Readers! I have a guest post on my blog today and I’m really excited to welcome (back!) Rachel Garlinghouse. Rachel is a fellow adoptive parent and writer that I’ve connected with through this little space on the internet and I’m delighted to share her with you. If you enjoy her writing or know someone it would resonate with, her links will be at the end of this post, so please give her a visit!
5 Adoption Mottos I Live By:
1. Never say never.
I hear many parents-to-be say they’d “never” ____. Never adopt a child of color, never adopt a child with special needs, never adopt internationally, etc. The truth is, what we think is best for us, right for us, may not be. When we first started on our adoption journey, we were set on adopting from Guatemala because my cousin was adopted from there. However, the program closed as we were beginning our journey. Next we decided we should adopt from the foster care system, but that door also closed for us for several reasons. Our “last choice,” domestic infant adoption, ended up being the path we chose (three times).
2. Empathy wins.
Empathy isn’t always easy, but choosing to be empathetic toward your child’s birth parents and family, your child, and your partner sets you up for success. Listening, learning, and loving are so important, and you can’t fully do those things without empathy. Empathy does require vulnerability and selflessness, as well as humbleness.
3. Education is never-ending.
I know some families-by-adoption that adopt and “move on.” But the truth is, the best parents I know (whether they have adopted or not) know that their learning experience is never over, and they embrace that truth. They seek resources and support. They take each new chapter head-on, enjoying, learning, and growing.
4. Guard my heart.
One of my favorite Bible verses is Proverbs 4:23 where readers are told to guard their hearts, above all else, because out of one’s heart springs everything of importance. There are many, many wonderful, helpful voices in the adoption community, but there are also a lot of voices that are polarizing, scrutinizing, and frankly, unhealthy. Listening to those that bring you down, that make you a less effective and loving parent, will only harm you and your children. Guard your heart, parents.
5. Don’t compromise.
When I say this, I’m referring to ethics in adoption. There will be adoption professionals, individuals in the adoption community, and even your own mind that lead you to want to compromise when it comes to making important decisions along your journey. Knowing what is right and wrong and having the courage to stand strong even when it may seem easier to compromise is critical. One day you will answer to your child for the choices you made, and as for me, I want to be able to tell my children I stayed true to my convictions.
What are some of your adoption mottos?
Rachel Garlinghouse is the author of five books, including the popular Come Rain or Come Shine: A White Parent’s Guide to Adopting and Parenting Black Children. Her adoption writings and experiences have been shared on MSNBC, Huffington Post, abcnews.com, Yahoo!, NPR, Huffington Post Live, Scary Mommy, Today Parents, Babble, Medium, Fatherly, The Good Men Project, and many more. Rachel and her family reside in St. Louis. To learn more about her family’s adventures, go to White Sugar, Brown Sugar.
- Poems for the Smart, Spunky, and Sensational Black Girl
- Come Rain or Come Shine: A White Parent’s Guide to Adopting and Parenting Black Children
- Black Girls Can: An Empowering Story of Yesterdays and Todays
- Encouragement for the Adoption and Parenting Journey: 52 Devotions and a Journal
- Homeschooling Your Young Black Child: A Simple Getting-Started Guide and Workbook
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