How Adoption Has Given Me the Gift of Dear Friends

Today is Friendship day!

Kenna Shumway August 07, 2016
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When my husband and I began our journey to parenthood via adoption, we felt alone. Infertility affects one in nine couples, but often I felt like we were the only ones. Infertility is such a personal and yet often times a very public trial. I felt embarrassed if I showed any weakness, and the constant comparing myself to others on the same path made it hard to open up and make friends. My internal dialogue kept me worrying about “what ifs,” which then held me back from finding dear friends.

Before I knew we were going to grow our family through adoption, I blogged about my journey with infertility. It was terrifying to put myself out there, but I knew that if I wanted to connect with others who could understand what I was going through, I had to take a chance. I pushed the what ifs aside and got to writing. The response was amazing to me. Sure, there were negative comments, and plenty of people who tried to bring me down. However, for every crappy and rude comment, there were five uplifting and encouraging comments. Comments turned into conversations, and conversations turned into friendships.

There have been many instances where my adoption journey has been dark and lonely, and for a long time I was too afraid to reach out. Once I worked up the courage to confide in those on the same path, I found acceptance and understanding. I have been amazed by the kindness and support I’ve found within the adoption community. Even though everyone walks a unique path, there is a bond that happens instantly.

In 2011, a few months after the adoption of our son, I received an email from a fellow adoptive mom. She had recently experienced a failed match with a young lady who was thinking about placing her child for adoption. She had been sent my way by another adoptive mom who knew I had a similar experience. To be honest, I don’t remember exactly how our first conversation went, but over the next few months we realized that we had a lot in common and our friendship began to grow.

I can’t tell you how happy I am that Tiffany emailed me that day. She has stuck with me through the good, the bad, and the straight up crazy. She is patient, kind, and acknowledges that even though my execution is usually a mess, I have the best of intentions. Her empathy skills are unmatched and she has a special talent for knowing what to say when I feel like I can’t handle all the crazy that sometimes comes into my life.

Before I started opening up about my story, if you had told me that my closest friend would come into my life because of adoption, I wouldn’t have believed you. But the truth is the majority of my friendships have entered my life through the thread of adoption. And that has made all the difference.

“True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island . . . to find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him is a blessing.”  -Baltasar Gracian

kenna and tiff tiff and kenna

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Kenna Shumway

Wife. Adoptive mom. Writer. Photographer. Endometriosis survivor, infertility warrior & adoption advocate. Rock star on weekends. Currently calls Ohio home with her pharmacist husband and their ginger son. Read more from her on her blog.

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