The author, Dr. Jane Aronson is a pediatrician specializing in adoption medicine. In this book, she has woven together a beautiful and unique compilation of adoption journeys. The stories shared are mostly about international adoptions and largely from families on the East coast (some from well-known people). There are wonderful things to soak in from each family’s experience.
Book Worm Wednesday: Carried in Our Hearts
By Dr. Jane Aronson
1.) “The world is a better place because he’s in it,” said Lynne Deluca about the baby, now young man she adopted many years ago; her son has AIDS.
What a beautiful way to think about our children. The world is a better place because you are in it my sons. What would happen if we all consciously thought about our children in this way each day? What would happen if we thought of every child in this way…the ones yet to be born, the ones on the other side of the world, the ones in our backyards?
2.) “It turns out that she gives me so much more than I could ever give her,” said Kristin Davis about her daughter, who she adopted as a single parent.
When you adopt, you may frequently hear people singing your praises and telling you what a huge heart you have, because you have “saved those children and provided them with a better life.” Who knew adopting meant automatic sainthood?! Anyone that has grown their family through adoption knows the secret…that anything we give our children is nothing close to the gift they are to us. They are the little saints.
3.) “We should send up a prayer to her parents…Maybe she was just conceived,” said Picoult as he and his wife were anxiously waiting for their little one.
It was the Christmas before we received the call in July that our sons had been born. I remember lying in bed and suddenly having an overwhelming feeling that my child was alive. It turns out that feeling was right, well, almost right…my SONS (as in twins) were alive and cozy in their birth mother’s belly. Without your child’s birth parents, you wouldn’t have your child. Why not pray for the people that gave your gift life.
4.) “Surrender, Shonda. Just…surrender. One birth mother I knew and one I didn’t. One was middle class, one was poor. One was in her thirties and one was barely in her twenties. But the situations were, oddly, exactly the same. There were babies growing in bellies and it didn’t have a thing to do with me. They weren’t my babies yet. I loved them and I loved their birth mothers and I decorated nurseries and bought baby clothes and came up with names, and all the while, running through my mind in a continuous loop, was the reminder that anything could happen. That I needed to surrender to the process.”
Shonda Rhimes had it right when she said the above; you really have little control over the adoption process; trying to control it will drive you crazy and make the wait worse. Have no fear fellow Type A’s, you at least have control over all of the paperwork. You determine how fast or slow you complete and submit it, you can make copies and organize it in a pretty binder, you can even slap priority mail stickers on it and track the paperwork’s trip back to your agency. But after that you wait. You surrender, knowing you’ve done your part of the process for now.
5.) “She arrived without tears but also without a smile. I found myself waiting yet again. And the minutes became hours and the hours became days. No smile. I remember on day three when I was even funnier than usual, she looked up at me for less than a second started to smile, then quickly looked away with that almost but not quite smile following her gaze, then fading away. She wanted to smile but intentionally held back. In that moment, I understood that she had to make sure that this was for real. She had to be cautious and that caution was probably one of the early instincts she learned to survive,” said Elini Coffinas of the little girl they adopted from China.
Sometimes it’s “love at first site” and sometimes it takes longer. Patience parents. Our little ones have been through a lot. Babies miss the mommy they had for nine months and they may have met many new caretakers since their birth. Older children may have seen their mommy die or know she choose something else over them or know she desperately wanted to keep them but couldn’t; they may have lived in dozens of homes and met dozens of parent figures all prior to meeting you. Trust may take time. Patience.
6.) “What we have learned about adoption thus far is that a child on the other side of the world whom you may have yet to meet, who doesn’t look like you, and who may not even speak your language, can bless and inform your life in immeasurable ways. -Meredith Kendall Valdez
7.) “…each of these children is real and individual, not part of a critical mass too sizable to serve and protect. Each has a little face that smiles and cries, little hands that grasp and pray, and a little heart that feels and needs.” -Meredith Kendall Valdez
The mountains of paperwork to complete during the adoption process was a common theme in the adoption journeys in the book and I’m sure in your own adoption journey. You might be so excited to fill out all of the paperwork immediately! You might procrastinate and burry it with dread at the bottom of your to do pile. You might start and then get overwhelmed. You might have to redo certain pieces, because your agency lost it (make copies!). Know that you are not alone! If you adopt, you do paperwork. It’s part of the journey. Not the most fun part, but part. Remember, the longer you take to finish your paperwork, the longer it will take to actually officially start the wait.
9.) ‘When the time is right and the children are ready, it will all fall into place and not before,’ an adoption agency worker told June Inderwies during her wait.
Your baby is your baby! It will all make sense once she is finally in your arms.
10.) “The Children Left Behind” is the title of the final chapter of Aronson’s book.
For all of the children lovingly adopted, how many more are left alone? The title of the final chapter, really saddened my heart. There are so many children waiting. Just waiting because they are a little too old, have a disability or illness, have psychological issues from all they’ve been through, or just because there are so many. For those sweet children I pray.
Thanks for reading and I hope you’ve enjoyed my favorite ten tidbits from this book!