Someone in our first adoption workshop stood up and said, “You know, infertility for us was all about failure. And I think adoption will be all about success.”
Likewise, the deep grief that I personally carried in my heart from eighteen months of intense infertility treatments seemed to dissolve with the chance for a new adventure in parenting.
Wrapped up in our careers, my husband and I (in our forties) realized we forgot to get started on a family. But wow, have we been thrilled ever since. We adopted three children from Russia, so that first year we had a three, two, and one year old. I tell attendees at workshops that since then I have had many hard days, but never an unfun day.
Better Than Expected
Adoption can grow a family in many ways. You may adopt a child domestically or internationally. You may already have children or be a single parent. Or you may open your home through fostering a child in crisis.
In every parent/child combination, there are miracles of love to find, loads of work, and the deep enrichment of life that may have been hard to imagine before. Just like having a baby, you walk through another dimension with colors unimagined, magic unforeseen.
Overcoming the Hurdles
But many sources insist that there is great peril in adoption: stories of disappointment, distress, legal issues, tedious waiting, and incredible expenses abound. Many countries report harmless conditions as though they were significant, lasting diseases.
Some of these obstacles to your adoption dream seem daunting; however, the reality I see in my international and domestic adoption consultant work is overwhelmingly better than any family has expected.
Attachment and bonding of adoptive children usually comes naturally. The surprises are mostly good ones: the fast-paced growth and developmental catch-up of a child from an orphanage, the instantaneous bonding of a newborn arriving at your home from another state, the gift of a surrogate, and/or the softening of the emotional hard edges of a foster child. Sure it’s hard work, but all parenting is.
These children bloom before our eyes, fill our hearts, and deepen our spirits.
By Dr. Anne Walker – Dr. Walker, who has three international adoptees of her own, is a part of a growing practice of pediatricians focusing on international adoption.