Adoption is never easy – but definitely worth it!

For some couples, starting a family can be a long and painful process, a cycle of hope and loss that takes a tough emotional toll. Adoption can be an answer, and while it’s never easy, the rewards make it all worthwhile.

Children change your life, just as you in turn change theirs. But for some couples, the joys, challenges and milestones of parenting remain a distant dream, as they grapple with fertility treatments and procedures that can carry on for years, with no guarantee of success.

For some couples, starting a family can be a long and painful process

So here’s another option: adoption. As two adoptive mothers explain in this BrightRock Iris session, hosted by David O’Sullivan, it’s not an easy process, emotionally, legally, or logistically.

But the rewards of starting a family of your own, and caring for a child who may otherwise have had little chance of a happy life, make it all worthwhile.

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From the hearts of two adoptive mothers

David chatted with Alexa Matthews, a social worker who is the mother of an adoptive son, and Jana Zuidema, a physiotherapist who has two adoptive daughters.

For Alexa, adoption is a curious mixture of “sweetness and grief”, involving a complex and intricate triad of birth parents, adoptive parents, and child.

“Adoption is often hyped up as this amazing thing,” says Alexa, “but what people forget is that it comes at the cost of saying goodbye. I’m conscious of my son growing up with a mom who doesn’t look like him, and who is going to have to navigate two families.”

For Jana, adoption was the happy finale to 10 agonising years of infertility, a cycle of hope and loss that left her and her husband feeling defeated.

“We went through three cycles of IVF, artificial insemination and surgery, all of which proved unsuccessful.”

Then, after 17 years of marriage, came ‘the call’ from a  social worker, changing their lives and that of their adoptive daughter. They had the standard six weeks to prepare for the arrival of their long-awaited addition to the family, and of course it wasn’t long enough to learn all the tricks of being a parent.

“We didn’t even know how to put a nappy on,” says Jana. “We had to read the Pampers packet.” But her biggest fear was the fear of all adoptive parents, “Am I going to love this child? And yes, you do.”

They’ve since adopted another daughter, doubling their family and the love that surrounds it. For Alexa, adoption, especially across racial and cultural lines, brings its own set of challenges that have nothing to do with parents and child, and everything to do with perception.

“You do stick out,” she says. “I’ve had people give me very dirty looks, and which point I smile and say, isn’t he cute?”

The ignorance surrounding adoption can lead a total stranger to ask the most personal and pointed questions about choice and the raising of children.

But Alexa had only one question on her mind when she first met her little boy: “I remember looking at him and thinking, am I okay to be your mom?”

Nothing else matters, and every day, she knows that she made the right choice, because the answer is: Yes.

For more insights, experiences, and advice on adoption as an option, watch the full BrightRock Iris session below: