This guest post is by Jennifer Ruth, a waiting adoptive mother
In my job as a Student Achievement Specialist, I travel from campus to campus talking to teachers and students about topics that increase how much students can achieve.
One of my most popular presentations is based on the book, ‘Mindset: The New Psychology of Success’ by Carol Dweck out of Stanford University.
Carol Dweck’s work identifies two mindsets, growth and fixed. Your mindset is your belief about your most basic qualities and abilities.
You could say that your mindset is the view you adopt for yourself (no pun intended) which impacts your whole life.
People who believe in a fixed mindset believe that a person is born with a certain amount of intelligence, talent, gifts, and abilities and that is all you will get.
You must be born intelligent or talented in order to be successful.
A person with a growth mindset believes that your human qualities can be cultivated by effort.
If you have a growth mindset, you believe that you have a great deal of control over your life.
These mindsets have a huge impact on student academic achievement in the classroom.
In my adoption journey, as the wait to get chosen by a birthmother has progressed, I have begun to think that I can apply this same mindset understanding to my waiting process.
A person who has a growth mindset believes that by working hard, seeking advice from experts, and using the right strategies, he can improve in any endeavor.
If I apply that logic to my adoption search, I believe that with help from my social worker and crafting the right webpages, I can network to find the birthmother that will choose me to raise her child.
Carol Dweck cautions that it takes more than sheer effort to create success. Someone with a growth mindset also knows to try a new strategy or ask for help if they get stuck.
So after 14 months of waiting, I fear I may be stuck.
I feel the beginnings of a fixed mindset creeping in like a slow fog rolling in from the sea.
I am feeling discouraged by my failure to adopt and in dark moments I fear that not being chosen by a birthmother after over a year means I will never be chosen.
However, if I am adopting a growth mindset, I have to believe that just because I have not been successful in adopting does not mean I will not be successful in the future.
It is not just belief that makes positive change.
The belief that you have control over what happens in your life translates into action, which in turn produces results.
Carol Dweck talks about the power of the word, “yet.” This little word sends the message that the current state of being is not permanent.
So I have not been able to bring a baby home, yet. I am not a mom, yet.
I have a profile posted on four websites, I have birthmother letters with my agency, and I have mailed out postcards with my contact information.
I have a YouTube video, Facebook account, Instagram account, and a blog.
I’m working hard, putting forth effort, but I have not met my goal.
Believing in a growth mindset, instead of being discouraged by my lack of success, I need to look for help from experts and try a new strategy.
Maybe I will call my caseworker and ask for advice. Perhaps I could try a video diary or search online for other networking opportunities.
The fixed mindset worries that there must be something wrong with me and that no birthmother will choose me.
The fixed mindset lets the wait plant the fear that I will never get to be a mother.
But the growth mindset believes that my genuine self is good enough for a birth mother to pick me, so I present myself honestly and authentically in my adoptive profile.
This action translates into finding just the right birth mom who connects with the real self I have portrayed.
If I believe that the baby will come just at the right time, I start taking steps to prepare. I read books, I get the nursery ready, I make lists and do research.
In taking these steps to prepare, I increase the chances that things will go as smoothly as possible.
If I believe I will be a mom someday, I interview pediatricians and call to inquire about first-time mom hospital classes.
In taking these steps, I may meet someone or make a connection that will lead to me finding my future child’s birthmother.
I have heard people say that adoption tends to attract people who like to take control of situations.
I think it is just the nature of the process that people who are planners are able to follow through with the adoption journey.
Unfortunately, once you get to a certain point in the process, you have little control over your adoption journey.
This is where I think that having a belief in the growth mindset, might really help to ease some of the stress of the process.
I don’t know about you, but when I have been waiting and hoping and dreaming about something for an eternity, it makes me feel so much better when I can take some sort of action.
So I will continue to work every day towards a growth mindset in my adoption journey.
And one day, I will teach the growth mindset to my child.
Jennifer Ruth lives in Mckinney, Texas with her Glenn of Imaal Terrier, Paisley. She is learning to wait with grace and dignity to adopt a baby. To learn more, visit her adoption profile.
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