I have always said that adoption made me a better parent. I can’t quite put my finger on why or how, but I know that without adoption, I wouldn’t be the rock star warrior momma that I am.

Building your family through adoption takes time. It’s not a nine-month thing. It’s more like a nine-year thing, sometimes filled with endless soul-searching questions that often times are without answers. Most people take a trip down fertility lane and arrive at the door of adoption heartbroken and desperate, bursting with unconditional all-consuming love for their future child.

During my journey to adoption, I didn’t realize how much of a gift the waiting time was. I knew I wanted to be a mother. I knew I wanted my husband to be my children’s father. But other than that, I didn’t know anything. What did we think about discipline? Daycare? Would one of us stay home to raise the children full-time? Where did our ideas about how to go about parenting differ? How were they the same? We didn’t know. Most parents don’t know until they are in the thick of it.

To build your family through adoption, you have to lay out who you are as an individual, a couple, and a future family. It’s time that not everyone gets to look at and make deliberate choices about your life and the life of your children. Here are some questions from our home study:

“How were you disciplined as a child? Who was the disciplinarian? How did this affect you and how will you discipline your child?”

or this one

“What was your family motto growing up? How did this affect you and what is your family motto?”

I had spent the last six years thinking about organic cotton… I was fully prepared to care for a child’s needs, but man, the questions really got us thinking and talking about more than just the baby. We were working out the details about our daily life. What to Expect When You’re Expecting didn’t ask things like that.

Taking the time for each of us to write all this out and turn it into the state of Michigan (not to mention our potential future child’s birth family) was unique bonding for Chris, me, and our future children.

Not to mention the patience it takes to complete a home study. It’s a huge experience of hurry up and wait, hurry up and wait, repeat. There is a reason patience is a virtue: It’s hard. The not being chosen, the constant rejection, and feeling a little bit hopeless. It’s all hard. It’s all a practice preparing you for parenting, or at least that’s what I got from it.

When your child finds you and your eyes are watering and bloodshot from not sleeping, you have on your third sour-milk soaked shirt of day, or your teenager hates you, you will have an opportunity to look back at all of the really, really hard, challenging times you overcame to get to this little piece of tear stained heaven right in front of you.

Adoption gave me the gift of my own shortcomings, time to reflect, an opportunity to grow, and the most sacred title: Mom.

Are you ready to pursue a domestic infant adoption? Click here to connect with a compassionate, experienced adoption professional who can help get you started on the journey of a lifetime.