“We’ve decided we want to adopt!” One sentence brought us a sigh of relief, a whole new set of stresses, and an apparently wide-open door for people to share their “scary” stories about adoption. You know the ones… “My sister’s best friend’s brother’s dog’s former owner’s cousin adopted a kid and insert false statement here.” Sure there were happy stories and honest positive ones, but it felt like for every nice story, there were two stories where people were trying to tell us every single scary thing they’d ever heard about adoption. It never felt like anyone was intentionally trying to spook us, but a ton of them ended up doing just that!

To be honest, when we jumped into adoption, I think we were so much in the honeymoon phase. Everything was blissful and wonderful, and we just knew it would all pan out just like we’d dreamed. After our first contact with an expectant mother where we had to let her know that we weren’t meant to be her sweet boy’s parents, the fear set in for me. It was all-encompassing at times. Some of my fears were irrational, but occasionally, there were legit batshiz crazy how-could-I-ever think-of-that fears. Most of them were things like fear of if we’d ever be chosen again, fear of if our caseworker would ever present us to another expectant mother, fear of not being good enough, and fear of rejection. One main fear was that God didn’t really want us to be parents—something I was sure I’d worked through with infertility. Occasionally, I’d get told, “Maybe you’re just not meant to be parents,” and that we should just wait and let it all happen on God’s time. When those words were uttered, my faith was shattered. It still stings to this day whenever I hear that phrase said—even if it’s not to me.

While I’d love to say I was able to restore my faith in adoption rather quickly, it would be a lie. One gigantic lie. There was a serious dark time for me that lasted a few months. I doubted our path, and I doubted the process. At times, I was certain that we’d never parents and that there would never be an expectant mother who would chose us.

Then we got chosen, and my heart jumped. THIS was going to work out! All hope was restored! We met her and hung out and talked quite a bit. Then, roughly a month before her due date, she decided that parenting her baby was best for them. We got word through our caseworker of this big change in plans. While it stung and I knew in my heart that it was the right thing, I couldn’t help but catch of brief glimpse of all my fears. This time was different, though. I made the decision to choose to not be afraid or devastated like I had before. We knew all along that she could chose to parent and told each other that we’d love her no matter what and hope that maybe we were a bright spot in her pregnancy.

A few days after receiving the news I decided to send her a text letting her know how wonderful she is and how great a mom she’ll be and that we’re proud of her and would be there to support her however we could, even if it was just to talk.

We loved (and still love) that amazing woman. By opening up and being supportive of her regardless of my fears and loving unconditionally, I know deep down that it restored my faith in adoption. I know that I needed to learn some things before we became parents, before we entered into an open adoption relationship.