If you are a childless couple yearning to be parents, adoption may be the perfect plan 'B' for you. My husband and I were such a couple. From the beginning, our plan 'A' included bringing children into the world. We were each raised in families that provided us with siblings, so we not only wanted a child, we wanted siblings for our children. As children, we loved our brothers and sisters. As adults, we love them even more.
However, as time wore on and no child was on the way, we were about ready to say, "even just one baby would be wonderful." We wanted to be parents with all our hearts and it simply wasn’t happening. If you’ve been where we were, then you know how heartbreaking that can be.
When we learned that we were not able to give birth to our children, our focus changed. We decided to adopt. Here are 5 reasons why this was a great option for us.
We learned how easy it is to love a child that was meant to be ours. When that first little boy was placed in our arms, we couldn’t imagine loving anyone any more than we loved him. We had dreams for this little boy. We wanted to give him all the guidance and as many opportunities in life as possible. We were filled with new purpose in life. We agree with Nia Vardalos, author of "Instant Mom," who said, “Anyone who ever wondered how much they could love a child who did not spring from their own loins, know this: it is the same. The feeling of love is so profound, it's incredible and surprising.”
We learned the importance of determination. Don’t give up. After that first adoption, we were more determined than ever to bring more children into our family. My husband was a pilot in the U.S. Air Force, and we were stationed in Germany for three years. We made our presence known at the Jugendamt, the German adoption office. After our first little boy was placed with us, we returned to that office each year, determined to go home with 3 babies. And we did. But we didn’t settle for just 3. Through private adoption back in the United States, we were able to bring 2 more children, both newborns, into our family.
We learned how to deal with challenges. One of our children came with special needs. We learned that, even though she had developmental challenges, we could help her find her way in life. We also learned that our whole family could learn compassion by helping her. She was in special education classes in the same school as our other children, and we discovered that our other children looked after her. Two bullying boys ended up being tossed into the bushes on the way home from school one day after they called our daughter a "mental retard." Their unkind remark was within earshot of our son. Those boys never said that again.
We learned to feel deep gratitude for unwed birth mothers who have the courage to give their babies a better chance at life. We will always be grateful to those young women whose love transcended their own desires and gave our babies the opportunity to have a mother and father who deeply love them. That is a genuine act of unselfish love on their parts. We don’t know any of them. Our adoptions took place during the time when all adoptions were closed. Still, we feel a sincere gratitude and appreciation that they were caring people who chose life for the babies that ended up in our arms.
Adoption works. Now that all 5 of our children are grown and having children of their own, we enjoy the sweet reward of being grandparents. Was adoption a great option for us? Indeed, it was. It gave us our posterity. And we adore them all.
Gary Lundberg is a licensed marriage and family therapist. Joy is a writer. Together they author books on relationships. See new .99 e-book "Wake-Up Call: What Every Husband Needs to Know" on amazon.com. Their website is garyjoylundberg.com.