Keep Your Knees Bent

By Susan Reardon

It was the night before my wedding and everything was planned down to the finest of details. As I was talking to the wedding coordinator at rehearsal about how the day would go, she commented to me, “Just keep your knees bent”. She further explained that plans don’t always follow the script we lay out and that, like in skiing, it was important to keep your knees bent in order to absorb any unexpected bumps. I was somewhat annoyed feeling like she rained on my parade and the wedding did indeed go off without a hitch.

In looking back, that little nugget of wisdom would one day come very much in handy. If you have ever been through the process of adopting, you know that there is no script to follow. Whether you are an adoptive parent, hopeful parent, birth parent or expectant parent, chances are that you have in mind what you “think” your adoption journey will look like. Sometimes it works out that it is everything you initially envisioned, but often times it take on a life of it’s own.

Maybe you are an expectant parent who wants the adoptive parents to be in the room for delivery, but due to distance they aren’t able to make it in time. Maybe you are the hopeful adoptive couple looking forward to an open adoption only to learn that the birthmother who chose you does not want to meet you. There are countless ways in which your adoption journey may take you through some unexpected turns. So here are some practical tips on how to keep you knees bent during the adoption process.

Be prepared. Have back-up plans in mind in case the original plan falls through.

Be compassionate. Understand the circumstances others are in. Adoption is complex and involves multiple individuals who each bring a variety of things with them.

Be forgiving of others and of yourself. You may need to let certain things go. Whether you stumble or someone else fails you, pick yourself back up and continue to move forward.

Be flexible. Expect the unexpected and learn to be ok with it.