Meg Herriot, whose family has been waiting four years to adopt a new family member, shares why she perseveres in hope.
I've written about this topic before, but I will write about it again. Especially since it seems our culture is on a precipice with the dignity and goodness of the gift of life.
My husband and I (and our son) have been waiting for four years. I'd like to think patiently waiting (but truthfully, it's not always like that) to add a new member to our family through the gift of adoption. We went through the home study, the interviews, the deep peak into our lives as well as all the tests. My son's pediatrician said it was the first time she ever drug-tested a 5-year-old (we found out later it was an error on the paperwork). Thankfully, he complied.
The wait has had its highs and lows. The hope of maybe we will get picked (the biological parents pick adoptive parents through our agency, or the first option is the person who is waiting longest). I think the longest waiting in our agency has been 7 years. My husband and I have searched our hearts and from the beginning have been open to babies with special needs and special circumstances. We've had to look up rare genetic disorders or refresh our memories regarding other special situations. We've offered up our family as a potential home. There can definitely be a feeling of rejection at times. I remember one point thinking, "Do we look too old? Too ugly? Should I get a professional photographer?" When you try and try and try again and it just doesn't work out, it can get hard.
Christmas and Mother's Day and often school events where I see these big, beautiful families can be hard. My son feels it too. He gets sad at Grandparents Day, when the grandparents come to school, because he's the only kid in the family. He has wanted a brother or sister as long as he can remember. He has also had an open heart with us. He says whether it's a brother or sister he receives, he will be happy. He has even told us if the child wasn't able to play sports with him, was in a wheelchair or had bones that would break easily and limit activity, he would rejoice in being a brother.
It's easy to get disheartened, it's easy to be saddened, it's easy to feel like infertility is a huge injustice.
I believe we have found the gift of it though. The gift to realize how precious life is and to grow in our love and faith. Every time we find out we aren't picked and we were hopeful because we thought it would be a good pick, it hurts. That's just being honest. I do see the graces though, and I'm sure, at the end of time, God will show us why he meant this journey for us.
I am fairly open with providing testimony and I'd like to provide it here. Whether a baby has a medical need, emotional need or expected difficulties, they are wanted. I told our pastor that babies with Downs Syndrome are quite competitive to adopt. I've told my friend who is a pediatrician (and receives numerous texts about all sorts of medical conditions so we can understand what we would potentially be signing up for) how we have not been bothering him in vain. We have put our name forward for those babies and we just weren't chosen.
I tell the people I work with, our friends how long we've been waiting, and I share with them when I think we just might have a chance (our life could change remarkably with one phone call, so I have to let the people I work for know that I have to be careful with commitments). Living a life in limbo for four years is hard. Not knowing if vacations you plan will get changed or you will travel out of state to a pediatric hospital with one phone call, it takes some adaptability and spontaneity. It is worth it for us.
This journey is especially worth it if I get to share with others how wanted these babies are. One friend gave our name over to a mother who was trying to make a decision with what she wanted to do with an unexpected pregnancy. I promptly sent pictures so she could see what a family who is hoping to add a member might look like. I was told she was interested in adoption and I had her contact our social worker. I don't know what happened, but I hope to hear, some day, that she chose life.
Fostering is an option that we looked into before adoption. For a variety of reasons, we have discerned that this would not work for us at this time. Sadly, where we live, you must get the biological parent’s permission to enter a church with the foster child. We were told to expect that you would not be able to go to Mass as a family. They told us to be prepared a parent would stay home with the foster child. As our faith is a huge part of our life (my son actually found me on Google Earth in the Church parking lot), this just didn't seem the best option at this time. We hope circumstances will change and we may be able to foster children in the future.
I share the above because as we discuss things in this time, the equation has more pieces than what seem to be discussed. There are loving families who wait and grieve for the family members they would have welcomed. Please share this with young people, so that they can share as well that there are families looking to God's grace and the gift of biological parents to increase.
Copyright 2022 Meg Herriot