Adoption for Some, Awareness for All
I didn’t grow up around adoption. I knew as much about adoption as I did about stock trading…it was a thing; a thing people did…a thing other people did. I remember being asked in our case study why we wanted to foster and adopt, and in all sincerity and zero sarcasm, I looked up and said, “Why not? I don’t really have a good reason not to.” Probably not the most encouraging response our caseworker had ever heard, and it certainly wasn’t going to get me an invitation to speak at a motivational conference anytime soon, but it was the best I had. Two years later, I stood in a courtroom in Central Arkansas surrounded by family and friends and told a judge I would commit my life and my resources to being the best mom I could be to two beautiful children that I did not give birth to.
On our first date, I told my husband I could see myself adopting one day. What I didn’t tell him was that the only thing I really knew about adoption was what I saw in movies… thankfully he was way too invested when he found out I was clueless about what adoption really looked like. Once we finally began digging into how we were supposed to grow our family, we decided that foster care was where we felt called, and if we had the opportunity to adopt then we would. We adopted 1 year and 8 months after opening our home. I was not your picturesque adoptive mommy…I wish I could tell you I was. I was terrified; somedays I still am. I had doubts; somedays I still do. I was angry; sometimes I still feel that way. I wrestled with the constant desire to be everything for my kids and feeling like I was never enough. When you birth a child, there isn’t really any doubt that that kid is yours. I mean you watched your body grow, and then you get a tiny little human at the end of it – no questions asked. But for me, adoption was nothing but questions. Is this the best timing? Are we ready? Are these supposed to be our kids? Am I the best fit as their mom? Will I love them enough? No. Maybe. Doubtful. Probably…
I would never say that everyone should adopt. I do believe that everyone can play a part in the adoption process, but I understand it is not how all families should grow. But if you have ever wondered if you should, or if you have ever had the slightest thought that you could see yourself doing it, and if we were having this conversation over coffee, I would show you a picture of my kids and ask, “Why not?”. I would tell you, with tears in my eyes, all of the valleys and mountain tops of our story. I would tell you that adoption is beautiful, but it is also extremely messy and hard and exhausting. I would tell you that I kicked and screamed pretty much the whole way, but I wouldn’t trade the journey for anything.
November is National Adoption Month – a few weeks out of the year that we can dedicate to recognizing how special adoption is, and how much of a need there is to either be a part of the process or support someone else who is. If you are an adoptive family, I want to thank you for taking that step towards forever. If you know an adoptive family, then I would encourage you to love them the best you can and recognize that they may have needs you don’t know about. I am so honored to be a part of Rhea Lana’s where we get to love on foster and adoptive families through our Free Foster Family shop nights at our events. November may be wrapping up soon, but the needs will still be there and the kids will be still be waiting. I would encourage you to think about the next step you can take towards someone’s forever. Why not?
Danae and her husband, Griffin with their three kids: Jace – 4, Perry - 3, Eliza - 20 months
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