Along the way, I heard a variety of other people's stories. Some shared their own pathway to parenthood when they found out our desires for children. They opened up about their struggles, longings and joys. Those stories almost always felt personal and intimate. They whispered, “Here’s how we got through...(Yes, there is a way through)” and "Keep moving forward". They created a sacred trust and a glance into how varied the road to parenthood can be.
Many, many others told us second-hand stories of miracles, waiting, adoption, failure, medical mysteries, despair and hope. These stories were more difficult, leaving me often overwhelmed or baffled. What was this person, the Universe or God trying to tell me? Could someone else see into my seemingly indiscernible life, like a sorcerer reading runes, or were they oblivious fools prattling on about miracles? I know it was neither really, but at the time, I listened with occasional confusion, anger or fear. I left one ear wide open, hoping to hear the whisper of how our story was going to turn out and blocked the other ear, fingers and fist shoved hard against my head, afraid I just might hear a future I didn’t like.
In a much earlier time, while I prepared to get married, a counselor told me that my path into marriage was bound to be different from the one my parent had trod. I desperately needed to hear that wisdom as I watched my parents approach the precipice of divorce. What a relief to see these years later that she was right. Our marriage has been unique and beautiful. The struggles and the deep joys we experience are ours, belonging to and blessing the two of us.
I wish I better remembered this same advice while listening to the myriad of stories from so many well wishers. Where ever they thought I was (or I imagined they thought I was) at each point in my journey or where it would take me, I never needed to be anywhere other than where I was in each moment. I could listen or dismiss as my heart told me to, without attempting to predict the future. My faith, my uncertainty, my research, my questions, my grief, my hope, even my desperate desire to know how this would all work out...each had its own time and place. Each brought me here, somewhere far different from what I imagined as a young woman.
Now, I would not trade the unique journey or where it brought me. I feel calm facing the fact that I will not bear my own children and a tingling sense of adventure at how our family will be formed. Acceptance showed up last week, an unannounced but welcome friend. Come right on in, I say! Let’s get out the map, dream about new sights, plot the next route and then let's get moving! I am bursting with anticipation for the children we will adopt.
We are going to adopt!!!!
I admit, I don’t know what this next part of our course will be like. Nor do I fully understand what it will mean to me, to my sweetheart or to our children. However, looking back reassures me that we are traveling exactly where we need to be. Wherever adoption leads us, I trust this unique path more fully. As we move forward, we will be guided every step of the way.
Along the way, I promise to tell my myself, my love and my beloved children what each of us needs to hear whatever our struggle, “Have faith and move forward, child. Your story is your own. All your own.”