A new year. A fresh start. A chance to make your life happier and more fulfilling. For many people, the beginning of 2017 brings resolutions to lose weight, land a better job, live a healthier lifestyle, and more. If you’re hoping to adopt, your biggest wish is likely to become a parent to a precious child. I know from experience that the persistent ache in your heart never goes away until your child is finally home with you. The wait is often long, emotional, and unpredictable, but it doesn’t have to be unbearable. The keys: hope and a positive outlook. Here is what I wish for all waiting adoptive parents this year:
To Grow Closer. Struggles and disappointments not only bring sadness; they also present an opportunity to connect deeper with your spouse, partner, or family members. If you’ve suffered a pregnancy loss, failed match, or disrupted placement, you can turn to those you love for encouragement, comfort, and support. Talk openly with someone close to you about how you are feeling and urge them to do the same with you. This increased sharing and communication often leads to deeper connections in your relationships. Now is the time to dig down into your heart and soul and really open up. When your child does finally arrive, you’ll have an even stronger foundation to build your new relationship as a family.
To Learn From the Journey. The adoption process can be heart wrenching at times, but there is much you can learn from the experience. Your faith and patience will be tested for sure. I recall many times wondering if God was listening to me or if my prayers would be answered. The reality is that you can’t always have what you want at the exact moment you want it. There is a greater force at work in your life, and what is meant to be will come to you when the time is right. I spent years questioning why I lost two babies to miscarriage and why it was so difficult to become a mom. I suffered so much pain and cried enough tears to fill an ocean. When I first saw our daughter’s tiny, sweet face in the hospital shortly after her birth, I knew why I had to endure those tough times. It was because I was being led to the child that was meant to be a part of our family. Everything I went through taught me to be stronger, more resilient, more appreciative and better able to be the mom I needed to be for my precious child. I wish the same for you. Look for the lessons in your journey and know that everything will one day make sense.
To Shed Less Tears and Find More Joy. Tears are a natural part of infertility and adoption, so by all means, let the tears flow when they need to. However, try not to focus solely on the sadness and disappointment you feel. It can be a real struggle at times to keep your head up and hang on to hope — trust me, I know. That’s why it’s more important than ever to look for the positive throughout your journey. Is there a special friend who makes you laugh? A place you and your significant other enjoy visiting? A favorite movie or song? Surround yourself with those things you love and give yourself a break from thinking about adoption whenever possible.
To Be Led to Your Forever Child. Most of all in the New Year, I wish that those who are waiting to adopt are united with the child who is meant to be with them. I could never fully explain what it feels like to hold your baby in your arms for the first time — it is a flood of powerful emotions like no other. I can tell you that when it happens, you will never be the same. Your life will take on a whole new meaning and direction. Loving, teaching, nurturing, and caring for another life is by far the most challenging and rewarding experience you will ever have. No matter where you are in the adoption process, know that amazing things are ahead for you. Each day . . . each decision . . . each step you take is bringing you closer and closer to your child. Your life is about to change. It could happen at any time. Hang on to that hope, and never give up on your dream to become a parent. Your child is out there somewhere, waiting to come home.
All the best to you in 2017 — may it be a year of many blessings!