Every person has those moments. The moments that change you. Change your life. I have been lucky enough to have a few. Before I explain some of these moments let me explain the beginning and the decisions that lead to some pretty amazing moments as an adoptive family.
I was 4 years old when my mom decided to get remarried. The man was a great guy who loved my mom and treated my younger sister and I as his own kids. What a fabulous day. We grew up with two parents, more siblings, fun adventures, and lots of love. Finally (here comes moment #1) in Spring 2001, at 16 years of age, my little sister and I get to go to the courthouse and in front of a judge, declare our wish to have our dad, become our legal father. My dad became my legal father through stepparent adoption. He had been my dad, the only one I ever knew, but that day changed my life in the way that now everyone will always know it, too. I was never going to be lost or left behind. It showed me how much my dad truly loved me enough to adopt two little girls not biologically his. And he could love me! Now, I had two legal parents, now and forever. We had become an adoptive family.
Let’s move forward. I grew up! I met a man. An incredible, love of my life. We date, dream of a life together (including children), then we get married. We were so very excited to start our life together. To work, fulfill dreams, and have beautiful children. With his freckles, my eyes and curly hair. A year and a half later, August 2007, I gave birth to our beautiful baby girl. Moment #2. She made me a mom. She made us parents and got us a step closer to fulfilling all our dreams. We were thrilled to be on our way to the dream of a large family, full of little “mini-us’s”. She changed our life. We were happily shocked at how much our world changed and revolved around this tiny human. Great changes.
Let’s move forward again. Two years later, we found out that I was not able to have anymore children. Moment #3. Our large family dream of “mini-us’s” was shattered. We were broken hearted. But as we started to move on, we came to realize that adoption was the best and only route for us to take.
Moment #4: the day we became our own adoptive family. This changed us all forever! March 2013, our son was born. Five days later, we were able to meet him. That moment, walking into the hospital nursery, the nurse handing over this itty-bitty boy into my arms, is forever engraved into my memory. My heart and mind have grown tremendously.
I will admit, I was nervous, scared, and naïve about adoption for myself. What if I lost this baby? What if things didn’t go through? What if the birth parents were hard? Would my heart open for him the same as for my daughter? Would he bond with me and I, him? As soon as I held him, all that changed. Those fears didn’t just “go away.” But, somehow, I felt that I could handle whatever was thrown at us through the journey. Things in no way have been easy. We haven’t had a perfect adoption adventure. But we continue to move forward every day. Our son is now almost 5 years old. Every day is something new. He has had health issues and developmental delays, but my fears have all been calmed. He is 100% my son. We have all bonded together as a stronger family.
I know that adoption and being an adoptive family has made me, my husband, and my family stronger, kinder, more open to difficulties, braver, and better people. We can’t imagine our family without our adoption. We can’t wait to grow again through another opportunity. It changed our fears to strength. Hopefully our family can change again with a moment #5.
Adoption has opened our eyes to the strengths and flaws in the adoption system. It has made me think and consider more ways to get involved to help others learn about adoption and to guide others in ways that I can. To advocate adoption in a lot of forms. There are so many children, newborn and older, who need loving homes. I have a new dream, to adopt a few more newborns, and then to adopt some older children and/or help get them adopted into forever families.
Adoption is a special, amazing option for all sides included. And as I stated before, it has changed us, for the better. I love my dad and my son and more to come to my heart through adoption. Hopefully we get many more life-changing moments.