How Adoption Helped Me Learn the True Meaning of Courage

Our family was born out of courage.

Shelley Skuster June 29, 2015
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It’s 3:24 a.m., and she’s crying.


I roll out of bed and push my frazzled hair out of my face.

Using a flashlight from my iPhone, I dodge dozens of toys and stuffed Elmos sprawled on the floor.

We’ve got to get rid of some of these, I think to myself for the millionth time.

I shuffle into the kitchen, shake up a bottle and tiptoe quietly into her room.

“Shhhhhhh…It’s okay, baby girl. Momma’s here,” I tell my 5-month old who’s impatiently screaming for something to eat.

I reach into her crib and gently pick her up, praying her big sis stays asleep.

Her head nestles under my neck as she catches her breath and calms down.

Groggy, I take a deep breath, sigh and close my eyes.

God, I’m exhausted. I’m worn. Give me the courage to face this day so early in the morning . . . 

And then it happens.

I lift my heavy eyelids, and my daughter’s dark eyes meet mine.

For a fleeting moment, my tiredness escapes me.

Those beady brown eyes staring up at me were born out of courage and strength; they’re identical to her birth momma’s.

Tears start welling up in the corners of my eyes.

I can’t think about my daughter’s birth mom without emotions overtaking me.

My chin starts quivering as I stroke her curly hair and start remembering…

I remember the phone call when I found out she chose me as her daughter’s momma for a lifetime.

It takes courage to admit you want more for your child than you can provide. It takes courage to choose a life for your child, even if it’s not with you.

I remember the moment my husband and I met her in a small hospital room on a cold winter day; we hugged and wept for hours.

It takes courage to admit adoption is hard and messy, sad and joyous.

I remember the moment she kissed her daughter goodbye and walked out of the hospital with the doors closing behind her.

It takes courage to trust strangers with providing a life filled with everything you wish for your child. It takes courage to lovingly carry a baby for nine months and have faith in a family you’ve chosen for her.

Tears start running down my cheeks as I remember these things.

Suddenly, my silent prayer for courage to get through another early morning of motherhood seems minuscule because our family was born out of it.


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Shelley Skuster

Shelley is a former award-winning television journalist who traded in suit coats and red lipstick for a messy bun and yoga pants. She's a freelance writer who stays at home with her three daughters who are all ((gasp)) under the age of three and came to her via adoption and birth. She's the woman behind the blog Shelley Writes, and she can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

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