come to us. Even though I knew this, there were times of complete gut-wrenching pain. I was jealous that others could conceive easily and have a few children in the time that we wanted to have one. Because being a stay-at-home mom was my career goal, I was disappointed every time I had to go to work. Each time we were contacted by an expectant parent, I would try not to get my hopes up too much. Many times I failed and started thinking about when the baby would be born and if we were chosen when we would be bringing the baby home. My soul ached to be a mother. After more than a year of waiting, we were first contacted by an expectant parent, and she immediately asked if we would be willing to adopt her son. This felt different than all of the other contacts. Something in my heart knew that this was the right situation. We adopted her son about three months later. Over ten years later, he is growing into an amazing young man. He is almost taller than I am and loves sports, Minecraft, and reading. He frequently asks me, “How are you the best cook in the world?” after I make one of his favorite dinners. We have a wonderful open adoption with his birth family.
Foster Care and Adoption
When our son was about 2 years old, my husband and I tried to adopt again. We waited and waited, but nothing came out of the wait besides a scam and a few quick contacts. Our hearts were so happy with our little boy, but we knew that we wanted more children. After making a decision to close out our profile with the agency, we turned to foster care with the hope to find an adoption situation. Within three days of being licensed through our state, we were contacted about a few children that were in need of a home. After a discussion, we opened our home to a little boy who was almost a year old and within three weeks, his baby brother was born and was also placed in our home. We fostered these little boys for over three years. They were a part of our family from day one. It was a quick transition from one child to three children 3 years old and under. We had support from our families and friends. After more than three years and a court battle, the state allowed us to adopt our sons. I was now an #adoptivemama to three. And although I did not give birth to my sons, they seem to be born from my heart. I am trying to raise them to be good young men with goals and ambitions. I want them to be kind and caring toward all people. One of our favorite things to do together is cuddle up on the couch or in my bed and read books together. I love seeing them fall asleep with a book in their beds just like I do. Some of the quietest times in the car are after we go to the library and on the way home everyone is reading their own books. My heart melts when one of my children holds my hand as we walk to their school. They are not perfect, and I am definitely not a perfect mother, but we work together and play together and love each other. It brings me some of the greatest joys in my life to be their mother.
Grown in the Heart
Throughout my life, I have seen many examples of #adoptivemamas. I am now one of them. I feel like I entered a club of strong, resilient, healed, and brave women. Adoption is about love. And these women show their love to their children, to their children’s birth families, and to the adoption community. These women have opened their hearts even with the risk of heartbreak and loss. But in the end and when the right child comes into their families, they recognize that it was worth the pain and struggle. This quote from the Instagram handle @born.from.my.heart echoes what many other adoptive mamas want to say, “Even though my body didn’t grow a baby in the traditional way, I’m thankful my heart did. Even though I wasn’t meant to wrap my arms around my stomach and feel the signs of life in there, I thank those arms for being made to hold the children that someone else could not. I may not have heard their heartbeat through a monitor, but my ears have listened well to all of their fears and dreams from the deepest parts of their little hearts.”Do you feel there is a hole in your heart that can only be filled by a child? We’ve helped complete 32,000+ adoptions. We would love to help you through your adoption journey. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98.