Real talk about adoption.
In the last four years, we’ve hit a lot of walls in our adoption process. I have some hard truths, friends: it didn’t happen to you. It happened to me.
I do not give you my permission to use my story as your excuse. I don’t. You don’t get to look me in the eye and tell me that the reason you aren’t considering adoption any more is because of our story. That is an excuse and I just will not breathe it in when you say it anymore and call it anything but that. I will not be your excuse when I am still getting up every single day and doing this. All in. For 1500 days.
I will not be your excuse when I’ve started three businesses, borrowed from our future, learned entirely new skills so I could market them and save for children that needed me, even while carrying and delivering and nursing two more of my own, while never slowing down at my real job and also becoming licensed foster parents in the process.
You can be mad when I say it. You can tell me how mad you are. You can block me and huff and puff to others. It doesn’t change anything for me. You don’t get to tell the person doing it that it can’t be done. You can come at me with all of the other “buts” that you have, but if they are obstacles that we have overcome, I am just not the audience.
Don’t tell me it’s the money. Don’t tell me it’s the travel. Don’t tell me it’s that you don’t have family to help. Don’t tell me it’s anything other than you. Don’t hand me excuses, give me your fears.
You are worried about the money? Me, too. I will show you what has worked for us. I will share what has worked for friends. It’s not going to be comfortable but if your only fear left if money, you are in good shape. That is the easiest one, believe it or not.
Have no idea how to make the travel situation work? Gah. Me, either. I will be back in a few weeks and can share my hits and misses. I can send you to my friends who’ve made it work, who’s brains I’ve been picking.
You don’t have family to help? Me, either. But MAN… the adoption tribe is intense and huge and giving and loving. In the last four years, God has given me sisters. I’ve never been alone. We have room at the table. There is always room for more sisterhood.
I get it all, because we’ve been there and I am so tired of minimizing my own strength and bravery and commitment for other people’s comfort. I am so tired of other’s excuses being lobbed at us as signs of our privilege. We are so lucky, they say, that we can afford to adopt. We are so lucky, they say, to have the support that we do.
Good grief… we sure are. We are lucky and blessed and thankful beyond words. But we are also hard working, ass-busting hustlers. People see how hard we are working to make this happen, they see that we stare down every challenge and heartbreak with a brave and open heart, with love, with trust and optimism. People watch us try to give back as much as we receive and are excited to help us. I never knew what community was until the one we didn’t know we had wrapped their arms around us.
We never would have been on the receiving end of the love and support that we have been if we didn’t take that first shaky step into “yes.” If we didn’t take our own excuses that we held as truth for TEN YEARS and say “no more. We will not let fear keep us from what faith already has covered.” And we love these kids too much to let you repeat the lies we’ve already quieted. And we love you too much to let you miss out on the best yes of your life.
It’s okay to not want this. It’s okay if this isn’t for your family. Adoption doesn’t make anyone a savior. We are just people doing what we felt we should do. But the grey path that many want to plant their flag on of “I want to but it’s so unfair that I can’t because xyz” doesn’t exist. You are all in or you are all out. Isn’t it the same with everything else in life?
We did it. We are doing it. We are not the people to tell your reasons because we already know what they are. We are scared to death. We are standing on a mountain of loss and grief, but we stand there proudly, knowing that there was nothing we didn’t do for those kids.
It’s not about us. When you know that, you cannot unlearn it. When it becomes about the kids, when your self becomes less than the kids who need you to stop with the reasons and start with your heart, when you find yourself at the sewing machine at 4:00 am two days after giving birth because your discomfort is nothing compared to a child’s sitting in an orphanage waiting for you to be uncomfortable but committed, then our story will look differently, too.
It will be one of beauty. Our story isn’t one to justify giving up. It’s one to show what can happen when you don’t.