November is National Adoption Awareness Month. To celebrate this important month, I am sharing my family’s adoption story with Mamiverse readers. Today, I’ll share how we came to the adoption decision. In the coming weeks, I’ll share our adoption story, our experiences thus far, and how to help adoptive families in your life . You can learn more about our adoption experience and adoption in general at RosieMolinary.com.
I found him while reading the newspaper. He was that week’s Waiting Child, a 12-year-old just like me. I read his story. Mom dead. Dad dead. Everyone gone. Just him, that fetching smile topped by sad eyes, and his basketball, now settled in a foster home and waiting for his forever family. “That’s us,” I thought, and I cut that image out of our newspaper, contact information for the adoption network attached. “He belongs here,” I said as I put the clipping at eye level on our refrigerator. “Please, God,” I prayed that night. “Bring him home.”
I walked into the kitchen the next morning with the hope of my prayers having been answered. The newspaper clipping was gone. Twenty-three years later, a ringing phone call on a sunny Friday afternoon in August changed everything. When I answered, I heard the response to that prayer whispered so long ago.
MADE WITH LOVE
As I grew into adulthood, there were plenty of struggles, many things that just weren’t clear to me as is true for any coming of age story. But there was always one clear thing, born likely in the connection I felt to that young man with the basketball: if I had children one day, it would be through adoption.
There were so many compelling factors for me in that decision. There was the need. Every day around the world, children are orphaned. Sometimes, there is no family left to care for those children. The world’s economic structure is disparate and unjust and creates impossibilities for too many families. And our world only has so many resources. There was also another influencing factor, one born in my Latinidad. As a girl whose family had come to the United States from Germany (my dad was in the Army, and that’s where we’d been stationed) when she was two, whose upbringing had largely been devoid of long-term experiences with my extended biological family, I was raised in a family culture that knew how to make everyone belong, and I knew that family wasn’t limited by blood. There were tias and tios in my life who weren’t Molinarys or Moraleses. There were tias and tios in my life who weren’t even Latino. Family, I understood early, is made with love.
DESIRE TO BECOME PARENTS
When I was dating the man who would one day be my husband and our conversations grew more focused on our future, I brought up my desire to adopt. I don’t believe adoption had ever entered his mind before that conversation, but I saw the same kind of clarity pass through him that had passed through me years earlier.
“Of course,” he said.
My husband and I are of two different pieces. In the early years, as we navigated our inherently different ways of being in the world and different choices, we negotiated everything. And, yet, with our decision to create our family through adoption, there was no such negotiation. For both of us, from the start, there was just the simple knowing that our family was meant to be built through adoption.
Perhaps the hardest thing for people to understand about our adoption story is that it did not begin with infertility. That question is compounded by the fact that we waited more than six years into our marriage to start our family. Surely, there had to be a reason we waited so long. But, actually, by deciding so early and clearly that our family would come to us through adoption, we were able to settle into marriage and not have anything—the rush of biological clocks or the fear of infertility—influence our decision about when to become parents other than our desire to become parents.
For those years, we got to know each other even better, developed a clear strategy on communication and compromise, enjoyed ourselves, worked on our careers and causes. And then, one summer, as we walked the beach on vacation, we knew it was time. A year later, we were back on that same beach with our baby boy downing fistfuls of sand, crisply aware that any way a child comes into your life is a miracle, our triumvirate serving as profound evidence that the God of our understanding, the universe, knows exactly what needs to be done.