It's Easy to Adopt...
Most of you are laughing right now (or cursing at me through your screen) about my statement that it is easy to adopt. But if you’re reading this then there might be an inkling of interest about how I even dare say the word adopt and easy in the same sentence. I am either A. crazy B. inexperienced or C. taking a totally different approach to adoption than most. Let’s go with option C. (Hopefully my experience as a mental health counselor and an adoptive mother, eliminate both A. and B. options.)
On our block, every afternoon the kids emerge and play tirelessly on the tree-lined front street. A few days ago, the neighborhood children, including my youngest (who we adopted), began hoop jumping. Again and again, they jumped through the hoop, successfully crossing the hoop’s plane and emerging on the other side. They then turned around and jumped again. Like the lion pouncing through the fiery hoop in the circus, our children were focused, persistent and demonstrated relentless energy. Their smiles and laughter were contagious.
Steps to Adoption: AKA the adoption hoops...
I rewound our adoption experience, and began to freeze-frame all the required hoops we had to jump through-the home study, piles of paperwork, trainings, ICPC, and so on. I began to realize that when you boil down the bureaucracy of adoption-you are doing just what my daughter did on the front sidewalk-hoop jumping. The seemingly endless steps in the process can drag you down into a pit of worry, but there is an alternative. It is this: lace-up your tennis shoes and get jumping.
I love what our social worker said in our first meeting, “unless you have a criminal record or pick a fight with your social worker, you will pass the home study.” It is a hoop. The late-night mandatory online training that you squeeze in last minute-it too is a hoop. Forms and check boxes-just hoops. Two state entities “coordinating” to approve your ICPC-a hoop. I am not trivializing these adoption steps, they are extremely critical to ensure the safety of the child. In the same breath, the stress and worry we heap into each of these steps may be better utilized in other places-like preparing our hearts for the miracle of a child.
The Secret to Finding Joy in the Adoption Process...
I know you have the resolve to jump your way to the end of this journey-adoptive parents are determined! But how do you maintain the strength for the journey? Part of the secret is revealed in the video.
1. It is the smiles. Recognizing the each time you jump, you are one step closer to your child. Each time you cross the hoop’s plane to the other side, you’ve taken one step further along in your journey. Celebrate-friend! Take the time to high-five your spouse, toast to a successful home visit, let out a resounding cry of Yeehaw when you get the approval to cross that state line and take your child home.
2. It is the laughter. Laugh at yourself when you consider which color paper clip to use on your home study forms. Laugh with your spouse at the lengths you have gone to seek and find your child. It’s that point in the adoption process when you are so exhausted and worn out, you become slap-happy and giggle ceaselessly together. This is the stuff that strengthens a marriage and builds a family.
It is all in how we frame this adoption journey. Many of us come to the platform of adoption-already tired. Tired from infertility. Tired from struggle. But if we can frame this journey in the context of steps-really jumps, then we can make it through to the end with smiles and laughter to boot.
Do you have a hula-hoop? Maybe add $1.00 to your adoption budget and stop by the Dollar Store to pick one up. When you are feeling overwhelmed, let it stand as a reminder that you can do this...one jump at a time-taking the time to celebrate each victory!
Scripture for the Road...
"The master said, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let's celebrate together!'
-Alison England, LMSW Author of Best-Selling Book in Adoption-Tandem: A Devotional for Adopting with God in the Lead
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