To be honest, I’d been drawn to and open to the idea of adoption from a young age. Back then, my collection of dolls were my kids. Each with her or his back story. My Fisher Price Little People also had involved stories of blended families long before I knew what one was. The possibility of adopting some day had even crept into early conversations with my now husband, then boyfriend, going back to our dating days. Any medical issues that also may have come into play aside, without realizing it, I guess creating a family through adoption has always been part of my makeup. Although, knowing how difficult and expensive the process can be, there was a part of me that wasn’t sure it would ever become a reality.
Still, year after year passed by and life stayed busy between college, marriage, jobs, commitments, travel, family, hobbies, and all of the other things great and small that tend to push things we once thought were at the top of our to-do lists just a little bit lower.
Many of my friends started having babies early on. The youngest in my family, I had cute little nieces and nephews in my world by my early 20s. Family functions and holidays became full with their happy little smiles. It was fun watching my siblings raising their kids and fun to be the aunt – still not quite ready for a family of my own, but fully enjoying the growing extended one around me.
My husband and I worked hard and played hard during those years. Our careers kept us on the go and talk of having kids would come and go as something else would come up, yet again putting to a halt taking that next step.
In the early 2000s, we were on vacation – it was so easy to get away back then! We were taking time out for the two of us, looking out over one of the most beautiful sunsets I’d ever seen, when I felt it. Felt sure and ready that the time was now. That there was more than enough love in our relationship and that holding off any longer made no sense no matter how difficult a pregnancy or adoption would be in our busy lives. If everyone else was managing to do this, how could we not manage to figure it out and make it work?
A series of medical mishaps further pushed my husband and I away from a traditional biological family and toward adoption, and without realizing it, suddenly it was as if the universe didn’t want me/us to back down again as the idea became more clear and defined. I seemed to see adoption in headlines and articles and internet information everywhere. Not a day seemed to go by that I wasn’t falling fast. I didn’t mention this to anyone because we really didn’t know anyone who had adopted and I wasn’t ready to hear the opinions from negative Nellies who might play a part in sidelining my dream once again.
One afternoon after work, I found myself searching our state adoption website without really knowing what I was doing, and several hours later, still not knowing what I was doing, I did know that it was time to officially cross the starting line rather than just thinking the thought. It was a strong rush this time and one that no work, illness, injury, emergency, or other was going to stop. I shared my thoughts with my husband who agreed that he was on board – so, nervous hand in nervous hand, we moved forward. We could do this. We attended informational meetings, filled out questionnaires, and eventually found a support group that we felt matched what we were looking for.
It would be another couple years and a series of ups and downs common to any couple planning a family while we carved out our adoption path and were eventually matched with our first child; but throughout that time, we were resolved to make it work regardless and went through all of the foundation work, paperwork, planning, and emotional prep that all adoptive families find themselves submerged in once that emotional and mental light turns green and all systems are go. During that time, many dynamics also changed in our lives, and as if adoption is not complicated enough, we managed to deal with these issues while never giving up hope that things would work out for us. Despite starting our search locally, we wound up taking the international route, much to the surprise of some family and friends – and probably a bit to our surprise as well. But to be honest, I firmly believe our children find their way to us more so than we are able to fully map out our own best laid plans to find them.
Adoption is not LIKE family planning, it IS family planning – and just like in forming families through biology, the hopes, dreams, and options oftentimes veer off course, change direction, or point us in a new direction we’d never considered before starting the journey.
I think it’s fair to say adoption had always been on my radar since those early days – it just took a bit of solid life experience and a better understanding of who I was and what myself and my husband had to offer to a child as a couple before I was ready to say yes. I am thankful to have had the support of my husband and trusted family and friends to help guide what had once been a far-off dream into what is now our beautiful family.