How Growing a Garden and Adopting a Child are Alike | Garden Week

These two worthwhile experiences require work and dedication.

Denalee Chapman April 10, 2016
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I’m growing my first real garden for the first time since I was a child and assigned to weed the chard aisle in our family garden. And boy! Am I excited! My excitement is probably partly due to the fact that for most of my adult life I’ve lived where there are just 2 seasons: either rainy and more rainy, or cold and colder. Regardless, gardening in those areas is for professionals, not amateur plant growers like me.  But this year, in our new home in an area that has four seasons, we’ve already begun!

Well, we actually started the process last fall. Yep, fall . . . too late to reap a harvest, but just the right time to cut out a bit of earth, add leftover food to compost, till the dirt regularly, and plan, plan, plan. Oh! That’s not all. We’ve been saving egg crates and recently filled the holes with potting soil and dropped little seeds in each spot.  All this in preparation to reap some marvelous, delicious, nutritious, and every-other-great-adjective food.  We do this believing that our work really will pay off. And to make it even better, we are actually enjoying the process of gardening—even before reaping.

What do you think? Is it possible to enjoy all that preparation that has to take place in an adoption? We know that it’s worth all that work. If it weren’t so, we wouldn’t do it. Yes, even the mundane, difficult, time-consuming hard work is all worth it to get our children here. But how much more glorious our adoption experience could be if we were able to find ways to enjoy the preparation!

  • Where. Just like choosing a garden plot, in adoption we choose where we will find our child. It’s not just an arbitrary “I want a child, any child” sort of thing. We pray about it, we consider it, we study and research, we ask others. Choosing whether we will find our child internationally, or right near our neighborhood . . . it’s a process that can be joyful.
  • Who. Well, in gardening, it’s a “what” rather than a “who,” but the process is the same. Will we plant peas, beets, lettuce, melons? As we consider adoption, will we seek a sibling group, a newborn, a waiting child with special needs? Excitement can be abundant as we consider our child or children!
  • Work. Remember Mary Poppins and her advice given in song? “To every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. Find the fun, and SNAP, the job becomes a game! And every task you undertake becomes a piece of cake!” In gardening, the backbreaking work can be fun as we feel the earth, breathe the air, make it a team effort, and find humor throughout the experience. In adoption, the time intensive and sometimes heartbreaking work can be enjoyable as we communicate with the birth mother, visit with our social worker, plan our trip to pick up our child, and more. Find the fun in the work and the tasks will be easier.
  • Reap. The best part of everything in life is reaping the rewards of our efforts. No one needs to be told how to enjoy food from a garden, just like no one needs to be told how to enjoy bringing your child home. It’s instinctual. It’s the cherry on top!

Gardening and adoption . . . two worthwhile experiences that result in rewards beyond imagination!

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Denalee Chapman

Denalee is an adoptive mother, a motivational speaker, a writer, and a lover of life. She and her husband have adventured through the hills and valleys of life to find that the highest highs and the lowest lows are equally fulfilling. Book Denalee to speak to your group, or find Denalee's writings, including her books on her website at DenaleeChapman.com.


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