Let’s Be Real about Adoption. 5 Things You Should Know

Adoption is difficult, but it is so worth it.

Jessica Heesch August 22, 2018

Lets Be Real about Adoption 5 Things You Should Know

Adoption is one of the most beautiful things I have experienced in my life. It made me a mother right when I thought it never would become a mom. I not only gained a son from it, but I also gained a whole family from it.  But it also broke me down in many ways. It is not meant for the weak at heart, and it certainly isn’t “an easy way out.” Let’s explore some of the really hard truths of going through the adoption process that aren’t always easy to talk about.

It’s expensive.
1. It’s expensive.

Not that the cost should sway your decision to adopt or not, just be prepared for the amount of money it is going to cost you. I recently was reading an article about tips you should know before you start the adoption process (of course I read this years after we adopted) that said you should put away three times the amount of money your agency said it was going to cost because there are always extra expenses that come up and that way you are prepared to pay for them. I wish we would have known that when we were going through the adoption process! We were fortunate enough to fundraise through an organization called Ordinary Hero and were able to offset most of the adoption expenses with the adoption tax credit. Plan ahead and plan accordingly, and the cost won’t come as such a shock.

It’s emotionally draining.
2. It’s emotionally draining.

Not that I would know, but I can imagine being pregnant is emotionally draining too, but adopting brings a whole other level of emotional baggage. And I feel I can say that because I experienced almost a six-year wait before we became a family of three. I cried a lot. I was mad a lot. I questioned a lot of things. I mourned for the life I thought I was going to have. I went through all of those emotions in a cycle every single year we waited for our child. Then we were blessed with a happy, energetic little boy that changed my world. And right when I thought those emotions would go away, they stayed, but this time for a whole other reason. I cried because I wanted my baby to stay a baby. I cried because I didn’t know how to handle the hard parenting moments. And then I stressed and was mad about how to deal with specific situations that would only arise if you have an adopted child. If you were to ask me, parenting an adopted child is a lot like parenting your biological children, but then there is a portion of it that you just cannot parent the same way you would a biological child. There will be moments of doubt; there will be moments of questioning their identity, their sense of belonging, etc. I was prepared for a baby and forgot to look past the baby stage and prepare myself for the hard moments of parenting. Be careful because they sneak up on you when you aren’t looking.

It’s a long process.
3. It’s a long process.

The background checks, the home study, the portfolios, the endless amount of paperwork is daunting. And that all happens before you even begin to “wait” for your child. It took us probably six months to get from the start of our paperwork to the “approval” stage of our adoption process before we could have potential birth parents look at our portfolio. Then, like I said, we waited almost six years to be matched with our son’s birth mom. Of course, I can look back at that time and see the bigger picture now and how we were just meant to be a family of three. But during those six years, I spent almost all of them questioning, thinking, wondering when it was going to be our turn to have a child. Everyone else around us could get pregnant just by looking at their spouse. Or they only waited a month before they were matched with their daughter’s birth mom. Or so that is how I perceived it. Then we were matched with our son’s birth mom, and years of heartache seemed to have vanished in a blink of an eye. Not that I can’t dig them out in a moment’s notice, but our son’s birth mother calmed my fears, warmed my heart, and let me become a mom. For that, there are no words that would completely describe the love and respect I have for her. I have told people before that the adoption process is sort of like a roller coaster. There will be really big highs, some really deep lows, and a lot of turns and curves. But hang on, the ride is worth it.

It’s not for everyone.
4. It’s not for everyone.

Don’t get me wrong, adoption is beautiful and a great way to start a family, but it is not for everyone. I am pretty sure I am not the only adoptive mom to feel a sense of loss by not being able to carry my own child. That is something I have to live with and something I don’t always struggle with, but there are days when I will see another pregnant woman and just get lost in thoughts of what it would be like to feel a baby kick the inside of my stomach. There are days when I wonder if my child and I would have a different relationship because I carried him or her in my belly. I can’t speak 100% for my husband, but I can imagine he too struggles with not being able to create a biological child. Don’t get me wrong, we love our son with all of our hearts and would not change it for the world, but that does not mean we don’t still struggle. There are some people who just cannot get past the fact that their child could possibly not look like them or have different-colored skin. These are all things you have to consider before you decide to make an adoption plan. Adoption is also something that doesn’t end at birth. Birth is just the beginning. Adoption is a lifelong process and something you would need to address as parents and with your child. If you struggle with any of these things and don’t think adoption is right for you, that is okay too. Being able to admit that it is not for you is a very courageous thing to do.

It is a beautiful way to have a family.
5. It is a beautiful way to have a family.

With all of the scary hard truths above, adoption is still the most beautiful thing I have witnessed to date. It made me a mom. I cannot begin to describe that feeling to you. It was something I waited so long for that sometimes I still find myself amazed at this opportunity I have been given. Our relationship with our son’s birth mother and her family is the most beautiful and precious thing I have experienced. I have said a million times there is no manual on open adoption; there is no set rules or expectations. For me, it is simply to love. Love my son enough to give him access to his birth family. Love my son as if he grew in my belly, except even better: he grew in my heart!

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Jessica Heesch

Jessica lives in the Midwest with her husband and almost 4-year-old adopted son. She provides one-on-one assistance to her clients of a family law attorney, helping them get through the tough situations they find themselves in. She also manages the day-to-day activities and long-term planning. When she is not at the law office you will find her blogging at www.threeismyhappyplace.com. She finds passion in sharing their story of the gift of adoption. When she is not providing inspiration to others through her story, you will find her running the roads of Wisconsin, spending time with her family, exploring the United States, or reading her favorite book.

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