Connecting with a prospective birth mother is a bit of a crapshoot, right? Well, not quite. Luck does play a role in helping you find a match through the private domestic adoption process. But by taking the right steps now, you have a chance to maximize your luck — and to make that ever elusive connection with expectant parents.
As luck would have it, what luck is and how you can leverage it just happens to be one of the topics in Jim Collins’ new book, Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck — Why Some Thrive Despite Them All. According to Collins, all of us get lucky breaks. The difference is, what some of us do with those breaks when we get them.
For Collins, the author of the best-selling business book, Good to Great, luck isn’t so much an “indefinable aura” as it is an event. Or a series of events. In business circles, return on investment (ROI) is one way to measure success. But what fascinates Collins is ROL — the return on luck.
And the way he ilustrates the concept is through the story of Bill Gates. No question about it: Gates is luckier than most of us. And as the co-founder of Microsoft, he’s certainly a lot richer. As Collins explains, Gates
just happened to have been born into an upper-middle-class American family that had the resources to send him to a private school. His family happened to enroll him at Lakeside School in Seattle, which had a Teletype connection to a computer upon which he could learn to program — something that was unusual for schools in the late 1960s and early ’70s. He also just happened to have been born at the right time, coming of age as the advancement of microelectronics made the PC inevitable. Had he been born 10 years later, or even just five years later, he would have missed the moment.”
Yes, Gates had a lot of things going his way. But there’s more to his story than that. As Collins explains:
• Was Bill Gates the only person of his era who grew up in an upper middle-class American family?
• Was he the only person born in the mid-1950s who attended a secondary school with access to computing?
• Was he the only person who went to a college with computer resources in the mid-’70s?
The answers: No, no, and no.
There were other young computer whizes. There were other schools with comparable if not better computer resources. And there were other kids who probably knew more about computer programming than Gates.
So why did Gates succeed while others didn’t? For one thing, Collins writes, he was willing to change his life plans. Defying his parents, he dropped out of college and spent days and nights writing code. Sure, a lot of other people could have done that, too. The fact is, they didn’t.
Finding a match with birth parents
In other words, the difference between Gates and these other people with a similar skill set or background wasn’t luck. Gates grabbed the opportunities and ran with them in a way that gave him a bigger return on his luck.
As Collins writes, “Luck, good and bad, happens to everyone, whether we like it or not. ..Getting a high ROL requires throwing yourself at the luck event with ferocious intensity, disrupting your life and not letting up. Bill Gates didn’t just get a lucky break and cash in his chips. He kept pushing, driving, working — and sustained that effort for more than two decades. That’s not luck — that’s return on luck.”
So next time you think that finding a match with birth parents is about writing your adoption profile and then just putting it out there and waiting for something to happen, think again. Keep Gates’s story in mind. Take advantage of any resource or edge you have. Remember, when it comes to adoption networking, you really do make your own luck. Finding success in private domestic adoption is no different than any other pursuit.
How important do you think luck is in the open adoption process? Do you believe that you can find a match with a prospective birth mother without it? What are some of the lucky breaks you’ve had in your private domestic adoption journey and how have you leveraged them? Share your story in the comments section below.
(Photo credit: Doug88888)