Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Tougher Parts of Adoption

I've wanted to write this post for several weeks now, but I've hesitated. Because when someone hears about adoption, their first reaction is, "Oh, that is so sweet!"

And yes, in some ways, it is.

But it's not always sweet. In fact, it's going to be hard. I can't even imagine the road we have ahead of

During our final visit with our wonderful social worker, she talked to us about what we should expect when we return home with our son. I've read a couple books and completed my online training and while I'm by no means ready, I knew some of what she was going to explain. I don't know how to explain this, but it's one thing to read about it from some author I've never met and quite different to hear about it from someone sitting across from you at the kitchen table. It seemed.....real.

There's a good chance our son will be malnourished. That's a no-brainer, right? Helloooo, we're adopting from a third world country! I shouldn't be shocked to hear this. But she explained why. If he's a toddler, he might have had to fight for his food at the orphanage, simply because there's not enough to go around. Do you know what that did to my heart when she said those words? And again, I "knew" this in my brain, but it just clicked in such a different way when we spoke about it.

We also talked about attachment/bonding issues. She explained in more depth why we need to be his 100% sole caretakers when we first get home. If we have family or friends over, helping change his diaper, feed him his bottle, burp him and put him down, how will he know that we are his parents? We could easily be confused for being just another nanny. After all, that's all he will have known. Again, I had read about it, but to have someone look at you, eye to eye, and tell you that this transition - making sure he recognizes us as his parents - is paramount to his complete emotional well-being? Talk about feeling overwhelmed.

And then the questions took over in my brain. What if he doesn't attach well to us? What if, when he sees us for the first time, he cries in fear? What if his malnourishment severly impacts his development? What if, what if, what if...

Satan just loves when I play that game and believe me, I do it quite often (just ask my husband). I begin to feel completely inadequate, and I look to other adoptive parents who are unbelievably awesome, and I panic. "I can't do this, I don't have my life together," I think to myself.

And I'm absolutely right. I can't do this. Only God can. If I try and depend on myself, I will fail. And probably quite spectacularly so. God has to remind me every day not to worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have enough worries of its own. Through this, He continues to humble me as I realize I have so much to learn. I am grateful for the wait time leading up to our referral, because I have a feeling God's going to do some major work on my heart to prepare me for this amazing journey.

I feel we are so close to finishing the paperwork process. All we need now is one tiny piece of paper from the government, and then we can send our dossier to our agency for a final review and to translate it, and then it's off to Ethiopia. Unfortunately, our lovely government is not known to move quickly so I'm practicing patience (and believe me when I say I'm not doing too well at it).

I'm sure I don't say it often enough, but thank you to everyone who has encouraged us along the way. You probably don't know how much of an impact supportive words can be, but believe me, they are usually the exact thing we need to hear at the exact minute that you tell us.



  1. My sister in law's kids have been with them for almost a year now and are STILL growing exponentially! They're older, 7 and 9 respectively, but in the first month they grew several inches and three sizes! Be prepared to make use of that Costco Sam's Club membership :)

    1. I know - I keep hearing about how fast he'll probably grow when he gets home. With him living in the South, we'll have him chunky in no time. :)

  2. Courtney, you are a great Mom...who learned to be by another great Mom (your own). Lets not forget that kids don't come with an instruction booklet, diagram, "learn how to" book or anything else other than a heart built to entrust their every need to someone with unconditional love. And in return, they love because their heart is overwhelmed with such a comfort they can't describe it. A love that is warm...a love that is home. When M & M were both born, there were no guarantees that anything would come easy either...and this precious boy will be no different. He will be so lucky to have you and Drew as his parents.

    Here is a link to a family here in BG who are in the DR Congo right now, as I type this ( They have a set of biological twins and just met their adopted children(a boy and a girl) Tuesday of this week (Aug. 14). Thought it would give you hope in the midst of the doubt. Praying for you guys and so excited for you! Love and hugs.

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words and sharing that link - I've added it to my favorites. Can't wait to follow their continued journey and what sweet kids they're adopting!

  3. Thanks for sharing Courtney. Your honest and humble approach to this entire process is inspiring. No matter what you may face in this process, I have no doubt the blessings will be abundant and outweigh the difficulties! Lots of love.

    1. Thank you, sweet friend. I am so fortunate to have your love and prayers!