**IMHO = "In my humble opinion," in case you are not up on the text acronym lingo.
I've been very honored and excited to talk to a handful of potential adoptive parents in the last year or so. I am glad that my big mouth and loud blog fingers have not turned people away from the rather daunting and complicated process of adopting, enough so that sometimes people still want to ask me about it! I LOVE talking about adoption! So, friends and acquaintances, keep asking! I especially appreciate talking one on one, because although I'm not very private and have yammered a LOT, there are still some part of our experience that I haven't fully elaborated on via world wide web. Let's have coffee!
Yet sometimes I find myself tongue tied in how to summarize or advise these friends at the beginning of the journey, because there is so much heart-learning that happens IN the journey. This process changes you. It softens you in many wonderful ways, hardens you a bit in others, and it absolutely, completely breaks you in the ways that count. I cringe with embarassment when I think about how I once said I wanted to be the "poster child" for the adoption process, which is why we went through it so publicly--I wanted to educate people. Oi. More than anything about adopting, it humbles you. I'M the one who is constantly learning. My son has taught me so much about the nature of love and God and human nature. I want to learn to view this process through his eyes more, and my eyes less. I'm not a poster child for anything; I'm just a mama who has traveled a path that has molded and refined me, with a God who made it possible. And THAT I love talking about.
I bristled at the "been there, done that" cynicism I sometimes encountered when we applied to adopt. It reminded me of when I was a blissful and newly pregnant mom-to-be and so many people took the opportunity to tell their labor horror story, toddler nightmare or say things like "Sleep while you can," while they gave a dramatic eye-roll. My opinions on adoption theology, my philosophy and preferences and MYSELF have all changed fairly dramatically since we began 4 years ago, but I never want to patronize someone who is considering adoption, or imply that I know it all because I've been in this "world" for a few years and brought home just one child! If you want some real wisdom, talk to the mamas with multiple adoptions under their belt.
But I decided to do a little series about what I, personally, have learned. Every adoption journey is different, and if you are considering older child adoption, domestic infant, or foster-to-adopt, it will look very different than international toddler adoption, which was our personal choice. But much of the perspective I have gained has little to do with our son's age, and more to do with adoption as a whole. Adoption is often romanticized, which I believe is a serious detriment to everyone in the adoption triad. (OK, I will do a teeny bit of educating in case you don't know: adoption triad means the three parties involved in adoption: birth family, adoptee and adoptive family.)
My first post will be about one of the biggest changes in my heart in the last four years. It centers on a basic adoption philosophy. It's an ongoing, complicated discussion regarding adopting as a form of saving or rescuing an orphan. Stay tuned for some ruffled feathers.