One thing that has helped me on this journey is reading books about adoption. Last summer I read, "Adoption: Choosing, Living It, Loving It" by Dr. Ray Guarendi. It was super helpful.
Dr. Ray is known for his no-nonsense advice about parenting. He and his wife have adopted ten children!! If anyone knows about adoption, Dr. Ray and his wife do. It was reassuring and encouraging to learn from him.. I trust his perspective not only because he speaks from personal experience, but also because he is a clinical psychologist, and speaks from professional experience as well.
The book was Q&A format (which is not my favorite) but the topics and questions were relevant, such as different ways to adopt, home studies (the process whereby a couple is approved), how to talk about adoption with your child(ren), answering questions from family, friends and people at the grocery store, open adoption, transracial adoption, special needs adoption, birth order, discipline, and costs.
Dr. Ray addresses a number of common questions related to adoption, in a practical, entertaining, and often humorous way. This is perfect for me, because I have so many questions about the process, and am sometimes fearful that I will lack what it takes to parent our adopted children.
For example, regarding the potentially unknown, or even known, background of the child, Dr. Ray says: "Genetics maybe the foundation of the road, but Mom and Dad are driving the bus. The kids sit in separate seats, but the bus is going in the same direction. Once more, 'You can't know what your getting.' Absolutely true, no one can, be it with a birth or an adopted child. Much of the genetic world lies beyond our control, even understanding. Yes, there may be more unknowns in the histories of adoptive children, but how and where those unknowns become known is the big unknown. If one wants certainty in life, having a child is not the place to start" pg. 45.
How many parents, adoptive and non-adoptive, have experienced this first-hand?
After highlighting the growth of his family, Dr. Ray closes the introduction by sharing, "Ten kids in a little over twelve years involves a lot of factors coming together - prayer, timing, perseverance, searching, openness, blind luck and a willingness to adopt more than one child at a time. In the end everything funnels down to a simple fact: Many babies and children need a mommy and daddy, and if they are less than "perfect," they are really only like their parents-to-be" pg 9.
Thankfully we have a merciful and gracious God pouring down graces on us, and our children, to grow more perfect, like him, every day.
I am excited for us to become adoptive parents, and share God's love with our children. Thanks to this book, I am also more equipped for the journey.
- Mary Beth