Monday, March 24, 2014

Beyond "Happy": Sadness Behind the Smile

Adoption is messy, it's heartbreaking and it's humbling. It's very painful at times.  But adoption is beautiful thing.

Most parents, regardless of how their children come into their lives, spend their time preparing. They get the nursery ready, they gather all the cute baby clothes and toys, they read books, they talk to friends. Then the big day arrives and BAM! They realize they were not as prepared as they thought they were. It happens. It's life. And we all figure out our own ways of coping and dealing so that we can be the best parents we can possibly be.

But the adoption experience takes all of those emotions up a notch. I can't tell you how much this article tugged at my heart. I know these emotions all too well because I have experienced many of them first hand. Despite the confusion that comes during what is supposed to be an amazing time, there is hope and comfort.

To all those parents who have "gotten the call" and are now at home with your sweet little one, wondering what in the hell you have gotten yourself in to....guess what. You are not in this alone.  I know, because I've been there. The people in this article have been there. And thousands of other parents who have adopted over the years have been there too.

And since I know you are wanting my unsolicited advise :) here it is....
  • Take care of yourself. You are one person doing a tremendous job of raising a little (or big) human being.
  • Talk to trusted friends or family members who have been there. In my experience, all parents can be a great support system but those who have gone through the adoption experience are the ones I have found a good shoulder to cry and some encouraging words.
  • Guard your family. In a world of over sharing, it's ok to not take about every little bump or challenge you come across during the adoption process or afterwards.  Don't want everyone to know about your five failed IVF treatments? You aren't required to tell them! 
  • But, if you are struggling with these feelings and it's interfering with your parenting, work, or's ok to go talk to someone professionally. Once you start therapy, it doesn't necessarily have to go on forever. Sometimes you just need a little time with a trained, objective 3rd party to help make sense of everything.
  •  Have faith. Trust me, I know that this is a hard pill to swallow at times, but God has an amazing and perfect plan. He chose this little person just for you. He knows exactly what He is doing and He's going to take care of you during the good times and the tough times.

Every day is not an roller coaster of emotions. For me, weeks go by and I think nothing of it. Then I come across an article, or see something on tv and old feelings resurface. But since this is not a new experience, I'm better equipped with how to manage. I know I just have to trust God, focus on what's best for Emily to clear this hurdle and then I'm ready to focus on the next one.

And for those of you jumping your own adoption hurdles, I'm cheering you on from the sidelines. :)