By An Adopt4Life Community Member
My husband and I first heard the word “infertility” a year into our marriage. Immediately, we saw our picture-perfect dream of becoming parents shatter into a million tiny shards. After many long months processing our grief and despair, we started looking into adoption.
We never could have foreseen all the obstacles, hoops and paperwork ahead: police checks, medicals, financial statements, reference checks, trauma-informed parenting classes, home visits where we answered hundreds of questions about every intimate aspect of our lives, and endless evenings researching developmental delays, childhood trauma, grief, openness with birth family, attachment therapy... it often felt as though we were drowning. All the complicated feelings we were having got too much to handle on our own.
Our family and friends didn’t have the knowledge or resources to help us or get what it was like. They hadn’t formed their families this way, and it felt like they didn’t speak the same language. Adopt4Life was our lighthouse in the storm. The team members we connected with listened to our stories and helped us problem solve. They connected us to professionals and to other awaiting parents. Suddenly, there were people we could lean on for support.
If we had anxieties over a potential match with a child or over a crucial missing form, we could connect with other people going through it online in the moderated discussion groups--even at 2am. Now we knew other people going through it, we could meet up for a coffee to discuss the adoption process—it was incredible the difference it made. Everything felt less daunting.
The Adopt4Life community was there for us from the very beginning of our journey and they are still there, now that we’ve finally become parents through adoption. You can’t get hugs from most organizations, nor phone calls in the middle of the night, when you’re going through a tough time. But with them you can. Our Adopt4Life community cried with us during the most difficult parts of the wait and jumped for joy when we were finally matched with our daughter. They’ve been there the entire time with encouragement and support.
As an adoptive mother, I’ve received help from Adopt4Life on how to talk to family members, who didn’t fully understand adoption or certain things about my child. I’ve learned how to manage hurtful comments from strangers. Through Adopt4Life family events, my daughter has had the opportunity to meet other children who have been adopted as well. Many of our kids have been through a lot—changing foster homes, losing people they loved, experiencing traumatic events—and it’s so important for them to have friends who just get it too.
Adopt4life is run by other adoptive parents who’ve been there—who get it. When they give advice, it’s because they’ve lived it themselves. The team members don’t hide behind computers and newsletters. They are out there meeting community members, making buddy and mentor connections, bringing meals or coffees to your home, and hosting family events and educational sessions. It has been so important to our family to have this incredible organization in our lives. They’re more than a support group to us—they are our family.
The opinions expressed in blogs posted reflect their author and do not represent any official stance of Adopt4Life. We respect the diversity of opinions within the adoption, kinship and customary care community and hope that these blog posts will stimulate meaningful conversations.