Get back up on that horse!

Get back up on that horse!

If you were considering adoption and then lost your courage, for whatever reason, it’s a new year, so get back up on that horse, y’all!

It’s easy to get discouraged. (Or distracted. Or frustrated.)

After all, planning for adoption (whether you’re placing or adopting, and even if you’re in the midst of a search after adoption) can be exhausting.

There’s paperwork. And emotions. And way too much waiting and thinking, sometimes.

Mind you, we’re not saying “don’t think about what you’re doing,” of course.

But don’t dwell forever on what didn’t work out. Grieve whatever was lost (or potentially lost.) Feel what you feel, and be gentle with yourself.

Then pick yourself back up and carry on, because there is always (always!) reason for hope.

What the hard times teach us

Chantal was looking for a family for her coming baby, but a specialist’s concerns about her baby’s size (coupled with her preferences for a certain sort of adoptive family) and the birthfather’s reported opposition to the adoption plan left her rejected by numerous prospective adoptive families.

“I was so tired of looking at profiles and getting my hopes up. I’d talk with people who said they were interested in my baby, but then they’d tell the agency no. I thought it was a sign that I wasn’t meant to do adoption. But then, they (the agency) called about one more family, and it turned out exactly the home my baby needed most. And I wouldn’t never have found them if the others hadn’t fallen through.”

Life throws monkey wrenches in everybody’s path, now and then. (Obviously, because if unplanned pregnancy, poverty, teen pregnancy, and infertility didn’t exist, then neither would adoption, probably?)

get-back-on-that-horseIt’s normal to get frustrated and to want to throw in the towel. It’s okay to be envious of those who seem to have had it easier (remember, though: things aren’t always as they seem.) It’s all right to wonder if God really does have everything under control? You can even be angry at safe targets, like your babydaddy, or your infertility specialist, or your adoption agency, or your gene pool.

If it seems like the anger is getting in the way of your real-life relationships, though, or if the depression is making it impossible to keep up with your daily obligations, then take some time out to talk to a counselor or a pastor or priest or rabbi, or your family physician or some other trusted professional. This is a lot to carry on your own skinny ‘lil shoulders, so don’t feel like you have to go it alone.

After all, asking for help when needed doesn’t make you weak. It means you’re smart and resourceful, and those are positive attributes for anyone in the adoption process or in a parenting role.

One couple who adopted through Abrazo can definitely relate. James & Gena had been through three failed matches, and had lost money on maternity support on two of those cases. James wanted to throw in the towel after the first disappointment. Gena was ready to call it quits after the second one. They were at their wits after the third match went nowhere, even though nothing had been spent on that case.

Just when they thought there was no more point to continuing on, they got chosen to parent a precious baby already born. Now, whenever they look at their beautiful child, it is clear to them that the universe was actually conspiring to keep them available and ready, even when it seemed like fate was working against them.

When it all falls apart, begin again.

It’s hard to see the forest for the trees, sometimes. We get that. (A lot.)

But as per the advice we offered another discouraged would-be adoptive parent who called today, after signing up with two adoption agencies that have closed down on them: “if the map you’re following isn’t taking you where you want to go, maybe it’s time to look for a new map with a new route.”

(And this doesn’t just apply to adopting or placing, either.)

Mark, who was adopted as a baby, always wondered about his birthfamily. He didn’t feel right about pursuing them until after his adoptive parents had passed, but once he began, he was confounded by closed doors. It seemed that nobody supported his interest in finding his first family– not the court system, nor his adopted siblings, and not even his wife. He ended up finding his birthmother through genetic testing, and even though she has chosen not to reveal his existence to her other children, he is glad he pursued his own truth, for his own peace of mind.

Nothing meaningful in life ever comes easy. It’s the twists and turns in the road and the stress and adrenaline that come with both that makes the joy and relief that much more evident.

Adoption is not necessarily the “right” pursuit for every infertile couple. It isn’t the “best” choice for every expectant parent in crisis. And it isn’t always a “dream come true” for every adopted person.

When it’s done the right way, for the right reasons, though, adoption can be absolutely life-changing in a positive way for birthparents, for adoptees and for adoptive parents.

So if you have a deep inner conviction that adoption is the direction by which you are meant to transform your life, don’t let the inevitable disappointments that arise in the course of the process wear you down to the point that you cannot recover. Go ahead and feel whatever you’re feeling, reassess what isn’t working, and then plot a new course.

Rise again. Brush the dust off your saddle. Adjust your hat so you can clearly see the road before you, and get back up on that horse! You’ve got this.

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