Knowing it is a difficult pill to swallow, I nonetheless have to highly recommend seeking emotional healing prior to beginning an adoptive parent search. I’m not downplaying the healing role of a successful outcome, but at the same time, we have to take into consideration the fact that not all searches have happy endings and I’d like you to be ready for that.
So, be prepared by taking the necessary steps toward healing and at least be in ‘healing mode’ prior to beginning your search. This is a protective measure that will strengthen and then help safeguard your heart. I recommend, at the very least, talking to someone you trust, who is stable in their own life, and is a positive encourager. That doesn’t mean this person will boo-hoo with you if you are wallowing in self-pity. That is exactly what we do not need. But better, a person who will empathize and redirect any negative thoughts towards positive ones, particularly about your value as a human being. If you don’t have someone like that in your life, find them!
If professional counsel isn’t affordable, there are many free places to find help…Here on Adoption.com, for one. A local adoption agency may even have a division that deals with the emotional/psychological challenges specific to adoptees. Many churches have counselors available as well, or at least will have staff who can point you in the right direction. There are also adoptee support groups. Any and all of these can help prevent you from being caught in the “nobody-knows-the-trouble-I’ve-seen, nobody- knows-my-sorrow” undertow. Being sucked out to sea focuses our attention to treading water just to stay alive…and we don’t want to just stay alive, we want to live fully!
Of course, to follow through with any of this, we either have to overcome pride, or re-evaluate our idea of what it means to seek help, or perhaps, do both. Pride really does come before a fall, so it’s just plain better and healthier to be done with it. That doesn’t mean we simper, either. When choosing between pride and humility, know this: Humility requires the most honesty, and therefore, the most courage. Seeking help does not mean we are weak, it means we want to do this search thing right the first time. It means we don’t want to waste time. I have a picture in my mind of a person sitting glued to a chair, hunched over, wearing black, scowling with wringing hands and mumbling to him/herself. It is a picture of a person wasting precious time with negative cyclic thoughts, inwardly turned and unable to push past the past. In fact, this could be so detrimental that there is no forward movement at all.
Who wants that? Obviously you don’t, or you wouldn’t still be here. Most of us have heard talk of getting “the most bang for your buck”. My husband says it this way: “If you’re gonna be a bear, be a grizzly!” And if we want the best ‘seek and find’ experience, we have to go about it the same way…by going whole-hog towards emotional healing so we can be emotionally ready to do the best job possible with the least amount of heart damage. So, find that someone or ones who can help, get encouraged, and then get on the path to healing…first!
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