Doug and Deanne Walker have 19 children, 10 of whom are adopted. These loving parents have been up and down and all around adoption, and seem to me to be an endless bucket of adoption knowledge and wisdom. On top of that, the Walkers are welcoming, inviting, and friendly! This series of articles covers everything from being an organized home executive to failed adoptions to finding the right agency. So as you read, imagine taking a comfortable spot on Deanne’s sofa as she openly shares her insight into each topic.
Doesn’t it seem like all the world comes crashing down when embarking on any big adventure? Especially something worthwhile? Such has been the case for the Walkers during many of their adoptions. Some of those times, they realized this was not “meant to be.” Other times, they knew they just had to push through the hard times, endure the trials, and reach for success. But how did they know which adoptions to let go of and which to continue to pursue?
“I remove myself from the negative feelings in order to make a decision. I ask myself, Is life always like this? Have we been here before? Did we make it out of this? Is this situation temporary?” Deanne goes on to explain that adoption is not easy! Things will go wrong. And when that happens it’s easy to get caught in a spiral of negative thoughts and emotions. Once that happens, everything becomes cloudy. So it’s essential to detach from those negative feelings.
Try to remove yourself from the situation long enough to remember why you made the decision to adopt in the first place. Remember, especially, how you felt. For Deanne and Doug, they have had clear thoughts that this is their child! And when they would remember–no matter how low they were feeling–they found the strength to move forward. “I had to rise out of my lowest low to do what needed to be done.” During the tough times of adoption processes, Deanne reminds herself of the temporary nature of life’s moments. Then, looking back on previous difficult times, she asks herself, “Would I trade any of my kids because of what was going on at that time? No! I love them enough that I’m willing to make the sacrifice. So, what will I miss out on if I don’t go and get this child even though the universe seems to be ganging up against me?”
In addition to self-reflection and personal motivation, Deanne suggests getting support. Because just about everyone involved in any part of adoption gets to the point where they think they can’t keep going, support is necessary. There are support networks available locally as well as online. These friends, forged from experiencing similar hardships, offer strength and support to each other. Through these groups one can be reminded that no one is alone. You’re not the only one!
So, Deanne’s advice: Expect difficulties and gear up to push through them. You’ll know by a feeling of deep down peace that it’s right to continue to pursue; or you will know by a feeling of confusion and anxiety that it is time to let go of this one. Follow your heart.