Nov 12, 2010

National Adoption Month

I've seen on several blogs over the past few weeks posts about November being National Adoption Month. At first, I thought, "I should probably do a post about adoption, since it has touched and changed our life so much." But I don't want to write about something because I see other people writing about it. I would rather write about something because I really have something to say about it. So, I hesitated.

But, in all honesty, events this month have reminded me just how much adoption has meant to us, and how blessed we are to have had the adoption experience we did. I've found myself on more than one occasion remembering just how miraculous Sara Madalin's birth and adoption was for us. And just how much this process has not only changed the course of her life, but ours as well.

I've tried to think back to when we first decided, "Ok, let's look into adoption." It seems so very long ago. I remember researching online and requesting information from several international and domestic adoption agencies. I remember first reading profiles of waiting couples and thinking, "Bless their hearts. I can't imagine writing a letter to someone I don't even know, as if I'm asking them to give me their child." I felt sad for those couples who had to do that. My, how long ago that was and how much has changed since then.

I remember some of the meetings we began to attend. At that time, we still had hope that we would be able to conceive. Then, being given the news that conception was not an option for us. More meetings with our adoption agency followed and thinking, "This is our only option now. What if this doesn't work out? What if we don't ever have a family?"

We met other couples who had adopted and heard about their adoption stories. Some were encouraging, some not so much. There was a book we were told to read, "Dear Birthmother." There were several books we were encouraged to read, but this one, I still have because I think of all the books I've read on adoption, it made the most impact on me. It's the one I fought against reading the most. I remember sitting on our couch one night at the old house and Reagan sitting there with me. We were going to read it together. I opened it to the first page of Chapter 1 and started reading aloud. I may have gotten a couple paragraphs read and then I just couldn't even speak anymore. I said to him, "I don't think I can do this." And I wasn't just talking about reading that book. It's funny sometimes the things you remember.

We did eventually get through that book. And we did create a profile of us that birthmothers looked at. We wrote a letter asking, please, won't you consider us as an adoptive family for your baby? When I think about it, I guess adoption removed a lot of pride I had in my life. It takes a great deal of humility to share some of the most intimate details of your life and marriage, then also to share with someone who doesn't know you the reasons you are asking for them to trust you with the child they carry inside them. I don't know how many girls or women ever read our letter or looked at our profile. We asked our adoption counselor not to tell us.

It's been a very emotional thing - adoption. But then, what in life that is worth much to us isn't? It's also been a fight. A fight that many times I wanted to give up on. A fight full of battles - some of which I lost, some of which I won. Not by my power, but, with Reagan, and God, and others in our life who wouldn't let me give up. I've said it a million times, and I'll say a million more, I'd go through all of it again for my baby girl. I'd write a thousand letters asking someone to please consider my husband and I to parent their child, if it meant I'd get to her again. I'd cry a million tears as I moved further and further outside my comfort zone, just to hold and kiss her good-night.

Many people have told us, "I don't think I could adopt. It's not the same as having 'my own child.'" It breaks my heart to hear that. Sara Madalin is "my own child." She's not my biological child, and never could be, but she is my child, my daughter. Being her mama and loving her, it was the easiest thing in the world for me. It wasn't even a choice. It just was. I've said before, and I know it's difficult for some to understand, but I can't imagine loving a child any more than I do this girl. Even if I were to get pregnant tomorrow (and I won't), I couldn't imagine there being one ounce of difference in my love for a child we conceived and the love we feel for Sara Madalin. And I know, being the selfish, sinful person that I am, that love comes from my heavenly Father, the one who adopted me long before we ever had the opportunity to adopt her.

If you're a birthmother who has placed your child with an adoptive family and you read my blog, with tears in my eyes, I say "thank you." From me, from the adoptive family of your child, from all the hopeful parents waiting, THANK YOU. I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult it was for you to make the decision you did. I didn't carry Sara Madalin inside me, but still, I can't even stand for her to be away from me with family for very long, much less think about her being away from me longer. Thank you for your selflessness. Thank you for the life you gave your child. Thank you for the joy and happiness you brought into the family you placed your child with. My prayer is that God blesses each of you beyond measure.

If you're an adoptive couple or waiting couple that reads our blog, I want to say, be thankful for where you are. If you're waiting, make the most of the time you and your spouse have together. Be content with where you are. It took me a long time to be content, really content, with just us. If you've adopted, love that child every day. Make the most of every minute you have with the gift you've been given. (And take LOTS of pictures and video. Ha.) God brought you and that child to where you are for a reason. I don't believe it's just chance that we weren't able to conceive. And I certainly don't believe that Sara Madalin was just brought into our lives randomly. She's here for a reason and we are her parents for a reason.

If you're a person who reads my blog and you have children by birth, please don't think that the things I've written belittle that in any way. What we wouldn't give to be able to post a picture of a positive pregnancy test on our blog for all the world to see. What we wouldn't give to be able to call up our friends and family and say, "We found out today it's a girl!" And I don't slight one person I know who has ever been able to do that. I wouldn't want to withhold that excitement and joy from anyone. I'm just trying to share the story, the testimony, I've been given to write. We each have one, and I'm just writing ours.

If I could finish this post with one thought, it would be to ask you to support adoption. In any way you can. Encourage those you know who have adopted. Support those women and girls you know who are pregnant and have chosen an adoption plan for their child. Please, please, please support them. Don't make them feel as if they've made the worst decision they could possibly make. They haven't. The worst thing they could do is choose to terminate their pregnancy. Choosing life, and choosing a family that will love and nurture the child in a way she may not be able to right now - that's a loving, caring, selfless choice. Sayra was not pushed into placing Sara Madalin for adoption, she chose it. And her family and friends supported that decision. Without their love and support, we probably wouldn't have our daughter today. And we tell them as often as we can how grateful we are, not only for the decision Sayra made, but for the decision they made to support her. The reason I go on and on about Sara Madalin and I'm so open about adoption on our blog is not to brag about her or us, but to hopefully show that families who adopt, we're not evil people who swoop in and take a baby and hide them away from their birth families. We love her. And we love the family that gave her to us. Finally, if you have felt that God has placed adoption on your heart as an option for your family - whether you have children or not - explore that option until God moves you away from it, or blesses you with a child through it.

Please remember in prayer those couples who are waiting to adopt, as well as those pregnant girls and women who are struggling with possibly making an adoption plan. Then, with us, thank God for those who've chosen to give life to their child and then to allow couples like to us to experience a family by their gift of adoption.


Penelope said...

Such beautiful and wonderful post! We adopted through foster care because, given our ages, I didn't believe a young birthmother would choose a couple her parents age. We have been blessed with 2 infant boys.

We are hosting a blog hop on our website this month. Won't you add your adoption story?

Penny said...

I am not an adoptive parent, although I wish I were. Even though I have birthed three daughters and am the stepmother to three daughters, I believe adoption is one of the greatest miracles that exists. I've mentioned my grandson Leon before. If my daughter had given him up, no matter how hard that would have been for me to accept, I would have supported her~ and would have wanted to be part of the choosing process. I would have prayed for someone exactly like you and Reagan for him. I always told my girls that, if they found themselves with an unplanned pregnancy, I'd support their decision~ as long as they did NOT consider abortion. Sarah never did and when she decided to keep Leon, I prayed that was best for him and for her. He is a bigger blessing than I ever imagined~ he would be to anyone. I am thankful that she did keep him, simply because her pap smears have been abnormal and we're not sure if she'll ever have another child.
BTW Sara Madalin is YOUR child~ she always was. I believed God knitted her in Sayra's womb with you in mind. :) That's the miracle of adoption.

Heather said...

What a beautiful post! Such an awesome testimony you have shared. I've enjoyed reading about your journey to adoption and your life with your precious daughter.