Any adoptive parent knows that the journey isn't easy. First, you have to get to the point where you wait for a match/referral. This means you have to be deemed "approved" through a series of "tests." Fingerprinted like criminals, for example. Then once you are waiting, you are anxiously facing times where you may not be chosen by a prospective birth parent or when your agency doesn't match you with a particular child. You might see those around you getting matched or receiving referrals (or other friends getting pregnant)...and you think, "Why them?" And, "Why not me?"
I have scolded (nicely) other adoptive parents in the past for saying, essentially, "Woe-is-me."
Here's my reasoning:
1: The adoptive parents' biggest adoption hardship, waiting, disappears once the child arrives. (Yes, I recognize that adoption struggles do not end once a placement occurs).
2: Adoptive parents are the "winners" among members of the adoption triad. Bio parents lose their child to adoption, even when it's voluntary; the loss never subsides. Adoptees have no choice. They do not choose to be separated from their biological family members (and even though this separation might be warranted, due to abuse or neglect, for example, it wasn't, still, the adoptee's choice).
3: Adoptive parents get to become parents and "move on." Though there is usually loss that leads adoptive parents to the adoption decision, birth parents can never FULLY "move on" because a piece of them is always going to be missing, even in the most positive of adoption situations.
Basically, I believe that if God leads a person or couple to adopt, an adoption WILL happen. There's end in sight for these individuals and couples.
It's so easy, as adoptive parents, to put the focus on ourselves. WE want a child. WE paid for a very expensive adoption process. WE have been "through the ringer" (paperwork, home visits, etc.). WE have been suffering from infertility/miscarriage/disease/disability/etc. for years and years. WE are tired of seeing all of our friends have biological babies (maybe even three or four kids) while WE have none. WE are sick of people asking us when we'll have or adopt a child.
Now, before you write me a comment telling me what's up....hear me out.
I'm guilty of doing what I despise---putting the focus on me and my feelings.
Since we've been waiting to adopt, which has been about four weeks now, we've been presented with three potential adoption situations. One we didn't agree to be "shown" for, one we said "yes" to being shown but a birth family relative stepped in to parent the baby, and the last one, which happened very recently, resulted in a different family being chosen.
I found myself thinking, why weren't we chosen? Isn't our profile book good enough? Maybe we should play up my disease sob-story a bit, because that really is why we are adopting. Maybe there should be more emphasis on the fact that though we have two kids, we value each child individually, not just as "one of the flock." Maybe I should be more clear that I stay at home 95% of the time and my job is just a very small part of my life...
How do we combat rejection? How do we not feel somehow unworthy of being chosen? How do we take the spotlight off ourselves?
I'm mad at myself for "going there." For putting any focus on myself.
So how do you combat the rejection? The worthiness or worthlessness you might be feeling?
1: Remember that it's OK to get mad, be confused, feel hurt, be disappointed. It's OK. In fact, it's normal. BUT, it's only OK to be this way for a short season. Don't let your feelings dominate your heart or take over your mind.
2: Step back and reflect on the situation. But don't think you'll ever truly understand why what did/didn't happen did or didn't happen. It's really not necessary that you know.
3: Put the focus back on the family you do have----be it your spouse and other kids and parents and siblings. Don't put your life (your thoughts, your emotional energy, your time) into "what could have been" or "what if." Your family deserves better.
4: Take some time to veg and re-group. It's fine to take a few days to get yourself together. Treat yourself to some Starbucks or a glass of your favorite wine, watch a movie, read a good book (NOT an adoption book!!!), buy a trashy celeb mag, go out with friends, etc.
5: Get re-focused. I quickly realized, with our most recent situation, that I'd forgotten something I learned and committed to long ago. Sometimes my involvement/awareness of an adoption situation occurs solely so that I can be in prayer for the bio parents, the baby, the agency, and the chosen adoptive family.
This very popular Bible passage is what I need to focus on today, and I hope you will take a moment to read it and apply it to adoption. Love isn't limited to the child who will be ours. Maybe we need to love those we don't even know. Respect the choices biological parents make, even when it's not in your "favor." Trust that God has a child for you. Take time to take advantage of these moments when there isn't a new child in your family. LOVE your way through the journey.