How Adoption Fulfilled the Restless Spirit in Me

Despite my faith in God and enjoyment in the adventures of life, my spirit was restless.

Caroline Bailey August 12, 2015
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This is a personal story. You may or may not understand my feelings about how adoption fulfilled the restless spirit in me, but at least I hope you gain just a bit of perspective about adoption from my story. Before I begin, let me state that I do not believe that you must be a parent in order to find fulfillment or make an impact in this world.

Having a hysterectomy at the age of eleven impacted my spirit in so many ways. I knew immediately following the surgery that I would never give birth. What that equated to in my mind was that I would never be a parent. My child-like faith, happy-go-lucky mindfulness, and free spirit took a substantial hit. Through the years growing up into adulthood, restlessness about the future seemed to make a home in my spirit. I felt this angst and sense of being unsettled that I could not put a name on. I completed my educational goals, married a great guy, and had a job that was both challenging and rewarding. However, despite my faith in God and enjoyment in the adventures of life, my spirit was restless.

It seemed to sway between confusion, determination, and hollowness. At times, I thought “It is totally fine if I am not ever a parent. I still have a good life, and will be okay.” At other times, I thought “I cannot imagine not being a mamma, and not ever experiencing the beautiful complexity of parenting. I won’t imagine it.”

Most people who knew me prior to parenting may not have noticed how unsettled I felt with my own story. I believed that somehow, in some way, I was supposed to become a mother; at least, I tried to believe this. On the other hand, the reality of barrenness always seem to snap me back to the thoughts that becoming a parent would take effort, perseverance, and perhaps just a little bit of luck. It also reminded me of what may never happen.

Once we became foster parents and were placed with a precious baby boy, my entire existence seemed to sway towards completely meeting his needs. Though the goal was reunification with his biological mother, I dug into being his “temporary” mamma until I was told to stop. During his first few months of life, I started to become keenly aware that this path I was on was not completely about me. I wanted it to be. I wanted for people to say, “You deserve this. You are better. This child should be your child.” They did not say that, though. In hindsight, I am so glad.

In my spirit, any restlessness I had felt through the many years walking in the thickness of barrenness started to dissolve into this newly felt and deeply appreciated zest for what was to come in the future. Don’t get me wrong, though. There were many head-buried-in-the-pillow nights. There were plenty of “what if’s”, weaknesses, and extremely raw and vulnerable moments. Even still, my once-restless spirit about parenthood withered away with each tender experience of nurturing, loving on, and capturing the beautiful moments of watching a child develop and grow.

Nearly two years went by before that little baby I held so dear became mine forever. With the final pounding of the Judge’s gavel, my restless spirit seemed to take its final breath. It poured out in the tears that streamed down my face while the Judge announced that this child was mine. At the time I did not know that I would sit in the same chair two more times to experience the joy of two more little ones becoming forever mine.

Adoption has fulfilled the restless spirit in me. It has erased the words of “it will never happen,” “just move along with life,” “this will never make sense,” and “barrenness is here for life” that tended to write themselves on my heart on a daily basis. When I think about what adoption has done for my husband’s and my life, my family’s life, and those who have surrounded us through the years, I still do not think I can eloquently capture in words what a wild, fantastic, and deeply spiritual ride it has been.

Adoption has definitely fulfilled the restless spirit in me.  It replaced restlessness with purpose, confusion with a deeper understanding, and it settled my heart to the resolve that all is well with my soul.

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Caroline Bailey

Caroline is a mother of three children through adoption and a strong advocate for the needs of children and families involved in the child welfare system in the United States. At the age of eleven (1983), she underwent an emergency hysterectomy in order to save her life. Caroline is the youngest person to have a hysterectomy. Her life has been profoundly affected by infertility. In 2006, Caroline and her husband, Bruce, became licensed foster parents. They were blessed to adopt two of their children through foster care in 2008 and 2010. Their youngest child is a relative of Caroline, and they celebrated his adoption in 2013. Caroline works for a Christian child welfare agency in Missouri. She has been a guest speaker at churches and conferences regarding adoption and is currently working on a memoir about the impact of illness, faith, foster care, and adoption in her life. Caroline is also an avid cyclist and enjoys cheering her children on in their various sporting activities. She shares her experience about foster care, adoption, barrenness, parenting, and faith on her blog. She would love to hear from you! Contact her at

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