Sharing the "aha"

I got a cool email today. Mutual of Omaha is touring the states right now to record stories for their "proud sponsor of life's aha moments" campaign. They are cruising about with a 34-foot Airstream mobile film studio on a 25-city tour to listen to everyday folks like you and me talk about their aha moments.

They define aha moments as "a moment of clarity" or "a defining moment where you gain real wisdom-wisdom you can use to change your life."

The crew is hitting Milwaukee in a few days and they have advance researchers digging up people to come out and tell their stories. They found us through our blog and asked if we would like to share a moment about our decision to adopt.

Geez. Kinda cool. And pretty intimidating. I mean, I have no idea what our aha moment is. And we are so early on in this process. I feel a bit fakey to talk about any life-changing moments in adoption when we haven't even got through it yet. But it's important to get the conversation about adoption out there. Not sure if we are doing this or not...

There have been some aha moments with this process thus far:

  • aha--we want to adopt!
  • aha--not everyone thinks adoption should be your first option to creating a family
  • aha--not everyone is going to understand us/our family
  • aha--there is a huge community of people who DO understand us!
  • aha--we are not in control of this process
  • aha--we really really want to be parents!
  • aha--this process is slow, painful, and frustrating

But to identify the ONE aha moment, that's a little more challenging. The Hubster and I talked about this tonight. I'm trying to work out just what it was for me...

I guess you are programmed from the time you are small, about what your life should look like. Grow up. Meet a wonderful man of your dreams. Marry that guy. And then have babies and grow old together.

We all know that's not how life goes. But that's what the picture looks like in your head anyway.

So I got the first parts done. Grew up. Met a wonderful man of my dreams. Married him.

And that's where our story got stuck.

We always talked about kids. But we just didn't seem to want to HAVE them. There were always other things that took our attention--travel, careers, relocations, education. There never seemed to be a perfect time to have kids (I hear my mother's voice now...there's never a perfect time to have kids...).

There's also the fact that the thought of pregnancy has always freaked me out. And since I was in junior high, I had wanted to adopt. I remember learning about China's recently implemented one-child rule, and how thousands of Chinese girls were given up for adoption. I wanted to tell those girls that they were important and valuable, and told myself that I would adopt one, one day.

Back to the "when/how should we have kids debate". The bottom line is we couldn't figure out how to make kids part of our plan.

Now this might sound crazy to some of you. If you want a kid, you just have one. It's not usually a decision you have to belabor. You want them, or you don't, right?

I've always envied those women who were bound and determined to have a child. I wished that I could have their same clarity. They had their eye on the prize and some had a take no prisoners attitude in their mission to become mommy. But I just didn't feel like that. I wanted to be a mommy, but I just didn't feel that strongly. I thought because I didn't feel it in an all-consuming manner like they did, that meant I just didn't really want it.

We kept procrastinating and putting off "the decision". Wasn't that an answer in itself? Avoidance is an important sign. Maybe we really didn't want them at all.

So we went on with that debate, back and forth, for about 15 years. Yeah, we are slow learners in that respect. And we moved some more. Went back to school. Both of us changed careers. And moved again.

Next thing you know, we turn 40. I started doing the kid math (if we have a kid now, we'll be 58 when they graduate high school, 62 when they graduate college....etc.). Oh crap.

On top of that, both of our fathers had experienced health issues, which scared the bejeesus out of us.

And, our beloved cat, Jayka, who had been our baby for 17 years, died. (You might say it's just a cat, but that old girl was my baby.) All those things meant, time was marching by (time was more like sprinting by at this point) and it was time to sort out this "should we or shouldn't we" question for good.

In January 2010 we went up north for a little time away--just us and Argus, hanging out in a cabin on the lake in front of a fireplace for 3 days.

And we talked. And talked.

I don't know what stars aligned for us to figure this out. One night, after wine and cheese, we finally figured out what had been holding us up.

What was important to us was to give the very best of ourselves to something important. We wanted to step out of our selfish and self-consumed lifestyle (which we thoroughly enjoyed up to this point) and know in the end that we had given all that we could to something of worth. We wanted to do something that mattered. We definitely thought that meant parenting.

And that's when we had an aha moment--parenting was what was important to us. Not pregnancy.

In that small discovery--that we didn't have to follow the biological path of creating a family--we freed ourselves to move forward with adoption. We were able to move past the notion and feelings of obligation that we had to follow a predetermined course. We could skip the decision whether to get pregnant or not, and move directly to parenthood!

We felt lighter, happier. Joyous in the discovery of how we wanted to create OUR family. Finally we understood that having children biologically just wasn't the right way for us to grow. We were fighting it all this time because deep down, we knew that wasn't what we wanted.

It sounds so simple.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not dogging people for wanting to create families biologically. I think that's a great way to build your family. But it wasn't for us.

We realize that not everyone is going to understand this. We've seen and heard it in people's reactions when they learn that we are adopting. Many people think adoption is the second option--the method of last resort. When we tell them we are adopting, we can see the questioning looks lurking behind their pasted-on smiles and over enthusiastic congratulations.

All I can think to compare it to is this: one person likes to decorate their house in shabby chic, with floral prints and country accents, while another likes the straight crisp lines of modernism, with minimal decor and a muted color scheme. Both are perfectly acceptable decorating styles and loved by their inhabitants. But one size does not fit all.

One size does not fit all for creating a family either.

So...you've listened to me blather on about this. Thanks for your patience. You've helped me think it out.

But now we want to hear from you....have you had any aha moments about adoption?

And do you think I should do this? I'm a little nervous about jinxing the process. I'm getting very superstitious about this adoption stuff. More on that later.

If you are in the Milwaukee area, you might want to check this out. They are looking for more than adoption stories and will be taping on Thursday and Friday. Here's the website to get more info.


  1. very cool!!! hope it goes well!

  2. I really love reading your story because I can identify with so much of it myself. I know that many people come to adoption through infertility, but not all of us do, and it's nice to hear those other points of view.

    I've had an open heart for adoption for a long, long time. But one of my aha moments was in a darkened car driving between Chicago and Michigan in spring 2009. I was tentatively bringing up the subject with my husband, and I asked him if he thought he could love an adopted child as much as a bio child. And he looked at me incredulously and replied, "Of COURSE." I will never, ever forget that moment... the opposite answer didn't even seem possible to him. And I think that's when I knew that someday we'd create a family this way. :)

  3. Amy, I LOVE your story! That's a wonderful man you have there!

  4. LOVED todays blog, I hope that you and The Man are part of the AHA moments.....the world would be a better place if EVERYONE had to take THE journey to become parents...our society would certainly not be what it is today......every baby would be wanted and cared for and raised they way they deserve to be...but I guess that would be a perfect world and that will never happen. I do not know anybody who would make better parents than you and The Man...this is one lucky little guy to be a part of your family....I can hardly wait...how exciting......Gus will be a brother :)....love you...love me ..Aunt C. ♥♥♥

  5. Girl. You and I are such similar creatures that it's scary. A-men.

  6. I always think people would be better parents if they were forced to truly examine themselves and their choices. You have committed yourself to parenting after much thoughtful consideration of what is best for you and your family - you will be a better mom for doing that.

    We chose to end fertility treatments pretty early on, knowing that it was likely we'd end up having a successful pregnancy. We felt it was parenthood that was important to us, not pregnancy. People definitely don't get it, but you said it perfectly - one size does not fit all!

    I definitely think you should share your Aha moment - as you said, there aren't enough adoption stories out there and yours is a great one!

  7. I 100% identify with this: "And that's when we had an aha moment--parenting was what was important to us. Not pregnancy." Our stories are quite different but I identified so well with that I cried. Well said Pixie.


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