By An Adopt4Life Member
When we set out to embark on what we knew would be a lengthy, utterly revealing and tedious process, we had no notion of what the outcome might be. Would we be approved? Were we enough? Would we be deemed capable, whole and prepared? Could we wholly shift from what we perceived to be a safe, predictable path to the wide gaping unknown? And yet despite these anxieties, despite this very particular sense of vulnerability, we were prepared to reveal ourselves, moment by moment, in hopes that the road would not lead us astray. We committed to the process and agreed that we would adapt, together, as the pieces fell.
After what felt like an eternity we were deemed adopt ready and the wilderness of waiting set in. A whole new list of questions and anxieties. A span of time so painfully long that we, admittedly, began to lose sight.
And then there it was. On a non-eventful Thursday, a phone call, preceded by an extraordinary chain of events, set into motion an entirely new vantage point that we had never considered. The voice on the other end of the line asked if we would consider fostering a little one in desperate need of placement? Could we be open to extending our hearts and our home to this child who, in that moment, was not guaranteed to stay? We were flooded by two of the most powerful questions of our lives to date: Could this be the one and if not, could we let go with grace when called to do so?
Truth be told we panicked. We instantaneously felt the fear of loving and losing and could hardly bear the thought, and yet we agreed to meet this child. I can say with certainty that it is nearly impossible to articulate the feeling one harbors when meeting the child that will profoundly transform their lives for the very first time. Seeing their face, making eye contact, hearing their voice, holding them in your arms. That distinctive moment when you know that this, this is it. And yet, in light of the complicated circumstances, that same feeling competed with a deep and unshakable dread at the thought that it could very well fall apart. But from that first moment there was no way of denying the connection. No way to hide how quickly the three of us fell in love. And so we surrendered to whatever lay ahead and we allowed our hearts to supersede all rational and just let ourselves feel because that was the only thing that mattered.
That was our experience in the first 8 months as parents. Profound love matched step-by-step with heart-stopping fear. The details of our adoption story, as are many (if not all) are complicated and sometimes heart-wrenching. Eight months of an ever-deepening love, of watching this child flourish and exceed the expectations of specialists and workers and doctors all because of love; how could we possibly let go and what would the impact be on the head and heart of this little soul that had finally found all that she needed to thrive? The space between knowing and not knowing was inexplicable.. comparable to holding your breath, present and yet consumed with worry, in face of a question pining to be answered.
When we got the call that we could and would remain together as a family, we wept. Joy and relief and a feeling almost too complex to explain. All those nights of quietly crying next to the crib while our child slept, tiny hand in ours. All of the anxiety-ridden meetings that gave no answers for months. The heart-stopping moment when the phone rang with the final answer. The bittersweet moments and firsts that were too many count. And truth is, we wouldn’t change a thing. The intensity of our coming to be, the resilience and the commitment to each other was unmatchable. We have learned, in an entirely felt way, that in life there are risks worth taking and sometimes a leap of faith is the only way through.
For those of you waiting and wondering and hoping and worrying, I implore you to trust the timing. The process almost never unfolds as planned, but life has a way.