A while back I received this comment on one of my blog posts, "Do you ever wonder if people are sick of hearing about your adoption?" I deleted it because it was annoying more than anything else, but now, I wish I hadn't; negative comments are good. They are refining. And they mean your voice is having an impact.
Here's my response.................
I never would have described myself as a confident person until I started teaching. And even then, I was confident within the walls of my school; especially once I closed my classroom door and I led my students through simulations of the European Union, the Underground Railroad, the Electoral College (don't ask--I still don't really understand it--and I probably wouldn't trust anyone who says they do), Mt. Everest (oh...I loved my Mt. Everest simulation), WWII, and I could go on because I get all excited about history stuff, but I won't--because I realize not everyone does and maybe I've already lost some of you as it is.
And as confident as I was while I stood in front of my kids, and I talked at staff meetings, and I led professional developments, I still struggled/struggle with feeling confident, smart enough, decisive enough, in my every day life. And, maybe if you know me that sounds crazy. I'm sure we can all think of people we know that don't seem to be lacking confidence--but really.....they are. I mean, aren't we all to a degree? About something?
One of the on-going conversations my husband and I have is over me feeling "stupid." And it drives him crazy. I let that lie trickle into so many every day moments and if I feel like if there is ever a tone to what Chris is saying to me, I immediately throw out the, "You know....I'm not stupid," card when there was no intent what-so-ever on his part. It's me. Believing this lie that strips away my confidence. A lie I've been letting control me since I was probably in 5th or 6th grade.
I was thrilled to uncover this confidence that had been lying dormant in me when I started teaching. And for nine years I often wondered if I'd ever discover something else that I was truly, 100%, unabashedly confident about.
And then, we started the adoption process.
And believe me....while going through it I was not confident. I thought I was making mistake after mistake.
Until......we met Georgia's birth parents. And then, this new confidence window opened up and I felt this rush of fresh, confident, air enter me and I had that same exhilarating feeling I always had when I was teaching. And as we traversed through the adoption waters and ended up with a fabulous open adoption my confidence in this area grew and grew until it became another area of my life that I could say I felt confident to the core in.
As I've written more and more about adoption I've met people....all over the country.....who are working their way through the adoption process, both adoptive parents and birth parents, or who are where I am now, and they're resting in an amazing relationship with their children's birth parents. These people I've met are amazing, even though I haven't really met them face to face, heard their voices, given them a hug, held their babies, or sat on their couches.....they are amazing.
I've cried for them when they've told me that a birthparent match didn't work out, I've cried for them when they e-mailed me some of the first pictures of their new daughter--just hours old, I've been anxious for them when I've known they were meeting birth parents for the first time, I've smiled huge crazy smiles at my computer when they've told me they were ready to start the adoption process, and I've shared with them the parts about our adoption that are hard--that I don't really talk about with a lot of people.
But I have a connection with them.
A necessary connection.
And they've fueled the fire of my confidence when it comes to adoption, just like watching my eighth graders understand the Missouri Compromise fueled my teaching confidence fire.
They've made me realize that sharing my voice on this topic is important. Because had I not, I never would have met them, I never would have realized that what I had to say or think might resonate with someone else. I never would have gotten the support that I've needed at times from other other adoptive moms, and I never would have felt.........confident.........to keep sharing how important I think adoption is in our culture.
Here's what I've learned....our voices....and exercising them.....make us more confident. Exercising your voice is this crazy self fulfilling prophecy and ultimately so rewarding.
So my advice to you is this.....if you feel like you have a voice about something......share it, yell it, don't stifle it. If it's something you wish you had known more about before having to confront it, something that you searched for advice on, something that you tried to find anyone to talk to about it....it deserves your voice. Other people looking for guidance on the topic need your voice. There are so many bad and ridiculous voices in our world--we need to out-talk them with good voices about noble things. Things that elevate us as a society, things that are solid and edifying and healthy.
Our voices are important. Even if you feel like you don't have perfect words to go with your voice, even if you walk away feeling like you could have said it better......it doesn't matter. Your voice is important. And I'll go on sharing mine for a good long time.
Because nothing......nothing.......has changed my life like adoption......even the really hard parts of it. And in the years since our adoption, I'm so thankful for the other voices I've found that have helped me feel normal and.....sane.....as I learn more and more about it.
What's your voice about?