Every time Brangelina jetsetted across the globe, they’d return with a bigger brood of little stars. While celebs drawing attention to adoption isn’t all bad, the ease and glamour doesn’t exactly depict how it goes down in real-life.
Our son Graham, with his killer baby blues, made me a mom in 2012 at two minutes old. We met Shea this May just 13 minutes after delivery. We were one of the families at the courthouse last week finalizing her adoption as part of National Adoption Month.
Adoption is beautiful and joyful, yet messy, gritty, and oh so complicated. Whether you are considering adoption yourself, or walking beside someone who is touched by it, here are five common myths I’ve learned through my personal experience:
Myth #1: Adoption is affordable for everyone.
Private adoption, which most infant adoptions are, is expensive. Our priceless bundles of joy set our retirement plans back a few years. While I wish it wasn’t riddled with so. many. fees. – it is worth every penny.
Myth #2: Everyone will understand and support the decision to adopt.
Some of your friends and family will not fully grasp the myriad of emotions involved in the process. Some may even disagree with your decision. Be prepared to, at times, feel like you and your partner are on an island all by yourselves. The upside: It will bond you in a way many never experience.
Myth #3: The loss experienced in adoption is a one-time transaction.
No way around it, adoption is based on loss. First, the birth parents and their family experience loss. I honor the bravery and selflessness of my kids’ birth parents. They chose life and love. I don’t know all of their journey and their pain outright, but their loss is a part of our family’s story. We don’t have contact with Graham or Shea’s birth parents, yet rarely does a day go by that they are not on my heart.
If I’m being honest, there is loss you experience yourself. Our family of four is perfectly complete, and I would not swap my beautiful littles for anything in this world. Still the innate female longing to conceive didn’t dissipate when I became a mother. Maybe someday when I am beyond my childbearing ages, that nagging sense of loss will go away. But for now, as I navigate my mid-30s, it’s still real and often raw.
As our kids grow to understand their stories, they will inevitably live with their own sense of loss too.
Myth #4: Adoption allows for more control.
Adoption is the ultimate test of perseverance and trust. Prepare to feel NO control. After you’ve done your homework, all you can do is wait for a match. For our son, it was over two years. For our daughter, it was under two months. There is no magic formula.
Once matched with a birth mom, all you can do is trust…and pray. The thought of what substances may be circulating into my sweet unborn baby’s system nearly broke me. This control freak does not deal well with feeling powerless. But the process pulled out patience and muscle from every crevice of my soul and I will forever be stronger because of it.
Myth #5: Becoming a family through adoption is less than.
Fortunately, I had a tribe of women who wouldn’t let me believe this lie. The baby showers I was thrown were some of the most precious days of my life and made us feel like we were truly a family, which was a feeling I needed more than I knew.
Then, the flood of support, meals, and love we received when we brought our babies home was overwhelming. While you won’t be taking care of your newborn riddled with physical exhaustion and recovery, your mental exhaustion and recovery will need nurture.
Most days I am no different than any other mom out there–juggling the day-to-day of raising small human beings to be good, God fearing, kind, and contributing citizens. There are the moments, however, that I’m reminded of the atypical journey my babies traveled before they even came into this world, and the grit, determination, and unfathomable love it took for us all to become a family. Adoption has forever changed and MADE my life. I suppose that is glamorous.