As November draws to a close and things start to ramp up for Christmas, I find myself needing a moment to breathe. There are so many ups and downs, backs and forths in the adoption process, it’s easy to lose sight of why we did this in the first place. For all the frustration that comes with it, we have much to be grateful for.
I am thankful for the efforts of county and agency workers, who put in long hours and invest much of their personal time, energy, and love into some of society’s most vulnerable. I am particularly thankful for our adoption worker, who has been with us since day one and will remain on our case even after our adoption is finalized. She puts up with our incessant emailing and questioning, laughs with us, lets us cry to her when we need to, and so much more. She is our guide and helps us find our way through the dark and confusing parts of this process.
As things progress, we learn more and more about the experiences of first families who cope with the loss of children after removal or placement. Whether it is circumstances, personal decisions, health, or legality that prevented children from staying with their first families, there is love there. It may look differently than we think it should, but it is present. I have been working hard lately to take a step back and listen to the experiences of these first families and have come to respect them in new ways for the sacrifices they make and the things they have gone through. I am thankful for their perspective and their heart.
We don’t have it all. We stick to a strict budget. Sometimes we have to say no to things we want to make sure we can afford things we need. But we have a roof over our heads, healthy food on the table, jobs that expect us each morning, a warm bed to sleep in each night…and these are things that many don’t have. My heart aches for the many foster children who were removed from their first families for not having such things, and for the first families who still may not have received the help they need to get these things that I often take for granted. It’s good to have a reality check sometimes and appreciate all that we are fortunate enough to have.
I am so grateful to be on this journey with someone I love and trust. I’m thankful that Nate and I went all-in on adoption from the get-go, and haven’t given up even when it has been hard and scary. I’m glad I have someone to whisper my fears to in the dark, to run to when we get good news, and to process all these big, overwhelming fears with. I’m proud to have Nate as my partner in life and parenting.
I never take lightly what I am given in confidence. I’m honored to be privy to a child’s story: what they like, what they don’t like, what they struggle with, the pain they have experienced, the progress they have made. Usually, a child doesn’t even know that we are discussing them, so their workers are choosing to share their story in the hopes it will connect with ours and lead to a match. That takes trust, and I am so grateful for that trust.
How do you find things to be grateful for in the midst of challenges?
What things are you grateful for in the foster care and adoption process?