Adoption Voices

Circulating frequently within the adoption community is the notion that the average parent waits x amount of months; the average adoptive parent will experience x amount of failed adoptions; the average adoptive parent will work with x amount of agencies...the list goes on and on.  To find the average of something, one must take the sum of several quantities together and then divide this number by the total number of quantities.  Averages are helpful in finding a "dependable predictable" in a world of total unprediction.  If my car can get anywhere between 20-30 mpg in a given tank of gas, this 10 point variable means more to me in what I can predict from it if I find that on average my car gets 25 mpg.  Averages are also helpful in not only identifying a possible prediction, but further stratagizing ways to prevent or achieve it.  For example if I know that the car I am driving on average gets 25 mpg and I am going on a long distance trip in which I want to minimize a costly fuel expense, then my knowledge of an average may lead me to  take a different car that gets better gas mileage. 

So indisputably averages can be very helpful in bringing some security to a world of unpredictable variables. Where averages become problematic however, is when they are applied to human relationships.  Undoubtedly, nothing seems to be as scary as a new relationship, be that romantic, friendship, colleague, or even, yes even a woman you have been matched with to adopt a child.  The minute a new relationship begins, almost immediately we begin to factor the risks, looking instantly to any averages we can get our hands on to make us feel safe.  We buy books, promote authors to the best sellers list by researching the precious number (average) that will normalize our experience and give us some number to hedge our bets around.  

Here in lies the problem...averages can provide a sense of false security.  If our experience in a given situation differs greatly from an average, we are lead to be mistrusting.  If we enter into unpredictable waters, we use an average to try and calculate our emotional risk, thereby engaging in science rather then a human relationship.  This is most greatly seen in the adoption world in which the frequent message is, "the average adoptive parent will have x failed adoptions".   If you have subscribed to this message, then you are interpreting every action or word from the birthparent you have been matched with into two categories: "she's going to change her mind" or "she's going to go through with her adoption plan".  Allowing for a negative possibility will create an option for a negative possibility, which will generate an undue amount of time and energy to be generated towards a negative possibility.  

The solution? Ignore the average.  Work with the only information you have.  If she says she wants you to parent her child, then this is the truth to operate under.  Yes, there are scammers.  Yes, she can still change her mind.  Yes, you may be crushed emotionally and financially.  Your call however, is not to one is to his or her mother as well. A birthparent is not some obstacle or barrier to your dreams, she is the vehicle for you to get to them.  Whether or not that vehicle gets you directly to them, or drives you in a different direction that leads you to something greater, your reality is not controlled or confined by a mathematical equation.  Life is short, loving and being fully present in a situation regardless of the outcome will make you a far richer person. 
Be present, be bold, love always.  "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3: 5-6
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Tags: adopt, adopting, average, wait

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Replies to This Discussion

Very well said! Thank you! I know for me this journey has had ups and downs. Thru it all, I am so grateful for each moment. God has continued to be faithful. My husband and I have both grown so much throughout this journey. One constant thing God has specifically told me is that we just need to be ready.


I found averages very helpful with regard to setting realistic expectations. I think a balanced approach is reasonable in the precarious journey of adoption.  It is important to have faith in people and trust in the good will of others; however, one must be realistic as well.

We met two convincing scammers on our adoption journey. Those were painful encounters. I was glad to have been warned by our agency about that possibility. It empowered me to mitigate the hurt and disappointment.


When we finally met our son's birthmother, I needed a little time to trust her. She understood that, and she needed time to trust me and my husband as well.  As time went on, we built a strong, close relationship that only time together can truly solidify. But, it would have been reckless for us or for our son's birthmom to trust each other immediately. Knowing that some birthmoms decide to parent and some adoptive parents pull out of the arrangement, empowered each party to proceed with caution and care. Ultimately, everything worked out great, but that is not always the case.


As we consider beginning a second adoption, I will read about the averages, the possible disappointments, and the possible successes again. I will be full of hope and love, but I will have my eyes wide open.




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