What I wish I had done differently…

A few weeks ago, I did a blog post with a series of answers to the question “What do you wish you had known before adopting?” Shortly after I asked that, I also asked the same group of moms what they wish they had done differently. Here are the responses…

In the Process

“I wish I would have done more research from the start. Home study agency, costs, timeline, all things I wish I would have had a better handle on. I agree with others, the whole process took about twice as long as I thought it would have.”

“I wish I would have been more aware of the spiritual warfare that descended on me once we started the process. I spent months feeling terrified and full of doubt, and I didn’t even recognize it for what it was. Had I battled those demons and trusted God far more, I could have had a lot more joy in the process.”

“I wouldn’t have put so much importance on what our families thought about it seeing as how we knew God called us to this. That caused some unnecessary grief in the beginning.”

“I would have not allowed the process to rule our lives. I feel like I don’t remember much of that year. Between paper-chasing, worrying about the money, fundraising, obsessively checking my email, waiting by the phone for calls, desperately searching the internet for any random photos of my child, or blogs from others who might have been to the same orphanage…. I lived and breathed the process. And now, looking back, I realize how little any that worrying and obsessing mattered. I wish instead I would have cherished each day, taken care of whatever I needed to when it was due, and otherwise, let life go on. If my agency called at 4pm, it would have been okay to get the message at 8pm; waiting by the phone wasn’t beneficial to the process in any way. Next time, I hope I will be able to keep this in mind and enjoy each day as it comes.”

“I wouldn’t have gotten caught up in other people’s (adopters) drama. Trying to “help” in crisis situations only drained me. I could also write a book on agency related stuff, but it doesn’t really seem appropriate given the circumstances. But I will research better next time. I also think that given what we’re watching unfold, I might guard my heart even more. Not talked in terms of “my” child right off the bat. Held my cards a little tighter to my chest.”

“I can’t handle adoption drama. And I don’t mean literally drama with people’s adoptions, things going wrong, etc. I mean the drama created by other adoptive parents. I have met some amazing friends through this process. I’ve also met some people who can suck the life out of you if you let them. Ain’t nobody got time for that!”


In Country

“I would have asked even more questions at the orphanage. I would have pushed a little harder to learn more about his past. I would have pushed harder to get his grandmother’s information who visited him. I wish I had spent more time with the other children at the orphanage or had taken an extra day or so in country ti do something on the orphanage grounds, like a service project… man I wanted to mow that grass and give those kids a place to play!”

“I have ALWAYS been hugely disappointed that our adoptions have taken longer then expected. On EVERY adoption (we have adopted 10 children, 7 different adoptions). It is so horrible to pass that date on the calendar when you felt your child would definitely be home by. Plan on your adoption taking twice as long as everyone else who has ever adopted from that country! Then if they come home sooner, you will just be thrilled. Do not just write off adoption timelines that took longer then expected because something went wrong. YOU will have lots go wrong and it will add to your timeline too.”

(In reply to the previous comment) “Part of me wishes I had guarded my heart better and NOT spent so much time with the other children. I am all too aware that that sounds and feels terrible. Those moments were precious for me, but they came at a high price. Three children I held and loved (including one of our two Russians) are now stuck without their families because of the ban. There are [several more children] without committed families that are being transferred this month or next. Those faces bring with them a lot of “survivor’s guilt”. Why did [our daughter] get out? Why did [other recently adopted children] get out? Why are [names of other children stuck at orphanage] being sent to places that the baby house director referred to as “just north of Hell”? I can’t be Mama to all of them (nor do I want to)…but what their lives will become does weigh on me…”

After Homecoming

“I wish I would’ve let friends and family know that I was struggling when we first came home. Pre-cooked meals would’ve been nice.”

“I wish I had been gentler on myself and been more aware that adoption is hard. I spent way too much time beating myself up and overanalyzing the parenting of my adopted child. I would also seek out more people who would pray for our family and actively encourage me throughout those first few months home.”

“I would definitely carry him more (he rejected being touched for a long time, so we didn’t use carriers/slings, but I think we should have). I would aslo bottle feed him right from the start. I didn’t think it was necessary, since he was two when we got him, but when I finally started bottle feeding him after six months of being home, it really helped our attachment.”

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