This guest post is by Don, a hopeful adoptive father. It is part of A Dad’s Devotion, a month-long series of original stories related to adoption, fatherhood and Father’s Day.
My wife and I started our adoption journey approximately a year ago. During this time we’ve been contacted five times by prospective birth moms. Unfortunately none of these contacts worked out for various reasons beyond our control. I am not sure how typical this experience is for couples pursuing open adoption, but I wanted to share a few things I’ve learned through these experiences.
As a goal oriented person, I like to set goals and then work very hard to achieve them. The good thing about achieving goals is that you get a sense of personal accomplishment. On the other hand, it leads one to believe that hard work will always produce the desired outcome. One of the things I’ve learned during our adoption journey is that you could do all the right things and work very hard to achieve the goal of being an adoptive parent, but there is no guarantee you will reach that goal.
I’ve learned to “let go” in the sense that I’ve changed my mindset from “we have to work hard to make it happen” to “let’s do the best at what we can and it will happen when it happens.” This change in mindset has helped us stay optimistic and we continue to believe that a birth mom will provide us the opportunity and the privilege to be adoptive parents someday.
Empathizing With Birth Parents
I remember the day we heard the devastating news that our baby did not make it past 8 weeks. I can distinctly recall the roller coaster of emotions we went through from being absolutely elated that we were finally pregnant to that sad day when we lost our baby. I remember how devastated my wife was and how long it took us to overcome our grief.
Due to this experience, I’ve learned to better empathize with the “loss” experienced by birth parents. I can only imagine the roller coaster of emotions they go through to decide to place their child for adoption and the grief associated with their perceived loss. One of the great features of the open adoption process is that birth parents choose the adoptive parents for their child, and I hope that will provide them some comfort.
Counting our Blessings
Although our adoption journey began about a year ago, there is no way to tell if it will end next month, next year, or if it will end at all. Although this level of uncertainty can be discouraging, we have continued to stay optimistic. One of the things I’ve done is to actually write a list of the things that have turned out positively in my life and the things that did not turn out as expected.
Every time I look at the list, I consider how blessed my wife and I are because the things that have gone well in our lives far outnumber those that did not. While it is very easy to feel discouraged about the uncertainties associated with the adoption process, I’ve learned that counting our blessings in all the things that have gone well in our lives is a great way to stay positive. It places the uncertainties in the adoption journey in context.
Don and his wife, Preetha, of Bloomington, Illinois have been happily married for ten years and are working with Independent Adoption Center (IAC), a licensed, non-profit organization. You can learn more about them at their open adoption profile.
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