Our children, Sofia and Lucas, are tender, smart, and resilient. Adopting them changed the way we perceive life in a million different ways. We have learned about ourselves, how to let go of our egos, and how to give unconditional love a chance.
We have learned multiple positive things from having adoption as part of our story—most importantly, we learned to be patient during the adoption process as applicants and now, as parents. We are most proud of the fact that we are able to reconcile the past and understand and accept that we are in a constant evolution process. In our family, we are all free to express our feelings, learn from our mistakes, and recognize that being different makes us special.
We view parenthood as an opportunity to have a positive impact on our children’s lives, sharing values and experiences to help them grow, connect, and thrive. The bright future we desire is for them to have positive guidance from family and friends and to have freedom and opportunity to grow into healthy, connected adults. We hope they learn about respect and love, feel connected to us as parents, and feel valued as part of our extended community. There is a saying, “It takes a village…” To us, family is the village (immediate family, extended family, friends, schoolteachers, church members, sports coaches, neighbors, etc.) who support us and our children and encourage them to succeed by making them feel valuable and cared for as part of that “family” community.
We have realized, and keep learning every day, we are responsible for teaching, empowering, and leading our children … not only with our words but more importantly, with the way we model our values in our everyday actions. We have also learned fear will come and go, but it can be minimized when you truly believe in love. Even though we try to follow Gladney’s helpful adoption advice of “expecting the worst, but hoping for the best,” we still sometimes hope for the best, and when the worst comes … we remember again we are still learning, and that is okay.
A challenge we have faced is learning to find opportunities for us to connect again as a couple in our marriage. In the middle of taking care of all the children's needs and prioritizing their routine, activities, meals, therapies, school, pediatrician follow ups, etc., we found working on our relationship as a couple kept getting pushed to the back of the to-do list. Luckily, we detected this issue early, and we are working to ensure we take time to connect and grow as a couple. We understand our wellbeing as individuals and as a couple is a vital pillar to providing a happy home and upbringing for Sofia and Lucas.
We have stayed connected to Gladney through social media, the Gladney Family Association, and Gladney University educational trainings. These connections help us in a million ways. Just the simple fact of having a support community, that in some ways became a “family” for us, helped prepare us to be adoptive parents by providing tools to help us face many of the fears, questions, and unique circumstances of the adoption process. There is also great value in sharing our story with other families and not feeling alone or different—rather, we feel supported, validated, and empowered.
Haydee & Jason