If there were ever three words that say it all, it would be these: adoption means change.
We were reminded of that this month, as our staff took on the mighty task of moving our agency from the high-rise where we’d been for 26 years to a free-standing office building located at the intersection of Loop 410 and IH-10.
It meant taking photos off walls that are older than all of the adoptees we’ve placed in a quarter-century. This meant moving thousands of files, each filled with precious documents, letters and reports. It meant relocating our beloved playroom, Chase’s Castle and the huge array of toys it houses. It means revisiting countless old memories, issuing new keys and renewing program goals in a new location.
Meanwhile, our staff has been both blessed and challenged with a small flurry of new placements, as well. We’ve had multiple mothers delivering, and nearly a half-dozen hopeful adoptive couples coming and going, and it’s a beautiful reminder that absolutely: adoption means change.
Weathering Adoption Changes
All changes come with a fair amount of change, and changes are stressful, regardless of whether the change is good or bad. Bad stress is what we typically refer to as “distress” and good stress is what is uncommonly known as “eustress.” But either, way, changes cause stress, and adoption does, too, whether you’re placing or adopting.
For parents who are placing a child for adoption, it’s stressful to not know for sure how the future will turn out afterwards. It’s normal to worry about childbirth and relinquishment and post-adoption emotions, and it’s essential to know where to turn for support.
Parents who are adopting find the process stressful as well. Not only is becoming the parent of someone else’s child an enormous legal responsibility; changing your family forever can be overwhelming. People who become parents biologically have nine months to come to terms with the changes. Those who adopt can find their wait even shorter (or longer.)
It’s important to be patient with yourselves, and to be mindful of your partner’s needs, as well (whether that partner is a spouse or the folks on the other side of the adoption equation.) Communication is key. Kindly remember, too, that your adoption professionals are also partnering with you in this process. Nothing will always go perfectly according to plan, and that’s okay. Life changes are always all about transition, and balancing is a skill that will serve you well, whatever lies ahead.
Go With the Flow
We were outside our new offices, watching what appeared to be a bird tenderly feeding its young, right below the roofline. Suddenly, what we thought was the baby bird flew up onto the roof, and what we thought was the mama bird flew on top of what now was clearly a lady bird. We burst into embarrassed giggles, realizing it wasn’t at all what we’d thought we were witnessing. (Perception isn’t always reality, after all.)
So… yes, things aren’t always as they appear. It can be disconcerting, sometimes, to be reminded of this. (Especially when you’ve got so much invested.) In adoption, the human stakes are so high, it can be difficult to be reminded that plans don’t always turn out as hoped. Life can feel like an exercise in frustration, especially for those trying to complete an adoption (or a big office move) in the midst of a major pandemic.
People don’t always show up when or where they’re needed. Interstate Compact applications and hospital discharges can get delayed. Grief doesn’t end with relinquishment. Babies don’t automatically sleep through the night, and parenting isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, either. Yet here’s the thing: adoption means change, and change is what gets us someplace different. It’s not always worse, and it’s not always better, but it’s different, and with that comes opportunity for growth.
So whether the birds along Abrazo’s new roofline are feeding or mating, the bottom line is that adoption means change, so if you’re up for it, we’re happy to be your change agents… call us at our old number in our new location!