About five years ago I stumbled upon a blog by a lovely young woman and her young husband who recounted their story of adopting their daughter from Uganda. I spent hours reading every post about their daughter. I was so moved by the mother’s heart, her yearning to be with her daughter that was on the other side of the world. As I read it,

I felt in my depth how a child who didn’t come from your body could still truly be yours.

I was always someone who was terribly excited to be pregnant. It was something I looked forward to for much of my life. To feel a living thing growing within you, how crazy is that? Of course I wanted it! But when my heart started to consider adoption a floodgate opened up.

When I was in my early twenties, I was working my third summer at a camp for inner city Detroit youth. I remember sitting with my group of girls that summer as they inspected my tattoo on my shoulder, which says, “Hope for the Orphan.” I remember their beautiful ebony fingers tracing the letters on my shoulder asking me what it meant.

A large number of these kids had been or were foster children, and several were being raised by aunts or grandmothers. They had a lot to say about my tattoo and its meaning. I will never forget this one little girl, she was maybe eight or nine, who right before getting on the bus to leave camp ran up to me, wrapped her arms around my waist, looked up at me and said, “Adopt your kids as babies, so they won’t remember anything that’s happened to them.” My heart splintered at her words.

A few years later I was working at a foster care group home for pregnant and parenting teenage girls in Los Angeles as a young newlywed. This was the closest I had been to pregnancy and newborn babies, quite literally surrounded by it. And while I have grown to have a reverence for pregnancy, I can honestly say the desire that used to be there for myself is fully gone.

My time at the group home taught me that not every girl or woman who gets pregnant should be a mother. Motherhood (and fatherhood) is such a huge commitment, and not everyone is able to step up to that commitment. In place of that old desire of mine to be pregnant, there is now a longing to raise children who aren’t born into a family that is ready or willing to love and support them.

This is a journey that I was on for years before meeting my husband, but the same way the floodgate opened in my heart, a floodgate opened in his. Our desire to adopt continues to increase in us as we narrow in on more details little by little, like the fact we want to adopt our kids through foster care.

We’ve had the opportunity to look this need, these children without forever families, in the face and decided we want to be a place where kids get their forever family.

By Leslie Tulip, AdoptTogether Contributor

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