The painful truth about pre-adoption and the hope it brings

Our first adopted son holding a photo of our next adopted son
Our first adopted son holding a photo of our next adopted son
Our first adopted son holding a photo of our next adopted son

Last night I came home late. The kids were all in bed. I went to each of their rooms to look in on them — all except Tong. Tong is across the world in China, waiting to come home. We are in the process of adopting him.

His picture sits framed on our kitchen counter. As I went to get water before bed, I passed it and stopped. Crushed.

I have a son that isn’t mine yet. I have a son I can’t talk to, interact with, or help. I have a son, thousands of miles away that doesn’t know me. I have a son that sits in an orphanage every day, wishing he had a family, all the while his family, my family, wish we had him too. I have a son. I have to wait.

Pre-adoption is waiting

Waiting to adopt is waiting for bureaucracy. Waiting for government, agencies, and people to move forward so we can do something as simple as taking a plane to bring our son home. It’s a time to prepare for the difficulty and beauty that is adoption. Waiting to adopt is like waiting for a new life to start while living your best current life as well. It’s exciting. It’s hard. It’s painful, very, very painful.

The worst part is knowing my son wants a family but doesn’t yet know he’s getting one. We know and love him, but the way the process works, he doesn’t know about us yet. He wakes every day in an orphanage with well-meaning and loving caretakers that, in spite of best efforts, still can’t love him as a parent would and will. He is alone, and no child should be alone.

Corona Virus Delays

We found out this week that China has stopped all adoptions due to the Corona Virus outbreak. Waiting for an adopted child to come home is hard when the process is inching forward. But now, waiting and knowing that the process is completely stopped is a limbo that is hard to describe.

We had hoped to travel to get our son between May and August. Now, we have no idea when we will travel and can only hope it will happen this year.

There is hope in the waiting

People ask about our adoption all the time. They ask about our story. What led us to adopt in the first place? What led us to this adoption? How do we manage it all? Ok, they don’t ask that last question, but it’s often implied.

People care, and because they care, they ask. That gives me hope. Hope that we can share the opportunity and blessing of adoption with more people. Hope that we can share the story of orphans worldwide. Hope that others will step in to help orphans in their own way.

I look forward to the day when I can hug my son and welcome him into our crazy family. That day can’t come soon enough. But, while we wait for that day, I’m thankful for you, my community. You are amazing.

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Husband. Father of six. Wearer of fedoras. Startup co-founder (with exit). Nonprofit co-founder & CMO. I write about personal growth and nonprofit marketing.

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