During National Adoption Awareness Month, we will introduce you to numerous guests, highlighting many parts of the adoption journey. Our final NAAM submission comes from our Founder & CEO, Becca Gruenspan. She shares her story of resiliency, what it means to take risks, and what’s she has learned through her own adoption journey and starting RG Adoption Consulting.
We hope this moving piece inspires you to think about how you have been resilient in your own journey.
By Becca Gruenspan
I’ve never been one to bask in “downtime,” which is no big surprise given the big dreams I’ve always had for myself. I didn’t always know how my dreams would become reality but with passion, determination, and a whole lot of persistence, I found myself singing the National Anthem at a major league baseball game in front of 22,000 people and saying yes to jumping out of an airplane in Africa. Those were thrilling…and scary.
No less thrilling though was mentoring a young girl from a troubled background who also never lost sight of her dreams. And today, that girl is a doctor.
But by far, the biggest moment of my life was holding my baby, MY baby, for the very first time after so many people had thought I was crazy for wanting to go down this path on my own and then struggling with infertility issues for years and watching my dream of motherhood slowly slipping out of reach.
But I too never lost sight of my dream. And adoption was the right choice for me.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be married, have babies (7 to be exact), and have the family I always dreamed of. I’ve been dating forever in hopes to find my Mr. Right and after many a failed relationship, I decided to at least tackle my other dream of motherhood, thinking I’d have better luck in that department. Two years and 26 IUI’s later, my body had failed me. But I still didn’t give up. That’s when I embarked on my adoption journey on my own, with so many fears and myths swirling around in my head.
Coming up with tens of thousands of dollars while working in a non-profit was just one more major obstacle in my way.
When I say nothing comes very easily to me, I mean it! While sometimes I might let myself wallow in victim mode for a little while, what I know about myself is that if I want something bad enough, I will figure out a way to make it happen. When you live so much of your life in fear, sometimes you just have to say yes and jump out of that plane.
Or say yes to an adoption situation only to wonder what you just did. Trust me, you’re never 100% sure of anything. But then you fly across the country to have your baby be placed in your arms for the first time, THAT, my friends, was probably the sweetest feeling of achievement and joy I have EVER felt in my life.
You see, the Universe has your back, and sometimes you have to take big risks…even when you are scared. Especially when you are scared!
Resiliency in the face of adversity time and time again is usually worth it. Oftentimes with something very beautiful at the end.
But you see, it wasn’t the end. There is a lifetime of work still to be done. My son is not a prize. He is a child who was placed into my arms amidst trauma by a beautiful mother asking me to take over where she could not step in. That isn’t something that I truly understood the depths of until years later.
This isn’t stuff you learn overnight. That passion, that determination and resiliency that I mentioned…THAT’S why I knew I could be a good parent through adoption. Even though I had no clue what that meant, that’s exactly what it takes.
Here’s what I have come to learn in the past several years…
Not too long ago, I was in a session at a conference and heard someone say that they considered a successful adoption one in which, after your child leaves your home, they want to return – and that it didn’t happen too often. WHAT?
A successful adoption is one in which your child will want to keep coming back to your home? Why is THAT the exception and not the norm? They are our children, after all. I sure hope my child wants to come back home after he steps out as an adult. And I know you all want and even expect that to happen too.
And in order for that to be the norm, adoptive parents have to do a MUCH better job at showing our children that we care enough to learn and that we put in the effort to see them. To truly see them.
I learned that at 10 years old, I need to start raising an adult and no longer a child. I need to have much tougher conversations, to give my child the benefit of the doubt, and to listen and empathize so much more.
I learned just how beautiful and rich open adoption really is. I learned that birth fathers aren’t scary people and that texting a picture on Halloween can go a long way. I learned that there is so much more I can fold into our family traditions if I just ask questions.
I’ve learned that it’s ok for my son to call another woman “mom” or tell people he has a dad or even when making a public acknowledgment, to thank his parents, although I’m a single mom. None of that takes away from how he feels about me.
I’ve learned that even though the adoption world on social media can sometimes feel volatile, that it’s important to hear what people are saying so we can continue to self-reflect and learn. And at the same time, it’s just as important to find a safe space to celebrate our adoption journeys, to ask vulnerable questions, and share from our hearts with people who get you and won’t pass judgment.
Since starting RG Adoption Consulting over 8 years ago, my team and I have had the privilege of guiding hundreds of families through the adoption process. We have helped over 175 families adopt babies and we have built an amazingly supportive community. A community for our clients and for other hopeful adoptive families. A community that I pray people will stay in for years to come for all those reasons I just mentioned. If you are a hopeful parent who is not yet in our private, Facebook community, please join today.
We are all going to continue making mistakes and the only way to improve is to listen, to learn, and to try something different next time. We can’t afford to ever get complacent. Our children’s lives are at stake. So, how will you be resilient?
Becca Gruenspan is a single mom through transracial adoption nd the Founder & CEO of RG Adoption Consulting. You can read her full bio here.