My husband and I were married for 16 years before adopting our first son. To say that parenthood and adoption was life-changing would be an understatement. Our world changed in every single way after welcoming home our son. Some of those changes were normal changes that happen with welcoming a child to your home, others were subtler, some are easy for others to accept, some are harder for others to understand.
When we welcomed home our infant son, we had to make many changes to our lifestyle. We welcomed them and the transition was easy. Bonding with our son felt natural, normal, just like any other new mother and father would feel. Involving his birth mother, her family, and our family and friends were natural and easy. It wasn’t what we expected, open adoption, but it worked for us, and it has been so, so good.
We noticed the most changes after we welcomed our second son, and subsequently daughter through foster care adoption. I personally became a very vocal advocate for adoption. In learning how to parent children of trauma, we have had to change everything about our parenting styles such as how we communicate with each other, to others and our children. We have become advocates for them in every way. Just months after welcoming our second son home, our first son received a special needs diagnosis.
While all these things have been challenges we didn’t expect when we began this journey, it is not the struggle it may seem. Loving them is so easy. They are bright, beautiful, wonderful children who have made me determined to help them in every way I can. Others don’t always understand that or trust why I can seem hard on my children, but I persevere. I try to explain when it’s warranted, but I don’t back down. There are plenty of things my children do that others see as “normal” but just aren’t.
We have become softer in how we view the world. We have empathy and compassion where we used to have judgment and condemnation. We seek help. We speak the truth, even when it’s hard and not what someone wants to hear. We have found acceptance and peace, and we have found love for the mothers that gave them life. We initially struggled with how to incorporate open adoption in a foster care situation. But we have made it work. And then we had to tweak it. But we are finding a way.
The most important way adoption has changed our lives is love. We are stronger, weaker, better. We love them, we would do anything for them. That love has brought empathy, understanding, and acceptance. We love and support them in every way. They have brought difficulty, joy and so much love to our lives. We have changed in every way, and we could not be happier.
We are not the people we were six years ago. We are not the people we will be six years from now. We cannot wait to see how these little beings conquer the world.