Thursday, May 14, 2015

Finding some Zen in the Adoption Process

A couple-friend of my husband's came over for dinner. We have not known them long, but they did know we were in the process to adopt a child in Ecuador. They had just returned from their honeymoon, and, already, she was pregnant.

During the dinner she hesitantly shared that big news with us. Of course we are happy for them! Who would not be! She also shared that she had been concerned about if they should tell us yet, as they knew we were stressed by the difficulties in our adoption process and how long it was taking.

This was the first person, ever, in the last 2 years since we started this process, that had any consideration at all for our feelings and didn't flaunt how easily they were starting a family in our faces.

It was a nice breath of fresh air to be treated with consideration. 

The reality is that most people can be really insensitive. Of course people should not hide their excitement over getting pregnant or having a child, we would not want that and we are so very happy for them (I never wanted to be pregnant, I always wanted to adopt, so that does help).

But sometimes one feels like people go out of their way to flaunt it all over the web, and shove it down your throat. It really lacks grace and charm to behave like that, and shows a general inconsideration at large for the feelings and needs of those closest to them.

It is compounded when we see statistics of how many children in the US are beaten, abused, and neglected by their birth parents, or when we see families having tons of children they, frankly, sadly, are not taking good care of and half of which end up in the foster care system. All while we are jumping through hoops-of-fire to adopt one orphan without a home. It makes no logical sense and sometimes your brain truly cannot connect-the-dots on how this is even possible. But it is.

And, that is what adoptive-parents-in-waiting must contend with: you have little control over your situation. You don't know the whens, whats, hows, or even whos of your adoption process. You cannot plan for it. You cannot look forward to any specific dates or events. You never know when the waiting could be done, or who it will be. Then, after all that, you can be told you are about to adopt, and then the child gets pulled back for the birth parent, or to another family, or the country suddenly closes its adoption program, or some other complication in the adoption process you never could have planned for. And the people around you have no idea what you are going through - and they don't even try to. And you must accept that with grace.

This is easier said than done.

The reality is that adoptive parents have as many stretch marks from having a child as birth parents - and adoptive-parent-labor-pains last for YEARS, not hours.

I lived 2 years in the Middle East, and had an opportunity while there to learn a lot about Islam. The word Islam actually means 'to submit'. Meaning, you submit to the will of God. I am not religious. But, I like the idea. I like the belief that sometimes in life you need the wisdom to know what you have control over, and what you don't. Sometimes you need to bend like a reed in the wind to surpass a life event. Some things must be submitted to and accepted with as much Zen as you can muster, otherwise, you will go crazy for no return value, as your stress and anxiety won't change a thing about the situation.

Knowing when to fight for change relentlessly, and then knowing when I cannot change something and I must submit to the will of the world, this has been a life-long-balance for me to achieve.

I am still working on it.

I must submit to this process, and accept the wait, but I also need to keep my spirits up in the meantime and not give up hope on it. This is a very very delicate balance to achieve and fine line to walk.

So, I have made a Pinterest board about Adoption, and the posts and words on it keep my hopes up on the days when the complexity and unfairness of the entire adoption process start to bring me down.

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