A friend of mine who had been trying to conceive for years once told me that she wasn't ready to adopt because she hadn't given up "hope."
Given up hope?
As I walked away, I batted around her comment in my head and found it quite ironic. To me, the very definition of the word adoption is hope. Hope for a child who has no family. Hope for a family that has no child. Hope for a love that will grow beyond the boundaries of bloodline and birthright-- and even nations in some cases.
Just to be safe, I looked up the definition of the word hope in the dictionary. It read, “something that is wished for or desired.” This could not more accurately define the dream that we had to become parents. More than anything, I dreamt of holding a child in my arms and rocking them to sleep. I wished for a child that would come to me with a “boo boo” and ask me for a bandage. I longed to hear a child utter “mama” for the first time and realize that they were speaking to me. These are the things I desired and not being able to become pregnant did not deter me from fulfilling these dreams. The process of adoption gave me the hope I needed to pursue another path to parenthood.
I do not fault other families for trying different methods to become pregnant. We once used fertility drugs to try to conceive but were unsuccessful. As a woman, I fully understand the desire to give birth to a child. But, what I experienced as an adoptive parent was extraordinary. Instead of feeling a kick in my tummy, my heart fluttered with the anticipation of seeing my son’s face for the first time. I have often explained to my son that I did not carry him in my body for nine months; instead, I have carried him in my heart for as long as I can remember.
Initially, I took offense at my friend’s remark. I thought, “how dare she insinuate that adoption was a last resort for us?” But my view softened as I remembered the days of charting my monthly cycle and buying pregnancy tests in bulk. I had walked in her shoes once. But that was before I realized the blessing and the miracle of being able to adopt a child into our family. That was before I walked into an orphanage one snowy day and looked into a pair of chocolate brown eyes and saw all of my hopes and dreams reflected there.
Hope is a little word with big meaning. It is the desire for a family that once stirred in the heart of a little boy in an orphanage far, far away. It is the intense longing that once lived in the heart of a couple that wanted more than anything to parent a child. And “hope” is the force that brought those individuals into a tiny room halfway across the world and made them a family.
You see, by adopting I did not give up hope. Instead, I embraced it and my journey to parenthood is now complete.