A letter to my {pre-adoption} self

July 25, 2012 adopting again, adoption realities, Nancy, Realities 23 Comments

Dear Nancy (in 2007)

I know you’ve just started to seriously consider adopting a child. I know that the thought of adopting has been on your mind not just years, but since you were a little girl and heard about the abandoned baby girls in China and saw videos of the Romanian orphanages. So I understand that adopting isn’t an impulsive thought. And I know that even though you don’t know how or where or if a child will come to you, or what he or she will look like, that you are excited… and unsure… and scared all at the same time.

But I am you… five years later… and five years into your adoption journey. And I want you to know some things that I think will help you along the way, some really important things.

1) I know that you are currently thinking that adoption is a great way to add to your family, and it is! But you should know that your adoption journey is going to be so much more than that. Adoption is gonna rock your world like you’ve never imagined! You will not be the same woman ever again. It will be profound in your life. Bigger than you can fathom. Be brave and faithful, and you will be rewarded.

2) I don’t want to scare you, but you need to know this. This journey will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. You will cry. Your heart will break, and you will feel grief like you’ve never felt before, so much that there will be moments that you fall to your knees. There will be days your sadness envelops everything you do. During the worst times, you will withdraw from both your family and friends and feel completely and utterly alone. And indeed, there will be no person around you that can either understand the grief in your soul or console you. I promise you, it will get better. Please know, the trials of the process are part of what make the rewards so great.

3) In your times of pain and sorrow, you will never be alone. Not only will God be with you, but in times of grief, your relationship with God will grow and become something more amazing and powerful than you can imagine. There will be days when you pray without ceasing. And in these times, you will feel His hand comforting you. Trust Him. Feel Him. Lean into Him. Listen to His quiet whisper in your soul, but also be prepared when He speaks loud and clear.

4) Some of those closest to you will doubt your sanity, your judgment, and your worth. You will lose close friendships of people you thought you’d have your whole life. You will be questioned and judged. But you will also gain amazing friendships of people you don’t even know yet! Some will have walked a mile in your shoes and will “get it.” Other friends won’t have a clue what you’ve been though, and that will be ok too because you’ll learn that they love you completely and totally unconditionally. These friends will hold you in the hard times and will be the first to celebrate the blessings.

5) I know you’re a mom already, but get ready to love someone you haven’t met yet like you don’t even think is possible! Oh I wish I could tell you just how much you are going to love this child! This love is just so so much more than you can imagine it will be. Once you meet this child, you will be so certain that this is the child you were destined to have all along. I know that right now you can only try to visualize the face of your child, and I know you try to imagine what it will be like to make this child, a child another woman grew inside her, your own. But get ready to shake with emotion when you first see your child enter the doorway. You’ll remember every little detail of the moment you meet your child, and although you’ll try, no words will come close to expressing how amazing it was to have that child placed in your arms. You will be awed daily. A tiny weak frail child will be the strongest person you have ever met. This child will teach you more about life than anyone ever has, without ever saying a word. Get ready to burst with pride and joy and so so much love.

6) You’re never going to see the world the same way again. I know that you already see blessings and God’s beauty, but trust me when I say that this world is even more beautiful and amazing than what you see right now. After this journey, a child’s laughter will sound even sweeter. Your husband’s hand in yours, no matter where you are at, will be the best place in the world to be. You will appreciate a nap and a tidy home even more than you do now. The sweet smell of rain will seem like God’s little miracle just for you. A smile will creep up your face more easily. You will fear things that you’ve never thought of before. And you will run towards and embrace things that currently scare the pants off you… like the words “special needs.” Your priorities and goals that you value now may be shelved and forgotten forever. But soon, you’ll have a much better appreciation of what’s really important and truly beautiful in this world.

7) You will doubt yourself. You will doubt your decisions, your worth, and your ability to do what you willingly and gladly chose to do. You’ll lose sleep. You will have times when you are sure that God overestimated your capabilities, and you will plead with Him to lighten your burden. And because you not only chose, but actively sought out this adoption path, you will feel unworthy to complain or stress or regret… yet at times you’ll feel quite unworthy and have stress and feel regret. Know it’s ok to change your mind. It’s alright to re-assess and change directions. It’s ok to quit and take up a different path. And in this process, you’re confidence will grow strong.

8) Through your adoption journey, you will learn more about yourself than you thought possible. You’ll learn that you are stronger than you thought. You’ll learn that you can be pulled in a gazillion different directions and still get everything that needs to be done, done. You’ll learn who really loves you. You’ll learn to walk away from the things that don’t really matter and concentrate your energy on the things that do. You’ll learn lessons in patience, and you’ll come to appreciate how amazingly proactive you can be. Some things that you think are important right now, won’t even be a thought in five years. And things you never even considered, will completely occupy your thoughts and your actions.

9) Although you will learn so much and gain strategies and techniques to become a better parent, you will never get to a place where you feel like you pretty much know what you are doing and feel totally confident in your decisions and actions. You will not have all the answers all the time. And that’s ok. On many occasions you will feel like you are going crazy and are completely out of control. Do the best that you can do at the time, because actually that’s all you can do. Listen your gut. You’re going to make mistakes, lots of them in fact, and try not to feel guilty about what you did wrong or what you could have done better. It’s ok to wing it. It’s alright to pretend. Go ahead and fake it till you figure out a better way.

10) Five years later, in some ways, your life will be just as you had imagined. And in some ways it will be very different. Five years later, you will still be on this adoption journey, and you will realize that it is a journey that lasts a lifetime. There is no destination, just the journey itself. It doesn’t end the day you unite with a child. That day is just the beginning. Five years later, you will be so very amazingly happy. You really will be! And it doesn’t stop there! You be content. And confident. And so fulfilled. And the Lord will bless you more abundantly than you ever dared to ask for. And five years later, you’ll be so very sure that the adoption journey was one that you were meant and called to do.

I understand that you really won’t be able to appreciate these words now. I know that without the experiences behind them, they are just that… words. You can’t really understand the depth of what I’m saying now. But you will in five years.

Nancy (in 2012)

23 responses to “A letter to my {pre-adoption} self”

  1. leslie says:

    I can’t fully express my thanks to you for sharing this letter. We are in the midst of the adoption process to bring home our first child. I want to print this letter and save it as encouragement along the journey.

  2. WOW… Great Post. Although we adopted through Ukraine a little guy with DS. It only took us about 7 months…. And he has been home now a year. Your Letter was in so many ways much of what I would say as well up to this point!

  3. nancy says:

    I know that this letter is only a reflection of MY journey, and for that reason I hesitated sharing it. And although not all of it is, But there are many things our journey that are common for many on the adoption path. I honestly thought about the things that I would have wanted to know five years ago. Some of them would have been tough to hear. But that’s ok too.
    Again, thank you!

  4. Lisa says:

    Beautifully written!

  5. Oh Nancy you made my cry. I can identify with every. single. thing. that you wrote. All of it. I get it. Everyone should read those post. Amazing, true words that are filled with hope and inspiration. Awesome post my friend!

  6. lori Printy says:

    Nancy this was spectacular.

  7. Kristin says:

    I get it, too! Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. Patrice says:

    Yes, this brought tears to my eyes, too. I know that it is meant for my husband and I to adopt. But because of debt and the cost of International Adoption that seems so far away. I am holding onto hope and prayers. My 2-3 kids are out there and will come home one day to be with my current two kids. Thanks for writing this; it blessed me so much.

  9. Jill says:

    Nancy, Thanks for sharing this! It was just what I needed to hear. I’ve been doubting whether I should keep on this path to adoption. I’m close to being certified to adopt from foster care and for the last few months I’ve been paralyzed with fear and doubt. I’ve been so afraid that my life will be shattered. Your letter made me realize it will be–but in a good way. I’ve felt inadequate to do this as a single mom, to give this child the love and stability he/she needs while I keep working a very demanding job. It gave me hope that I’ve so badly needed to move forward when I heard I’m not the only one who feels overwhelmed and scared and inadequate.. I’ve been praying for clarity to know what to do, and your post really made a difference. Thank you

  10. Laurellee says:

    Awww Nancy….this is amazing and I thank you for sharing a huge part of your heart……and its the same as mine!! 🙂 I have not forgotten you…. Truly!!:) but life……well, it’s been a bit tough, but we are going to make it BY HIS GRACE ALONE! So glad I stumbled on this!! His richest blessings to you my friend!

  11. Cynthia says:

    Thank you for posting that, I needed the encouragment today. We started our process almost 2 years ago only to have the country program we chose close, once it was reopened we moved to another country which again stopped our progress and ended our journey in that country. God has a child out there for us to add to our family, thank you for the encouraging words. I really needed them today. Thank you for your blessing.

  12. Denise says:

    Wow, wow, wow! Thanks for sharing~

  13. Mary says:

    Nancy, I loved it!

  14. Sharon says:

    I love this! I can relate to much of this, though have only been home with our daughter for 2 1/2 years and our son for 2 months. Our lives are changed…and not necessarily how we expected that they would be changed. Thanks for sharing this.

  15. Kim says:

    Beautifully written!

  16. Kam says:

    You hit the nail on the head. Beautifully said and so transparent. I really appreciate your willingness to help others see the beauty and struggle of this road! Well done, friend!

  17. Nancy, I read this when my daughter reposted this on FB. She came home with a precious baby girl in
    April. Your words are so true. My husband and I added 3 more children to our existing 3 through adoption. The youngest of our adopted children is now 18 and yes, we are still on the adoption journey and yes, some days I still think that God overestimated my ability and yes, through adoption I have grown stronger in the Lord, in my marriage and in life. You have a wonderful ability to capture adoption in words. Thank you and by the way, don’t be surprised if like our family, that adoption journey continues for generations to come!

    • nancy says:

      Oh Romona—Thank you! My hubby is adopted himself, so we are already on the second generation. And some of the kiddos already talk of growing their families this way, as if it’s just the way it was always meant to be. To hear your kiddos are now 18+, oh my, I can’t even imagine. Thank you!

  18. kirsten says:

    I can’t tell you how much your letter spoke to me! It described so clearly so many of the things I have felt along the way before, during and after the adoption of our daughter 3 years ago. Thank you for the sweet encouragement.

  19. Grace says:

    Thank you, thank you, for this post!! We brought our daughter home last year, and this is everything I have been through! I am happy to know I am normal.

  20. Diane Ellis says:

    Thank you so much for posting this letter. It is very timely for me and my family. We, too, are in the adoption process for a little sister for our 6 yr. old son. We already love her. We pray for her, plan for her and though she will not speak the same language at first, are SO ready to talk to her. Your letter is so encouraging and I already feel so many of those emotions. I am printing it out and plan to read it often on our journey. Blessings to you Krista.

  21. Mommy says:

    When you wrote this post I was about to board a plane in Hong Kong bound for the US. We just completed our second adoption of the most precious little Chinese boy I’ve ever laid eyes upon. He is our 4th child but our 2nd adoption from China. We started our first adoption almost five years ago so this post resonated so vividly within my heart. Your words brought truth to one of the most beautiful yet challenging callings upon my life. After the week of unknowns we have experienced with our new son, I am certain the Lord timed your letter especially for me tonight. I’m going to print it to remind myself of what I know to be true. Thank you.

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