I thought I knew what I was doing. But I didn't. And I am glad. An adoption story.

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This post is paid for by the Ad Council.  All opinions are my own.

If I had a dollar for every person who told me that they had always wanted to adopt,   I bet I could pay with cash on my next Target trip.  And get change.

I knew I wanted to adopt since I was a kid.  I thought that was because I was adopted.  It turns out, non-adopted people also have long held dreams to adopt children.  I know this because people tell me all the time.

Most of the people who tell me that they have always wanted to adopt, don't end up adopting.  Most people that tell me this, express some regret. They wish that they had done it.  Taken that scary leap of faith.  Maybe they heard a horror story about an adoption gone wrong.  Maybe they weren't sure that they could love a child not born to them. Maybe they thought it was financially out of reach.  Maybe they thought the kids that need families need more than they could give.  Maybe they thought they weren't good enough, strong enough, brave enough.

I had no such reservations.  My husband, Kurt, had some, but I dismissed them.  I knew we could do it.  By the time we adopted our first son, we had been parents for 17 years.  We had loads of experience.  Our two daughters were in high school.  And they were awesome.  We clearly knew what we were doing.  Also, being an adopted person, I was obviously an expert.  What wasn't obvious at the time, was that I was an idiot.  I had NO idea what we were getting into.  Good thing.  Had I known, I might have chickened out.  And that would have been the worst mistake of my life.

I took the classes.  I read everything I could get my hands on but, nothing could have prepared me for our new son, Mikias.  He was a few months shy of his 5th birthday.  I was prepared for a lot of one on one time while Kurt was at work and the girls were at school.  I was ready to comfort him, reassure him, love him.

I wasn't prepared for him to be a tiny human hurricane, emptying every drawer and cabinet in the house, figuring out every electronic gadget, turning everything with a volume knob to full blast.  I didn't know he would fill the bathtub at least 4 times a day, take of his clothes and get in and insist that I stay right next to him as he did all these things.  I couldn't even put back the pots, pans and mixing bowls that he spread across the kitchen floor and often filled with the contents of our refridgerater.

 Why clean up, when we can figure out that my alarm clock is also a CD player?  And that over the course of an hour he could play 109 CDs for 10 seconds at a time on full blast while wearing not one but two Red Sox caps.

I didn't know that the only way either of us would ever get rest was to drive aimlessly through cold winter days until he fell asleep.  I often would pull in the closest parking lot, jump into the back seat with him and sleep with him until he woke up.  I remember once, waking up in the parking lot of a beach a couple of towns away,  my car was cold, the sun was setting.  We both had been drooling and two hours had passed.  But his hand was on my head, he smiled at me as he woke up and I was content.  I thought, even if life is going to be like this forever, me a little old woman driving around my grown man son so we could rest after he had a busy day destroying the house, it would be okay.  Because he was my son.  I loved him.

8 years later
Luckily, it didn't come to that.  I don't know when it all started to feel normal. Love came first and it came quickly.  Getting to know each other, settling in, falling into a new rhythm of family life took longer than the falling in love part.  But it was okay.  Because we loved him.  And before 2 years had passed we did it again.  We added Jemberu to our family.  And you know what?  It was kind of easy.  No chaos, no long drives, it was like he had always been there.  Same huge love.  Different adjustment.    True story.

Have you been thinking about adoption?  AdoptUSKids is a good place to learn more.