Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Importance of Finding The 'Me Too!' Mamas.

Sometimes it feels like my life has been a constant string of hellos and goodbyes.

Between high school, college, internships, mission trips, job changes, cross country moves, adoption, etc. my friends and family are spread across the globe.

Thank goodness that we live in the modern age where it is possible to live on opposite sides of the country (or the world) and still interact and truly connect.

Human connection is vital. We were created by God to be people who need each other.  We need to be known, to be able to relate, and to be understood.

For many people, adoption is not well understood. It is not necessarily the “normal” way of having a family. It might be welcomed, celebrated, and even encouraged, but it is not a shared experience and therefore not always understood by our friends and family.

The Lord has blessed us with amazing friends and family who have been incredibly supportive of our decision to grow our family through international adoption. We are so grateful for them. They have loved our children from the very beginning and have prayed with us, cried with us, and rejoiced with us. While this means so much to my husband and I, we recognize that they have never been through the adoption process and don’t fully understand the trials and joys that we have encountered all the way.

Not fully being understood by friends and family is an isolating feeling, and the adoption journey can be lonely. Infertility is lonely. Paperwork is lonely. Waiting is lonely. The unknown is lonely.

One thing I was not expecting on this adoption journey was the incredible people God would bring into our lives who can truly relate. They are the ones that took our loneliness and isolation and exchanged them for belonging and community. They got us. They got our heart. They got our frustrations and worries. They got our passion and joys. They got “IT.” All of it.

Hearts and souls connect in the, “Me too!” moments.  The bonds that form during a heart wrenching cry as you long to see your child’s face, the dreams of getting “the call,”  your frustrated vent as you navigate through paperwork, the indescribable joy of welcoming your child home, and the ups and downs of the transition and attachment process are priceless.  In order to form those connections though, I’ve learned that you must open yourself up, be real, and seek out those in the adoption community.

When we first began our adoption process we didn’t know anyone who had adopted.  The whole process felt like staring into a giant black hole of confusion and questions. I started reading adoption blogs and websites and before I knew it, began to truly form a community of friends who shared our passion for international adoption.  I had only emailed, texted, and talked on the phone to these new friends, yet they knew me in ways that most could not understand.  They got it. They got me. Their eyes didn’t get a blank stare when I talked about USCIS, home studies, I-600s, and attachment worries. They understood the longing, the aching of my empty arms, and how I could be completely in love with a child that I didn’t know. These new friends understood. They supported me, loved me, and encouraged me. We connected through our shared passions and experiences.

My husband thought I was a little crazy at first when I started talking about my new friends. He didn’t quite get how I could connect so fast to this group of adoption mommas. He was cautious and more than a little hesitant when I told him I wanted to meet two of my dearest new friends in person.  And when I said I wanted to drive 2 hours away, and stay the weekend with them in a hotel, he was definitely concerned.  Rightfully so! But, he knew that these connections were real and that my heart needed to spend time with these friends… just to be safe though he walked me into the hotel to make sure my new friends were not some crazy stalkers who pretended to be someone else online! 

Thankfully those girls were exactly who I thought they were, and we stayed up into the very early hours of the night laughing, talking, and crying together.  Today they are some of my closest friends, and all three of our families, including our husbands, have gotten together many times and laughed about that first meeting. These days the very children my friends and I longed to hold are now toddling around, doing life together. Talk about a blessed sisterhood!

We were so blessed to find an amazing group of families that had not only gone through international adoption, but who had all actually adopted from the same country and orphanage. It was like hitting the adoption and friend gold mine! Instantly we had an extended family of friends who had walked the same path and who shared a love for the Lord and adoption. Our families looked similar and our hearts had a common bond. This bond was solidified through Facebook, emails, text, phone calls, get-togethers and visits.  We drove for hours to spend time with other families and to be at the airport to welcome them home.  We sought the Lord and interceded on our friends’ behalf as they waited for their court cases to clear and for their child to come home. These friendships are real. Very real.

This adoption community has been a lifeline to me over the past few years. I have thrown myself all in and have been rewarded with the most amazing friends and support system of other mommas who truly understand, and who have walked each exciting, wonderful, and hard moment with me.  My adoption sisters have cried and rejoiced with me and I have done the same with them.  Today they are some of my closest friends.

Whether you are adopting domestically, internationally, or through the foster care system find others who have gone before you. Seek out mentor mom friendships and don’t be afraid to invite them to coffee or send an email and ask the hard questions.

Search out others who are in a similar place in their adoption journey and be willing to open up your heart and be real with your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.  Learn and grow together as your navigate motherhood and the transition process together.

Support those that are coming behind you and who are just starting the process. Seek them out, offer your support, encouragement, and advice. Be willing to take them by the hand (even if that is just through a Facebook message) and let them know they can do it. Answer their questions and be that shoulder to lean on when they need to cry or rejoice!

Find those moms, those true friends in all stages of the adoption journey that you can celebrate and cry with.

Connection takes effort…. but it is SO worth it. There are many ways to connect with other adoptive families to create your own adoption community family:

·       Social media has its downfalls, but use it in a positive way. Use Facebook, blogs, and Instagram to connect with other adoptive moms and families.
·       Get to know these new friends as people, not just another name on the list or just their adoption story.
·       Pray for them. Truly intercede for their family, for their children, for their adoption process, for their family.
·       Exchange numbers and send a text or make a phone call to encourage them.
·       Take a few minutes and write out a real card and actually use a stamp and envelope to mail it!  It’s such a foreign concept in today’s world, but think about how fun is it to get real mail rather than just bills!
·       Commit to getting your families together for play dates, reunions, or just fun get-togethers if any way possible.  Be willing to sacrifice time and money to drive or even fly in order to spend time together.
·       Attend events such as the Joy in Journey Adoption Retreat in order to meet, connect, and grow with new and old friends (I can’t wait to see you there)!
·       Be cautious to observe the rules and guidelines that the adoption community follows based on their norms or rules that the agency has asked you to observe.
·        Be diligent about speaking truth and not getting involved with gossip or hurtful actions.
·       Celebrate and rejoice with your adoption sisterhood, but also cry and ache with them as well.  Do life with them.

I treasure my kindred spirits, these beautiful adoption momma friends who, although we may be spread around the country, our hearts are knit together. They are such a blessing to my family and I.

 Don’t go on the adoption journey alone. Don’t try to go through motherhood alone.

The Bible says in Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”  We are stronger when we walk this journey together. Adoption doesn’t have to be a lonely journey. It can be one filled with the most beautiful and meaningful relationships.

Seek them out.

Sarah and her husband Matt have been married for 10.5 years and have been blessed with two precious sons, Levi and Ethan, who were adopted from Taiwan. They recently relocated to Southern California where Sarah joyfully traded in 9 years of lesson plans and grading as an elementary school teacher for days filled with cars, choo-choos, Cheerios, and lots of cuddles as a stay at home mommy to her two very sweet and very active boys. Sarah has a passion for children, adoption, orphan care, and adoptive families, and relies on lots of Jesus and lots of strong coffee each day!


  1. Sweet friend, what a beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing. Thankful for our connection and that you didn't let the fear of us being crazy stalkers prevent you from meeting us that day! ;) What a blessing you are to my life. <3

  2. Thanks for posting this! I can resonate with so much of this, and sometimes even feeling isolated from my husband because he and I each process through this adoption differently. I'm grateful for the internet for the reasons that you've said ~ allowing me to share in the stories of others and to hear their hearts, and to see my faith and motives echoed and understood in what they share.