The decision to start down the path of adoption is a leap of faith because of all the unknowns.
Adopting children was not something my husband and I had ever discussed, as we didn't anticipate any issues getting pregnant naturally. I heard all the adoption stories about how uncertain things can be until the very end, and even after the child is yours when the birth mom changes her mind. I wasn’t sure if I could make it through all the uncertainty. We had to be fully committed with our time, resources, and finances.
And just as importantly, with our emotions. I knew I had to dive in and not look back. I had to fully embrace the uncertainty that came with the direction the adoption process was taking us. Backing out because of the fear of the unknown wasn’t an option.
I had to fully embrace the uncertainty that came with the direction the adoption process was taking us.
We were matched with our first boy in January 2017 and then a second boy in September 2018. Both boys are African-American. The difference in physical appearance is a non-issue for us, and there is nothing but unconditional love and acceptance. However, this is not always the case for other people who see our family together out in public. I always welcome questions from people who are genuinely curious, but the stares we get that imply that we are not supposed to have these children make me feel like our family is unaccepted.
This journey has just begun and it has not been easy so far. And we know that as our boys grow up we will continue to face similar challenges with people who can not accept that our children do not look exactly like my husband and me. The beauty of these challenges, however, is that they have become an opportunity to strengthen our family. We know in our hearts that adopting our boys was how our family was meant to be built.
The beauty of these challenges, however, is that they have become an opportunity to strengthen our family.
At the end of the day, we all want to be embraced for our differences, to be included without being judged, and to be accepted unconditionally. Magic happens when we intentionally set out to embrace difference in our lives – whether that be accepting differences in others, keeping an open mind when in unfamiliar situations, or learning something new in order to expand our view of the world. My situation has shed light on the power of keeping an open mind, and not being afraid of the unknown. My boys are a living example of how being open to possibilities opened up a whole new world of opportunities that I had not even considered previously.
When we are embraced for our differences there is a greater sense of individual and collective belonging. When our truths are validated we experience personal empowerment and support, and we have a stronger sense of self both at home and work. And this sense of agency is taken even further when we are backed by a company that understands the importance of embracing difference.
When we are embraced for our differences there is a greater sense of individual and collective belonging.
Symantec's support for adoptive families is a great example of this. They provide $10,000 towards adoption expenses, and in 2018 they changed their leave of absence policy for adoption to be the same twelve weeks off that parents get for natural childbirth. This action in the shape of official policy is a testament to the organization’s focus on accepting the reality of different family configurations and realizing the importance of family bonding.
Adopting my two beautiful children has opened my eyes to the power of truly embracing diversity. This experience has really taught me the value of accepting people's differences, and how much I have evolved my views over time to change for the better. The impact of this experience on my life has already been priceless, and will no doubt continue to be so.
When we are curious, we are better able to bridge the gap between our own experiences and other people's experiences, and we see the world through an expanded lens.
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