The Beautiful Challenge of Adoption

This blog post is written by a guest blogger and is a perspective we don’t get to hear very often, the perspective of a dad through adoption. It just happens to be my favorite dad’s perspective, the perspective of my husband, Ray, the father to our two girls.

**************

Photo by Round Lens Photography

Photo by Round Lens Photography

I’ve always had a favorable view of adoption.  I have a niece who was adopted by my sister and her husband.  Although I’m quite sure there have been tough times, I always saw a well adjusted family with love in their hearts. Because this was my experience, when my wife and I began looking into adoption to grow our family, I was not skeptical.  I was completely optimistic.

Immediately upon beginning the adoption process you are presented with life changing questions. “Which races are you open to adopting?” “Are you comfortable with a baby exposed to drugs?” “What is your budget for your adoption?” “How do you feel about openness with the birth family?” These questions are real and have to be answered before you begin your adoption process, and the answers can have a huge impact on the journey you are undertaking. Then, once you’ve decided your parameters, you get the impossible decision to say “yes” or “no” to a child presented to you. Finally, when you do say “yes,” you don’t sleep until you know if that child’s parents chose you. This is what you signed up for, and these will possibly be the easiest decisions you make in your child’s life.

No matter how hard you think the adoption process will be, or how complicated raising a child through adoption can be, it will be more difficult and more complicated.  There will constantly be events, situations, or milestones that you will handle differently or more delicately because your child was adopted.  It will undoubtedly affect your child, but it will also affect you, your spouse, your child’s siblings, your extended family, and any combination of the above. “What is the best way for me to talk with my daughter about her adoption story?” “How do I explain that she didn’t grow in her mom’s stomach like her sister did?” “How will I help her handle the likely feeling of grief and abandonment?” These are just a few examples of the challenges we face as our daughter grows up. How these situations are dealt with will have a lasting impact on us and our children. But if you have chosen this path like us, you already know that the joy that you will have through adopting a child will outweigh all the possible challenges that you might face. 

I am someone who deals with life with experience and instincts.  Although I may anticipate an obstacle in advance, I usually deal with them as they present themselves.  I rely on my experience as a man, a husband, a son, a brother, a friend, a doctor and a father to help guide my daughter through life.  I am blessed to have a partner in this adoption journey who uses her life experience and instincts too, but also reads, researches and learns how common issues we will face have been handled successfully and unsuccessfully.  She is passionate to know as much as possible to help our daughter, herself, her husband and others navigate the rough waters that often come with adoption.

I cannot avoid dealing with the questions and emotions our daughter will face in her future.  I will deal with them the only way I know how.  I will love our daughter without condition!  I will demonstrate my love by teaching her, encouraging her, supporting her, laughing with her, crying with her, spoiling her and also disciplining her.  I will teach her right from wrong, empathy, compassion, loyalty and trust. I will fail her at times and ask for her forgiveness.  I will give her everything that I have and try to show her the best of me.  Times will get tough and the road will be difficult but I will do everything I can to make my child know how loved and wanted she is. 

My advice to someone considering adoption is to begin by being ready for anything.  By moving forward you have already acknowledged that you will never say “I didn’t know that could happen.”  Open up to the fact that there will be struggles and sometimes you won’t be ready for it. You have to be strong to do this, stronger than you ever imagined. Your child deserves your strength.  Be the pillar they need when they need it most, and least.

Adopting my daughter is one of the best things about my life. I am her dad and she is my daughter.  Without her my life would be incomplete.  The joy that my family gives me is immeasurable.  All that we have endured and will endure is worth it.  Knowing what I know now and knowing what I will face is nothing compared to the running hug I get when I come home from work.  All the tears and stress are outdone by the smiles, laughs and love.  The adoption journey is a tough one and will be harder than you can imagine.  I will face problems and at times will not be ready for them, but I will handle them when they come, for her.

Photo by Round Lens Photography

Photo by Round Lens Photography

Katie Zimmerman