Six years ago this week — my third child was born. We were done — we thought. Outnumbered.
Three made sense to us and to the world around us. I would have never guessed in that hospital room that just 4 months later we would be filling out mounds and mounds of paperwork to grow again. This time, though, we would be growing through adoption.
Our choosing to grow again so early after bringing a baby home made others scratch their heads. Some even laughed—asking if we were kidding! God had moved in our hearts, and adopting not only seemed like a no-brainer, but it felt like an urgency to our hearts. (Haven’t you been there before?! If you are reading this on this site — it’s very likely you are an adoption mom or in the process – so SEE…. you get it!) Looking back now His timing was truly perfect, and many things came with our growing through adoption. Feeling like a fish out of water was just one of them.
And you probably get that, too.
Just six years ago, I knew very few people — if anyone — who had adopted or who was in the process of adopting. New terms and phrases like dossiers, USCIS appointments, LOI and LOA quickly became things we would cheer for, yet phrases that received blank stares from friends and family. It’s just really important OKAY?! Like — so important!! We got it! Now the next step. Just cheer with me OKAY! Some body?!
I would explain — like we all do — but unless you have traveled this road you don’t understand the triumph of every sweet milestone.
It’s a big deal!
Because at the end of all of the steps — is someone.
At the end of these steps is the little sweet face you hover over at night dreaming of what he looked like as a baby or what she will be like when she grows up. Every step — is a step closer to your baby being HOME. Friends and family would try to understand, and for that — I was thankful. But the conversations always quickly changed from my confusing wait while I felt my heart longing — ACHING — for encouragement in the journey. I felt alone as my world stood still with my child across the world.
And so – it was in the first months of the adoption process I began to learn the need and importance of connecting with other adoption mommas no matter what phase of the journey I was in. I just had no idea at the time how crucial these friendships would be even years after we had settled in after each adoption.
After we came home from adopting our first child, I drove 4 hours to Tennessee to connect with a group of adoption mom friends I met online. Now to most people — this sounds crazy. But after coming home—I needed this community. I looked around the room and it was like a hodgepodge of moms that looked like they probably had nothing in common. But we were connected at the hearts because we had prayed our children home together after meeting on our agency’s online group.
We knew who was struggling, who was still waiting and with these moms I could just rest with my little one in my arms as they got even my need to bring him along and just hold him.
Some of you might be discouraged where you are as you might feel you were not with an agency, online community or in a place where connecting with other adoption moms has been easy. Don’t give up! You need this! I would encourage you not to just wait for the Lord to bring other adoptive moms your way—but reach out and ask the Lord to either make you a people gatherer or lead you to a gathering of moms in your same boat. For me—being in real community with other adoptive moms has made all the difference but it wasn’t easy at first.
It was from my feeling a need to really connect with other moms newly home after our first son that I felt the desire to invite adoption moms to join me on retreats.
Honestly, I just wanted a safe place to ask questions about what we were going through, how we were adjusting and a place to rest with other moms who I could also learn from and encourage. We invited 25 moms to join us on the first retreat and we realized that this must truly be a need we all have when 250 signed up for the first one. We need to be connected to moms who are walking similar dailies so we can encourage one another. Now I will confess – I also have an allergy to big groups where I don’t know anyone (please—come sit by me if this is you and we can go grab coffee together!). I would encourage you to step out and try to go to something like an adoptive mom retreat or even consider being a people gathering and starting a fellowship group in your area!
Or try something small like a coffee house group with just a few moms you meet at a retreat or through your agency. One year we had a group called “Adoption and Chocolate” that regularly for coffee. Our plan was to just share — to come to a safe place to share our hearts and — eat lots of chocolate. We shut down that coffee house every time and I’m sure other tables wondered if it was more than coffee we had in our cups as our laughter overtook the room sharing funny stories that hit home for so many of us!
It’s through these groups that the Lord has brought friends that truly get right where I am a mom who has been blessed to grow through adoption… Moms who deal with similar special needs as I do:
— Moms who get all the attachment hurdles
— Moms who get it when I’m sad because I’ve missed things that are important to other children because we our new ones have needs that don’t allow us to be at everything
— Moms who watch your kids while you go to the doctor again
— Moms who wink at you and pat your back and remind you it’s going to be okay when it’s hard – because they’ve been there, and they got through it — and you will too
— Moms that are there on that first birthday home all together who get why you are crying while singing Happy Birthday because thinking about the ones you’ve missed and waiting forever to sing this all feels like more than your heart can handle… but by golly — that love of yours is there and you aren’t leaving that table for tissues because you have waited for this — and before you know it… she hands them to you while snapping pictures of not only your new one — but your expression too… because she knows you’ll want to hold on to this when it’s hard.
These adoption mom friends — they will be some of your greatest gifts in this life time… and you need them now and in the years ahead more than you might ever know.
So if you are just starting this sweet, sweet journey and you feel like you are a fish out of water. Don’t be discouraged — just get ready for a sweet journey to your little love and just look for the other fish out flopping around out of water on the way.
They are the ones that remind me to just keep swimming on the hard days and who no matter how many miles apart we might live — we have actually gotten on planes or traveled across the country to see! And if you are adoption momma and this article made you think of some of your dearest gifts of adoption mom friends, take a minute to thank them for being there and running with you. Or if they live close by — maybe you need to meet them for chocolate!
Andrea is a stay-at-home momma of five who loves homeschooling her kiddos. She’s orphan/widow advocate giving of her time to Wiphan Ministries and ministering to adoptive mommas through Created 4 Care which she started 5 years ago, after their first adoption, to connect moms to one another and more deeply to The Lord.
She truly believes the Lord can use us all right where we ALREADY are to make a big difference in this world. You can read more of her writing at Babe of My Heart.