You might have heard the African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child.” These are words that Gretchen and I have held onto tightly these past few years while trying to grow our family. Except, in our case, it has been more like “it takes a village to hope for a child, to walk with Jill and Gretchen in their ups and downs; in their joys and in their times of seemingly never-ending waiting.”
During this multi-year journey we’ve been on, one thing has been made abundantly clear to us: we have an AWESOME village. From all around the country, our network of friends and family have stood faithfully by our side from the very first day we announced we wanted to start a family.
How has our support network shown up for us in this season of waiting?
- Calling us up and asking us how we’re doing
- Taking us out to eat and making us laugh the whole meal through
- Creating a phone tree so that if we need infant/kid supplies at a moment’s notice, we won’t have to run around trying to buy stuff at the last minute
- Our workplaces creating generous parental leave policies
- Keeping us in prayer
In the past two months, our adoption support network has shown up for us in two very incredible ways. First, some of our friends threw us a book party. What’s a book party, you might ask? You might remember, that a little over a month ago, Gretchen and I got added to the Children’s Home Society/Lutheran Social Service (CHLSS) waiting families profile book. Well, to celebrate, a group of friends made a delicious brunch and showered us with children’s books! Knowing our love of reading, and our hope that our child will love books as much as we do, we couldn’t have asked for a more joyful way to celebrate and look expectantly to the future.
A second way our adoption network has shown up for us in a BIG way is by attending an adoption support meeting, in our home, with our social worker, Jennifer. How do you include people from California, Arizona, Florida, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Illinois, and Minnesota in one gathering? Well, 13 of us squeezed into our small living room while another 10 people tuned in via live video feed! (We totally meant to take a group photo, but didn’t, so you’ll have to use your imagination). During our time together, we heard Jennifer talk about the realities and challenges of adoption, parenting children with trauma, and the possibility of Gretchen and I getting a foster care license (more on that in our next blog post). More than anything, Gretchen and I came away filled with gratitude at the incredible amount of love and support expressed by our adoption support network!
While there’s no way to know how long this journey will continue for us, we do know one thing – and that is that we do not travel this road alone. The people in our lives show up, and show up in big and small ways. We know that this will continue and show itself in new ways once our family grows. And for that – and for our village – we are thankful.