By An Adopt4Life Regional Parent Liaison
I remember growing up, my main goal in life was to have a family, a large one like my parents. I had other plans as well, wanting to travel, a good career, the typical... but the central focus was always children & family. Fast forward several years, I met my husband, who also had a large family & had similar goals. We were surrounded by nieces and nephews. At some point we decided that we wanted to make the move from being Aunt & Uncle to parents... that simple decision turned out to be not quite so simple.
Between dealing with challenges with infertility and moving onto adoption our journey to parenthood took eleven years. The details aren’t relevant, other than that what got us through was hope and faith, and when that wavered, we had a few significant people in our lives encouraging us and holding the space for us when it felt like we couldn’t face one more disappointment. Those people listened to us, shared their experiences, made connections to other people, and simply at times held us up. It was a challenging time for us, but also one of great learning. I made a promise to myself that I would be there for others as those people had been there for me during our challenging times... I wanted to pay it forward for others.
Through our time of waiting, I also professionally gathered education and experiences... I had time to fill and I wanted it to be productive (I also planted a lot of gardens, a LOT... that may lead to an additional focus in the future...). I wasn’t able to find a degree or diploma that met all my interests, so I sought out a few different ones and rounded out my resume, I ended up with a Degree in Childhood and Family Relations, and Diplomas in Developmental Services and Early Childhood Education... then when I was done with that, I turned to specializing in areas of inclusion, diversity, resilience and empathy... which was fitting, because I knew when we welcomed a child into our home, most likely our family would be transracial & transcultural another layer to add onto their experience of being adopted.
My personal and professional life has become so interwoven and connected. Ten years ago, we welcomed our son home through International Adoption, then our daughter four years ago. It’s been a wild ride... so much joy, but a lot of challenges along the way too. Do I wish it had been easier? Sometimes yes, but I think the learnings and connections have far outweighed the difficult times. As we moved from awaiting parents to adoptive parents, I continued to fulfil my commitment to myself of being there for others who were going through what we had dealt with on our journey. I also rely heavily on our network of connections when I am struggling. I turn to those same people to celebrate successes with. Almost two years ago, I was able to step into my role at Adopt4Life as a Regional Parent Liaison in the London Region and continue to fulfill the promise I had made to myself so many years ago in a more professional capacity.
Our intention was to grow our family by 1 or 2, when in actuality it has grown by at least 100 or more... it truly does take a community, for us as parents and in turn our children benefit as well. I know sometimes it is human nature to attempt to be independent and do things on our own, but there is strength in numbers, and we are #StrongerTogether when we connect with others on similar journeys. Either offering support or receiving it continuously strengthens ourselves and our communities.