This guest post is by Paige Knipfer, an adoptive mother.
Adoption has changed me for the better. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without experiencing infertility and becoming an adoptive mom.
I am so incredibly proud of my family’s story and hope that sharing it will help others as well.
I’m stronger than I thought
Struggling with infertility led me to where I am today. Although I went through hell and heartache, I am grateful because I wouldn’t be the person I am today without those experiences.
When I reflect on the ups and downs of the adoption process—the wait, the unknowns, and becoming a new parent—I amaze myself.
Waiting was the hardest part. The unknown. Having no control over the process, not knowing who to trust, and dealing with so many emotions.
I remember wondering on Mother’s Day if I would ever get to celebrate that holiday as a mom.
There was the fear of things falling through or the birth mother changing her mind about a child you already fell in love with.
The best advice I have is to keep fighting for what you want. It’s worth it! I am now proud to identify myself as an adoptive mom.
Even though that title can seem overwhelming at times, I am stronger for fighting through the adoption process to get the family I always wanted.
I obtained a whole new perspective and level of compassion
Adoption helped me gain a whole new perspective on life.
Today I find I am much more compassionate when talking to couples and women. I know now it’s not always easy to create a family.
When you are growing up, everything around tell you that one day you will get married and have children. No one ever mentions that sometimes it doesn’t work out that way.
Families are created in so many ways. As I share my story with others I’ve surprised at how many people around me have similar ones.
It’s unfortunate that so many others bottle up their amazing stories of infertility and heartbreak.
Sometimes these stories are too raw to share. But whether its IVF treatments, a sperm donor, miscarriage, early delivery, NICU stays, etc. it’s your story.
And it could help someone else. Your story is what makes you who you are.
My spouse is incredible
For an individual to work through the challenges of infertility and adoption are incredible feats.
I feel more connected to my spouse than ever before. And not just because he stuck by my side when I couldn’t have kids (although that is a huge part of it).
He also stuck by my side going through the process of adoption. There were times when I would become hysterical, saying that I’d given up or felt defeated by life.
It would take everything out of me not to burst into tears seeing a pregnant woman or being asked an insensitive question like “when are you going to start having kids?”
Now watching my husband goofing around with our daughter warms my heart more than I can explain.
Watching him become a father has made me grow even more in love with him than I already was.
Birthmothers are amazing
I have made it my mission to teach people to treat birthmothers with respect and compassion.
On a regular basis I defend them against society’s outdated and judgmental opinions.
I try not to get angry and respond appropriately.
I like to educate others but it’s hard to control these protective emotions and instincts when they kick into gear.
I am passionate about explaining that my daughter’s birthmother wasn’t a young teenager who didn’t know what she was doing.
She was an educated, late 20’s, woman who wanted a better life for her unborn child.
It’s sad that I have to be defensive when someone makes an insensitive comment about my daughter’s birthmother.
Many say they don’t know how they could “give a child up.”
I typically respond that fortunately they’ve never been presented with that difficult decision in their life.
I also like to remind those people that I am a mother because of my daughter’s birthmother.
The relationship I have with my daughter’s birthmother
My daughter’s birthmother loves her and wants the best for her. It inspires me to be the best mom I can be.
I have also seen her joy knowing that our daughter has been able to have a life she couldn’t provide her.
Originally our adoption with our daughter’s birthmother was closed, and I worried I would never truly connect or have a relationship with her.
Today we talk almost weekly. I send updates often and we continue to grow our relationship.
I will always have a strong bond with this woman.
I owe my happiness to her. Without her, I would have had a void in my heart.
The love we have for one another is something indescribable but palpable.
Becoming a mother is one of the best titles I’ve ever had
As hopeful adoptive parents, I think we all have this secret fear that we won’t love a child as much if he/she doesn’t come from our genes or our womb.
I now know I was totally wrong.
The love I have for my daughter is powerful and stronger than I ever imagined. I want you to know that the adoption part of it doesn’t hinder or change my love for her in any way.
I would even argue that adoptive parents love a little more because we fought hard to get it.
I sometimes notice family members forget our daughter is adopted and say that she inherited a particular gene from our family.
Words cannot begin to describe the joy in my heart when my daughter says “mama.”
Holding her at night before we go to bed or having her sit on my lap reading a book is one of the best feelings in the world.
I think about how much I once dreamed of doing these things with my child and wondering if I’d ever get a chance. I’m so appreciative each day.
Are there times when I’m frustrated. Of course there are.
Every parent has those moments. But I would say I spend more time appreciative of the moments that I never thought I’d get.
Thanks to adoption, I am forever grateful, humbled, and changed.
Paige Knipfer is a trainer for a financial institution, an adoptive mom, wife, mentor to a high school student, volunteer, and avid traveler (Semester at Sea alumni). She loves to share her adoption experiences and assist anyone interested in learning more about the process @.
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