One of my least favorite things in the world is advice because so often it is something that is given when completely unsolicited. When I give advice, it is with the utmost respect for the person on the receiving end, and, is always with good intent to add a little perspective into a situation. In the world of adoption, perspective is a powerful thing, because no two adoptions will ever be alike, and each situation is completely unique to the people involved.
With that being said, I want to take this opportunity to take a few steps back and bring some simplicity and hope to the process of adoption. I became a birth mother nearly seventeen years ago. I had hidden my pregnancy from everyone until the baby was delivered so I wouldn’t feel like I was burdening anyone with my troubles. Because of this, I didn’t have a nice, well-paced experience of selecting the adoptive family and getting to know them in the months leading up to placement. At times I wondered if perhaps things would have turned out differently if I had jumped into the process early in the pregnancy. Even though my placement, from delivering the baby to signing papers in court, was a VERY short amount of time (we’re talkin’ about 10 days,) I still went through all the right steps, just in fast-forward.
It was the RIGHT fit. No additional amount of time would have helped convince me otherwise.
Since that time, then off and on over the years, I’ve found myself having the same types of conversations with hopeful adoptive couples and I’ve narrowed this process down to 3 little nuggets of advice. But here’s the catch, it’s nothing new, we just tend to overcomplicate things in life, so slow it down for a few minutes, take a deep breath, and simplify!
1 – Be Yourself
First things first! Be yourself. Have FUN with your profile. I’ve had a number of families ask me for feedback on their profiles and all too often I see people trying too hard to convince the birth mother in EVERY section of their family profile that they love kids and are dedicated to their family. Well, I should hope so! If you weren’t interested in giving your love, attention, and resources to raising another human being, you probably wouldn’t be spending gobs of time and money to become an adoptive parent.
I remember some of the things I loved most about the profile of the family I selected was that they shared little fun facts and family quirks. They listed their pets, examples of how they spend a lazy afternoon, that they love to camp and sing, and that they drive a Jeep. The more you can paint a picture of what your real, everyday life LOOKS like, the better. What makes you, YOU? What habit or hobby does your spouse have and why do you love it or hate it? What are your favorite books? What scares you? Painting a picture of your personalities and digging a bit more below the surface could connect you to your birth mother in a deeper way then just saying you promise to love their baby.
2 – Trust the Process
Having faith is especially challenging when you are navigating the biggest, most gut-wrenching trials in life. So often adoption becomes the action plan when conceiving a child naturally isn’t possible, for whatever range of reasons. That, in itself, is a huge trial of faith and your emotional capacity.
There is really no right or wrong way to prepare your family profile, nor is there a concrete answer in how to embrace the adoption process. In my case, I worked through an adoption agency who helped ensure that all the technical steps were taken correctly, but the selection process for my birth daughter’s family was up to me and God.
Once I had selected the family I wanted to raise my birth daughter, I was blown away time and time again as the details of their story and journey unfolded. The trials they faced in preparation for this adoption, and the timing of it all made it absolutely clear that everything is in God’s time. He is a MUCH better event planner than any of us ever could be. Surrendering my heart to the process, and then learning how much the adoptive family had done the same, ultimately linking our paths together, is something I’m still in awe of all these years later. It is truly humbling to put your will into the hands of a loving Heavenly Father, only to be rewarded with a life you never could have imagined, challenges and all!
3 – Tick Tock – Stop Watching the Clock
Be Patient. Ugh. I know. You don’t want to hear that one anymore. When you started down this path of adoption, you were probably told an average range of time in which the adoption match could take place. I’ve heard anywhere from 3 months to 5 years, depending on the source. Hmmm. Pretty big range. Not exactly encouraging when you are ready to have a baby of your own, like, years ago. Watching a clock and counting the days will eat you alive.
My best advice? Refer to item number 2, above, and trust the process. You are part of a plan that is currently in the making by THE Maker. Keep busy with the things that you love. Enjoy the time with your spouse or significant other if you have one, because once a baby hits the scene it will change your entire world. And someday, you’ll look back on this challenging time with a tender fondness because it will have been worth the wait.
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