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It's All Right To Not Know

The following was written by Ed Beard, an adoptive parent I had the privilege of working with. -- Marc Widelock

I don't know, I just don't know. Adoption can be uncertain, and if you are a likely candidate to adopt a child, is it realistic to assume that you never will know. Then again most of reality is the very same thing.

We are not capable of having our own biological children, so adoption seemed to be our best option to start our family. As we explored adoption and began to learn about the different avenues and processes, questions were presented that needed answering. Can we love an adopted child? What will we do if something goes wrong half way through the process? Is it affordable? When do we start? Where do we start? Is it possible to be misled and lose everything? I really don't know

In retrospect the answer is yes and no to all the above. Again the process is parallel to most of life itself. You either waste time finding definitive answers to unanswerable questions, or you can learn to exist within the realm of uncertainty. Remember adoption involves real people with real feelings on both sides of the equation. Agency adoptions provide security because the laws allow agencies to eliminate some variables. However, each client is completely at the mercy of that agency, and results may not be enjoyed until many years into the future so we chose not to adopt through an agency. Independent adoptions on the other hand can expedite an adoption process, but there are certainly more variables to deal with. So which way do you go, I don't know.

Independent adoption was a better fit for our approach to growing a family. As we progressed, we found ways to better deal with the unexpected turns that lye ahead. We learned that it was not necessary to control one-hundred percent of everything that happened. This goes against human nature itself and is admittedly difficult. Plus is helped to understand that there was not always a logical sequence of events. So don't expect it. We were more able to cope by adapting to what was, instead of forcing what was expected and turning up short.

Adoption is also not a win or lose situation. With an adoption, the opposite of win is try again next time. Many infertile couples avoid independent adoption because there win/lose perspective makes them vulnerable. To some, not getting a child is tantamount to a loss and this is not acceptable. The result is they quit, and this by all measures is a true loss.

One piece of advise offered to us that seemed to smooth out the bumps in the road was to work only with competent people. This holds true regardless of the choices of independent or agency adoption. Competent people have insights based on a history of experiencing these tough situations before. When a birth mother asks to have portraits taken with their child and without you, it can really raise a few red flags and even force some anger. Confident experienced people have seen these situations and project a positive image that may otherwise gone unnoticed.

Of all the uncertainties that will arise in an adoption there is at least one single fact that I do know, the end result of a beautiful child is worth the effort. Optimism is at times the only light to hold on to and can help add the flexibility necessary to weather the challenging times. We have a wonderful three year old girl that has answered every question I could ever imagine. Can we expect everything to be this terrific the second time around. I don't know, I just don't know.

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