Friday, February 7, 2014

I thought I knew what I was doing. But I didn't. And I am glad. An adoption story.

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This post is paid for by the Ad Council.  All opinions are my own.


If I had a dollar for every person who told me that they had always wanted to adopt,   I bet I could pay with cash on my next Target trip.  And get change.

I knew I wanted to adopt since I was a kid.  I thought that was because I was adopted.  It turns out, non-adopted people also have long held dreams to adopt children.  I know this because people tell me all the time.

Most of the people who tell me that they have always wanted to adopt, don't end up adopting.  Most people that tell me this, express some regret. They wish that they had done it.  Taken that scary leap of faith.  Maybe they heard a horror story about an adoption gone wrong.  Maybe they weren't sure that they could love a child not born to them. Maybe they thought it was financially out of reach.  Maybe they thought the kids that need families need more than they could give.  Maybe they thought they weren't good enough, strong enough, brave enough.

I had no such reservations.  My husband, Kurt, had some, but I dismissed them.  I knew we could do it.  By the time we adopted our first son, we had been parents for 17 years.  We had loads of experience.  Our two daughters were in high school.  And they were awesome.  We clearly knew what we were doing.  Also, being an adopted person, I was obviously an expert.  What wasn't obvious at the time, was that I was an idiot.  I had NO idea what we were getting into.  Good thing.  Had I known, I might have chickened out.  And that would have been the worst mistake of my life.

I took the classes.  I read everything I could get my hands on but, nothing could have prepared me for our new son, Mikias.  He was a few months shy of his 5th birthday.  I was prepared for a lot of one on one time while Kurt was at work and the girls were at school.  I was ready to comfort him, reassure him, love him.

I wasn't prepared for him to be a tiny human hurricane, emptying every drawer and cabinet in the house, figuring out every electronic gadget, turning everything with a volume knob to full blast.  I didn't know he would fill the bathtub at least 4 times a day, take of his clothes and get in and insist that I stay right next to him as he did all these things.  I couldn't even put back the pots, pans and mixing bowls that he spread across the kitchen floor and often filled with the contents of our refridgerater.

 Why clean up, when we can figure out that my alarm clock is also a CD player?  And that over the course of an hour he could play 109 CDs for 10 seconds at a time on full blast while wearing not one but two Red Sox caps.


I didn't know that the only way either of us would ever get rest was to drive aimlessly through cold winter days until he fell asleep.  I often would pull in the closest parking lot, jump into the back seat with him and sleep with him until he woke up.  I remember once, waking up in the parking lot of a beach a couple of towns away,  my car was cold, the sun was setting.  We both had been drooling and two hours had passed.  But his hand was on my head, he smiled at me as he woke up and I was content.  I thought, even if life is going to be like this forever, me a little old woman driving around my grown man son so we could rest after he had a busy day destroying the house, it would be okay.  Because he was my son.  I loved him.

8 years later
Luckily, it didn't come to that.  I don't know when it all started to feel normal. Love came first and it came quickly.  Getting to know each other, settling in, falling into a new rhythm of family life took longer than the falling in love part.  But it was okay.  Because we loved him.  And before 2 years had passed we did it again.  We added Jemberu to our family.  And you know what?  It was kind of easy.  No chaos, no long drives, it was like he had always been there.  Same huge love.  Different adjustment.    True story.

Have you been thinking about adoption?  AdoptUSKids is a good place to learn more.

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24 comments:

  1. So beautiful! I can absolutely relate to the"tiny human hurricane" and the lifelong dream to adopt. :)

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    1. Thanks Nella! I love following your blog. Your joy is so evident with your new little girl!

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  2. Alison -- here is one of my most loved poems:

    Faith

    When you walk to the edge of all the light you have
    and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown,
    you must believe that one of two things will happen:

    There will be something solid for you to stand upon,
    or, you will be taught how to fly. (Patrick Overton - The Leaning Tree, 1975)

    Or, the short version (to keep in your pocket for handy use): "Leap, and the net will appear."

    So proud of your courage, your faith and your stupidity! People like you are the only reason anything worthwhile ever gets done! xox - Brenda B.

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  3. I love this! We have adopted twice: once through foster care/state and now my youngest with an agency. I have much to learn and many fears to overcome, but my husband and I are loving the journey. I used to write books about myself adopting a little girl named susan who was African American long before I ever found out I would never conceive. I believe God was preparing my heart even as a child =) Adoption is a wonderful thing.... Thank you!

    Naomi

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    1. Naomi, thank you for sharing! So many people have adoption in their hearts since childhood. I love it.

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  4. Awesome! As an adoptee who is adopting, I can relate that it feels like the natural way to add to a family (except for all of the paperwork). Like you, I have to remind myself all the time that EVERY PERSON'S journey is unique, biological kids ore adopted kids. Every person is different, and, while I might understand some things about my future kids in a special way, I can't be part of their past experiences. But we can move into the future as a family. (Oh - and the kid we're trying to adopt, we FOUND at Adoptuskids.com! :) )

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    1. Ahhh! That is fabulous! Can't wait to hear more about your journey!

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  5. Beautifully written. Can't wait to read more of your blog :)

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  6. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing! We have adopted one sweet boy and are going back to do it again in the next month or so. We are so thankful to God for our sweet son! :)

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    1. I love hearing this! Best wishes on your journey to your next child.

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  7. This is so lovely… a friend shared it to my FB and I'm so glad she did. Thanks for writing it!

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    1. And thank you for letting me know you enjoyed it.

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  8. Hi, my name is Elizabeth Elieson and I love this story. I would be interested in using it on a radio show about adoption. Please email me at elizabeth.elieson@byu.edu

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  9. Your blog is fantastic! I love your writing--very entertaining and heartfelt. My husband and I are starting our first adoption journey (as of yesterday!) and it's so nice to find a community of families that are likeminded. Your family is beautiful! keep up the posts! it's truly inspiring! I hope to hold it all together as well as you do :) or at least to write as hilariously and honestly as you have. :) All the best, Leah, treasureandheart.com

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    1. Leah, I thought your comment made my day and then I checked out your blog and THAT really made my day! I love it. I can't wait to follow your adoption journey.

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  10. Loved reading this, it made me smile, thank you. I am waiting for my own little 'hurricane'.

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  11. Christie! That is so exciting! Keep me posted.

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  12. Replies
    1. Hi Trace,
      My sons were adopted from Ethiopia and we have met and maintain contact with their birth families.
      I was adopted domestically during the era of closed adoptions. I was able get my identifying information and open up my own adoption 30 years ago.

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  13. I'm sorry to post this here but I didn't see another way to contact you privately.

    I've recently started a fundraising website/blog that lists fundraisers that anyone can use but the fundraisers posted are hosted or run by adopting families or organizations that help disadvantaged people so they will be benefited also.

    Examples include:
    A) crafts or items made by adopting families that can be resold by those doing a fundraiser....the fundraiser gets a percentage and the adopting family makes the money they needed also
    B) Adopting families who are involved in direct sales and willing to share the profits/commission with others needing to do a fundraiser
    C) items for sale by organizations that employ people in need

    I'm looking adopting families who would benefit by posting there or those who are looking for fundraisers for their own adoptions. Would you be willing to post something on your blog?

    http://www.ideasforeasyfundraising.com/

    Thank you!
    Shasta Grimes

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