My husband and I recently renewed our home study for yet another year. We are not signed on with an agency because we just do not have the funds. In three years we have had only one match . . . yet, we are not ready to give up searching for our child we long to bring home.
I will admit, however, that lately I have been looking up toward heaven and begging for a big sign or some crystal clear guidance. This journey is not easy and often overwhelming. It seems like everyone has an opinion to share or a question I just cannot answer.
As I considered why giving up is not on my radar, I asked myself, “what would I say to someone else who is seriously considering raising the white flag and calling it quits?” This is the advice I feel compelled to share:
Before you give up your adoption search . . .
Dare yourself not to . . .
Everyone that starts this journey knows well that it is not for the faint of heart. You would not climb a mountain and turn around a few yards before it’s peak. It’s true, this can be a “blind climb”. Your child might be arriving next week or next month – but you can not see that bundle of joy up ahead. For those of us who have been waiting for more than a year, we certainly can see the road behind us. Need inspiration to accept this dare? Read miracle stories about how couples waiting for a child were finally blessed after long periods of waiting. Join an adoptive parent group on Facebook and post a plea for “stories to ignite hope”! You’ll be inspired to wait . . . and someday you’ll be telling your story to someone else who is about to give up.
Look closely at the doors you have not considered opening and seek ones you may not have seen before . . .
When my husband I started our adoption journey the first time around, we checked off boxes about drug addiction, race, and birth parent backgrounds for our social worker’s documents. But, when our son was born with circumstances we never thought of facing, none of those boxes mattered. My heart needed to be with my child, that paperwork didn’t exist in my stream of consciousness. This baby boy was my son, and I had to get to him. Reconsider what you are open to. Research the foster system in your state a little more than you did before, find out more about what is considered a “special needs adoption”. Ask other adoptive families for advice. You never know what you find when you seek further. Remember, if plan A doesn’t work . . . the alphabet has 25 more letters!
Pray about your decision to give up for nine days before making it . . .
There may be a time to walk away. But that decision should not be made in haste. This is a huge commitment you made, and you put a ton of work into getting a home study done and preparing to change your life for the sake of another. As a Catholic, I have learned a lot from praying novenas (a prayer said for nine consecutive days). Many times in my life I started on day one praying for a very specific intention, and by day four I found that the wording of my petition changed. Those few days allowed me some time for serious introspection, and I found that what I thought I wanted initially was not my heart’s true desire. Perhaps by day four you may realize you still want to be a parent, but not necessarily to an infant. Maybe you will realize that your desire to be a parent is still very strong, and that alone should encourage you to continue searching. Or maybe you will discover a true desire to become a foster parent. There is value in taking the time to really think and pray. Take that time before you give up.
If those reasons are not enough to persuade you to hang on a little while longer, perhaps the words of Harriet Beecher Stowe will inspire you . . .
“Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”