By Joanna Ivey
Just like life, adoption does not always happen in the way we expect it to or want it to, but trust that it will happen in exactly the way it should.
I am an adult adoptee as well as an adoptive mama. I also work in the field of adoption and have been an advocate for adoption my entire life. I believe deeply that adoption is a spiritual contract that brings families together with an unbreakable bond—the love of a child.
Many years ago my husband and I embarked on our adoption journey. We had a 2 ½ year old son, our miracle baby, and we knew we wanted more children. Our son was our fourth in-vitro attempt, and his twin brother passed away at birth so we knew we could not walk that road again. Because I was adopted, it was always my intention to adopt a child of my own. And so began our adoption journey.
We started working with a local agency, and although they were great I quickly grew restless with “the wait.” Patience is a virtue, but it wasn’t one of MY virtues. I began to search online for other outreach methods to help us adopt. I quickly plugged into every adoption-related website available and began posting our profile and submitting our documents to situations that were posted online. A few months later we were contacted by a young expectant mom who wanted to talk to us. Many conversations later she shared that she knew we were the right family for her baby. It worked!
Jo, the expectant mom, was living in a maternity home at the time (yes, they existed even a few years ago!) and was very unhappy there. We agreed to pay to move her closer to home on the condition that she tell her mother she was pregnant and considering adoption. Not only did we want her to have the support of family, but we wanted the adoption to be completely above-board and ethical. As the months went on, we formed an amazing relationship with Jo and her mother – even to the point of sharing holiday recipes so this baby would know both of our families’ traditions. We were ecstatic.
Finally, we got “the call.” We raced to the airport and flew down to join Jo at the hospital and meet our new son, with our toddler in tow. Watching our older son holding the baby was unlike anything I had ever felt- love on top of love on top of love. Brotherly love.
But from the highest of highs, we quickly fell to the lowest of the lows. Three days later Jo changed her mind, and we felt the earth crumble under our feet. We returned home, and I left the suitcase full of baby clothes and diapers by the front door, went to bed and thought I would never get up again.
But then… then the universe, in all her wisdom, intervened. A social worker I had met earlier in our journey reached out about a baby boy that was alone in a hospital on the other side of the country. She asked if we wanted to submit our profile. Without telling my husband I said yes, and then stood in the shower and let the tears rain down until I didn’t have anything left. We were completely broken, and I held onto this one small ray of hope like it was my lifeline.
Three days later at 7 o’clock at night the phone rang, and we learned we were parents again. Before dawn the next morning I walked to the front door, picked up the suitcase I had left there a week ago, and boarded a plane to meet our new son.
Let me tell you about our son. There isn’t a single day I am not grateful for the crooked road that brought him to us. He is worth every tear, every heartbreak, and every dark, dark night in our year-long adoption journey. The bond we share as adoptees is undeniable. I too, experienced a closed adoption and understand the struggles around identity or not fitting in at times. We all go through that at some level and I can tell my son, “I understand,” and mean it.
We have two miracle children, and our hearts are full and our family complete. When we started trying to have a family, could I ever have imagined the path we had to walk to make our dreams come true? Not in a million years. Would I do it again? A million times and more if it meant we would have the family we do today.
Don’t give up. The road may be long, and it may be crooked, and it may take more than you thought you had in you, but don’t give up. Your future is waiting for you, and you need to be there to meet it.