This thing called adoption is bigger than you can dream. This adoption thing is not new. It’s as old as time. It begins as a way to build your family. It has its own language, community, and a journey without end.

I cannot count the ways adoption has taught me to dig deep layer by layer and choose who I want to be. It has allowed me to practice being that person in the world.

As a family built through adoption, we attended classes to be educated about important adoption-related issues, language, and law. It was the first layer of adoption being hard. We practiced and role-played endless situations to anticipate the feelings of expectant women considering placing and those of adoptees, as well as our own vulnerabilities and insecurities.  We stretched and grew to be who adoption needed us to be. I entered this adoption world with nervous confidence. I felt ready for all of what this new journey had to offer.

As the months passed by and our family grew, a new layer of adoption was upon us. We were getting bombarded with emails and text messages.”‘I didn’t know you were pregnant.” “Is he yours?” “Why?” At the same time, a tiny voice was creeping in my head. “You didn’t answer that right.” You aren’t good at adoption.’

Why was this not going as smoothly as I had thought? I did all of the classes. I was filling my time with adoption blogs and learning my new world. Where was this voice coming from? Where was my confidence?  It’s kind of funny how when you’re role playing in your adoption classes or discussing “telling the story” with your social worker, you’re an expert. When the questions are coming from your high school friends and the lady in line at the grocery store, you’re a nervous newbie.

A few more months passed. I learned that practice doesn’t always make perfect. I was recognizing the need for boundaries. I practiced implementing them. The questions that seemed hard at first faded. New situations arose. There was definitely an ebb and flow to this adoption thing.  I was starting to find grace for myself. I forgave myself for missteps and worked through that little voice of self-doubt.

This adoption thing is more than getting to finalization. You start to notice the things about adoption all around you. You become aware of all the adoption stereotypes in the media and the ones you didn’t know existed in your own circle of people. As one adoption layer melts away to the next, there is an opportunity not to get caught up in the hard but to dig deep to find the positive. There is an opportunity to change this world.

It takes practice, forgiveness, and patience. The more I accept that I am going to make mistakes in this adoption thing, the more confident I feel. The more I forgive myself for answering too many intrusive questions, I feel them less. The more I share my life through adoption and recognize how amazingly beautiful and complicated hard thing it is, the more the little voice of self doubt quiets. There is more space for the Adoption Mama Warrior Rock Star I am.

You can choose to get caught in the hard. Choosing to dig a little deeper and be a positive voice in this world of adoption takes courage. When the road seems to stop and a hard patch is present, breathe through it. Find your grace. Forgive yourself. Have patience. You are amazingly strong, brave, and fearlessly made. I believe in you.  This adoption thing is big. It’s created by a love like no other.

How do you stay positive when adoption is hard? Is adoption what you expected?