Typically, when I engage in a conversation about the adoption of my youngest son, Ian, I am eventually asked, “How long did it take?” Since November is Adoption Awareness Month, I thought I would finally answer this question honestly. So here is my raw, unfiltered answer:
It took a lifetime to adopt Ian.
It took a lifetime because…
It took falling in love with a man who embraced the idea of creating a family in whatever ways we were blessed.
It took having two challenging pregnancies filled with moments that terrified me.
It took two premature deliveries, a stay in the intensive care nursery, and an ambulance ride with a newborn.
It took dreaming of having a third child.
It took being told we weren’t ready to adopt a sweet little girl from Korea.
It took tears and heartbreak as I recycled the paperwork confirming our failure.
It took a move to a new town.
It took a prayer in the quiet of the morning.
It took the courage to open my heart and an email.
It took a long Sunday walk with my husband.
It took talking with our son and daughter about a little boy with a limb difference across the world in need of a family.
It took my daughter saying, “We need to be his family. We know he can do anything.”
It took a nerve-wracking phone call to the adoption agency.
It took sharing this very personal dream with close friends to get our initial three letters of reference.
It took letters from our police department, our employers, and our doctors just to start.
It took ensuring every document was properly notarized.
It took trusting the UPS service representative with our life and dream in an envelope.
It took waiting and waiting.
It took getting a US seal on every document.
It took more waiting.
It took a code from the US consulate.
It took a visa from China.
It took a 16-hour flight over the top of the world.
It took sleepless nights.
It took courage and faith in the power of love.
It took a door to open and a little boy to walk through it.
It took the tears of the nannies who loved him for the first seven years of his life.
It took the incredible love of his birth mother.
So how long did it take? It took a lifetime. It also took the most intense love I have ever felt.
However, if you ask, I will simply smile and say, “It took some time…about a year.”
But please know, adoption is the journey of a lifetime.