My blog has been a tad bit discouraging lately, I suppose. Lots of stuff to report that isn’t good.
But I’d still do it all again and I need to remind you that it can be done. Pat O’Brien, of You Gotta Believe defines a parent as “who makes a unilateral commitment to unconditionally commit to a child for a lifetime."
When a person makes that commitment to being a parent, whether by giving birth or through adoption, the deed is done. And then the rest is just riding the waves and being there, all the time, no matter what, forever.
Here is why I would do it again:
1) In the midst of all of the trauma, heartache, pain, stress, and uncomfortable memories, there are very good memories as well. Things like the first time I got a real hug from Kyle (not until his 16th birthday), or when Rand ”graduated“ from EBD services at school. The sheepish grin on tiny 8 year old Mike’s face the first time we met them, or John jumping into our arms when we surprised them with our arrival in New Mexico. Jimmy’s continual hilarious phrases or Salinda playing social director to 3 kids younger than herself when she was six, constantly planning things for them to do. Ricardo’s face bursting into a beautiful smile when I tease him and he says, ”Knock it off, mom!“ Sadie’s drama queen antics, cheerleading and dance moves, and sweet disposition. Tony lying on the floor at the gate of the airport waiting for a diaper change because Bart promised it ”as soon as we get off the plane“ and the never ending comic relief that Dominyk provides.
2) I have become a different person. I’m wiser, more empathetic, stronger, maybe even smarter. I look at the world in a new way. I am no longer protected from the pain that is usually only reserved for those in society who live under the radar -- the downtrodden, disenfranchised, and mentally ill. I have lived with the aftermath of poverty, substance abuse, domestic violence, without having been responsible for any of it. My perspective is forever changed.
3) My life is so much richer because of the people I have met. I would not know the majority of my friends that I have now if we had never adopted. I have met fascinating people in the adoption community that I had nothing else in common with until we adopted, people whose lives would never have intersected mine if we hadn’t made the decision to parent these kids.
4) My marriage is stronger. I know Bart better because of the challenges we’ve been through together. We’ve learned how to work as a team, We have faced tough things together and come out on top, if only to take a deep breath to go down under again.
and finally 5) God has become more real to me. Not only has my faith been the only thing to get me through, but I have learned about what it must feel like to be God. To invest myself so completely into a person who is too stubborn to change, to love unconditionally without being loved in return, to forgive again and again and again, and to care about someone more than they care about themselves -- that is God’s love for us. And I have learned, by loving my children, what it means to be loved by God.
Who would I be if we had never adopted? I don’t know. But I can’t imagine my life without these kids, as much heartache as they have given me. Would I do it again? Yes. Would I do it differently if I was starting over, knowing what I didn’t know then? Sure. Would I want to relive it? Certainly not.
And would I encourage others to do it, even though it is so very hard? Yes, I do so every day. Because life is not always about what is easiest, what makes us most happy, or what pays the best. It’s about doing the right thing and trusting God with the results.
And in the very end, I hope that there is some success. But even if every single child makes choices that lead them down the wrong path, I will still say, ”I’d Do It Again.“