Adoption. It’s all about adoption and yet it’s not. That sentence rings true for our life. Today, on the blog I’m going to share a little bit about our journey to adoption and some of the things we have learned along the way. In honour of National Adoption Month, I thought I would share with you a little bit about our adoption journey. People often make assumptions surrounding adoption, and I thought I would take this opportunity to clear up some of those assumptions.
My husband Joel and I adopted Ethan and Arianna on December 12th, 2014. However, our story starts long before that. Ethan and Arianna moved into our house on May 4th, 2013. We started the paperwork and process for them to move into our house in September of 2012. Lesson #1: Nothing moves fast in the world of social workers, adoptions or child welfare.
Ethan and Arianna are my biological second cousin’s children. Which I guess makes them my third cousins?! They were removed from their biological family for very good reasons, which is kind of their story to tell. Lesson #2: Don’t ask a lot of personal questions in front of them. They are aware their biological family couldn’t take care of and that they are adopted.
We didn’t choose adoption because it was our only option, we chose adoption because it’s something we’re both super passionate about and something we felt compelled to do. People choose adoption as a way to start their family for many different reasons. Lesson #3: Don’t assume that all families who adopt do so because it’s their last resort to start a family.
Adoption is messy. It impacts a lot of areas of our lives, whether we like it or not. We have to constantly be thinking and talking about it. And that’s okay. Our kids do things slightly different or have different emotions because of their history. Because we don’t have any biological children sometimes it’s hard to know if they are acting the way they are because they are adopted or because they are children. Sometimes it feels like it’s all about adoption and sometimes it’s not. That’s okay. Lesson #4: No adoption is the same. Just like no children are the same. Parents of adopted children don’t always need to hear a story about how your friend who adopted and their child turned out horrible. Just like we don’t tell you that our friends had a vaginal birth child and they turned out horrible.
Adoption is beautiful. I remember the first time I thought of how I would dance with Ethan at his wedding or how I would help Arianna pick out her wedding gown. I remember the first time it hit me that I was a mother and they were mine. Maybe parents who birth a child have a similar experience. Maybe not. But I remember feeling like a mom for the first time. Lesson #5: Not everyone feels the same about situations. That does make one person right or wrong. It just means we’re all human and all feel things differently.
Our adoption process was long, exhausting and extremely frustrating. We just wanted to be a family and be done with the paperwork, visits, ongoing court chaos. But at the end of the day we’re so glad we stuck it out and that we are now officially a family. And yes I would do it all over again. Our system is very broken but it’s the one we have to work with. Lesson #6: If you want to adopt, be prepared for frustrations, paperwork until you feel like nothing is private and lots of frustrations. Hang in there! Joy and beauty are coming, I promise you. Adoption through Children’s Aid is free unlike international or private adoption. It’s just a lot of time and energy.
My kids mean the world to me. I can’t imagine life without them. I love them whole heartedly. I am excited to continue watching them grow and watching their personalities develop more and more. I truly believe they are the resilient and brave people I know. They have overcome so much in their little lives and parenting them truly is my greatest blessing.