Written by: Liz, Adoptive Mom
Adoption, for me, has been a lesson in letting go.
The letting go began about a year ago. It was the middle of the night, and I was slumped on my bathroom floor, crying quietly to myself, trying not to wake my husband who was sleeping a few feet away in the next room. I texted back and forth with my mom, offering reasons why I would never have the one thing I wanted so badly: to be someone’s mommy. After a decade battling anxiety and depression, I had conquered those demons. With the help of medication and therapy, I was living a normal life. I was happy and successful at work and at home. But after a year spent modifying the medications I was taking to make it safe to get pregnant and trying on our own to conceive, my husband and I were no closer to having a baby. Sitting there on my bathroom floor that night, I realized it was time to let go.
Once I let go of the idea that the only way to “have a baby” was for me to get pregnant, I came back to the idea of adoption. It was something I had thought about so many times before, but it was also something that I really didn’t know much about. My husband and I decided to do some homework and learn more about adoption. A close friend from college referred us to an adoption attorney named Jay Ginsburg, who then referred us to Haven Adoptions. After one conversation with Kelly, I felt confident that Haven was going to help us realize our dream of becoming parents, and we decided to join Haven’s waiting list. Many people warned us that the road to adopt might be long and difficult, but every single adoptive family we talked to assured us that it would be worth it.
From the beginning, Haven made all the “steps” of the adoption process so easy. They explained all of the documentation and paperwork that would be necessary and kept us on track to get everything done in a timely fashion. They gave us timelines and were in constant contact via email and phone and text message – especially our caseworker, Meghann. But the one thing I kept asking myself, the one thing that was always in the back of my mind, was how we were going to get through all the waiting, the uncertainty, the not knowing. I knew that no matter how organized and prepared we were, there was always going to be some level of uncertainty. And again, the answer I came back to? “Let go.” I let go of my need to plan out and schedule every single moment. I let go of my need to predict what the future would bring. I let go of the notion that I had control over every outcome. I opened my eyes and my heart fully to accept whatever the future was going to bring.
From the beginning of our adoption journey, my husband and I let go of the need to make a long list of specifics about what our future child might be and what kind of adoption we wanted. We had faith that Haven’s matching process would find us the child that was meant to be ours. We didn’t care about the gender or race of our child, the distance we might need to go to find our child, drug or alcohol exposure of the birthmother, whether the adoption would be open or closed, or whether or not the birthfather was known. We were willing to have little or no notice between a match and when our baby was born. I truly believe that letting go made all the difference for us. My husband and I were matched with our beautiful baby boy the day he was born late this past winter, less than six months after joining Haven’s waiting list. We had known about his birthmother for a couple months and that she had been searching to find a forever family for her child, but her own circumstances made it too difficult for her to review profiles and choose a family before her baby was born. She had not received any prenatal care and had no ultrasounds to share with us. She was honest and admitted to smoking, using drugs and drinking alcohol during her pregnancy, a fact that probably deterred many potential families from sharing their profiles with her. And while other families may have been deterred, we believed that God would not give us more than we could handle.
I think our adoption journey might seem scary to people on the outside. We were not matched with our son until about twelve hours after he was born, and we did not get to meet him until the following morning. We had nothing at all ready at home, so we had to go shopping for all the necessary baby items on the day we were matched. Due to his drug exposure in the womb, he spent a week in the hospital being treated for withdrawal – but luckily we were able to visit him in the NICU every day until we could bring him home. He had to slowly wean off of the medication for his withdrawal for his first six weeks of life, and some days we could see his little body tense up or shake, but we just held him close, kissed him, sang to him and loved him until he got through it. We have never had the privilege of meeting our son’s birthmother, but we have left it up to her if she ever changes her mind – after all, she gave life to our son and trusted us with his care, and we want her to always feel secure in that choice. We have an agreement to send her letters and updates as our son grows up. Our son’s birthfather is not known, and we have had to accept that there are things about our son’s family history that we just will never know. In spite of some of these small bumps, we feel that the entire adoption process was completely manageable because we always had someone there holding our hands, whether it was our family, our friends, or the women at Haven.
I was never good at letting go, but now I realize that it has brought the utmost happiness to me, my husband, and my son, and our many family and friends. Looking back over the last year, I would not change a single thing. My advice to any adoptive family waiting for a child is just to try letting go. Put trust in the people that are working to bring you together with the child who is meant for you. It will happen when it should, and when it does, it will all be worth it.