The Journey to the Walk
Walk for Adoption Chicago was started by an adoptive mom and a hopeful adoptive mom in 2010.
Adoption is the one thing that brought us together and keeps us together. Adoption isn’t easy – it’s a very emotional experience for everyone involved. But, we believe that these children who have been brought into our lives were meant to be part of our families. It truly is a miracle how each of our families has been built. It is because of these miracles that we have dedicated ourselves to finding ways to network, to openly talk about adoption, to give back to the adoption community and most importantly to celebrate adoption and foster care
Our adoption journey started over 12 years ago. It’s been a long journey, an exciting journey, an emotional journey. It is a life experience that I enjoy sharing with others, and a journey that brought us the sacred title of parents and with that, much joy. It is for this reason that the Walk for Adoption was started.
It was a long, dark, seven year wait until our son was lovingly placed into our hearts and home. After his adoption, I felt the need to give back to the adoption community and to offer my love and support where I could. We had felt so alone in our adoption experience; a feeling that I did not want another couple to experience. I became the Chair of the Illinois/Wisconsin Families Supporting Adoption (FSA) in 2008 hoping to get some more couples involved and hoping to get a group together that could support each other.
In 2009, at our fall FSA conference, my husband and I met another couple just beginning the adoption process. Holly volunteered to get involved with Families Supporting Adoption and the rest is history!! We both felt a strong pull to get involved in the community and share our love for adoption. In November of 2010, in honor of National Adoption Awareness month, we chose to celebrate by hosting the 1st Annual Walk for Adoption. It was so wonderful to be surrounded by the beautiful fall colors and the beautiful people who "understood" our experiences, our heartaches, our stories, our fears, our joys. It was here that we met Michelle and she joined our "Team Adoption".
In 2011, we hosted the 2nd Annual Walk for Adoption. We met more wonderful people (Stacey, husband and beautiful daughter!) and have forged many friendships. We have seen birthmothers and birth families make difficult decisions to place. We have witnessed disrupted adoptions, adoptions finalized and forever families become a reality. We look forward to growing our circle of adoption supporters in 2012 and for many years to follow.
My husband and I do not believe that we were "cursed with infertility", but rather we know that we are truly "blessed through adoption". Our adoption experiences have taught us that miracles do happen. Some children join families in a direct way, other in an indirect way through the miracle we call adoption. Either way, we end up in families we were destined to be a part of; both birth families and adoptive families. There is no doubt in our minds that our little boys and their birth families were meant to cross paths with our family. We treasure both of our open adoptions. Both Tyler and Isaac are so blessed to be loved by so many. We love their birth families, we love these two boys and we love adoption!!
My Journey to the Walk started in 2004. My husband Mike and I were married for 2 years before we decided to start our family. Unfortunately, the plans that I had for me, for my husband, and for my family never came to fruition.
After years of testing, procedures, a pregnancy and miscarriage, we decided to research our options. It’s very odd, but I felt like I kept being pointed towards adoption. I started seeing signs about adoption that I never noticed before (bumper sticker on a car, a story on the web, a billboard, etc.). I am sure they were always there in front of me; I just wasn’t ready to see them.
We decided during National Adoption Month (November 2009) to pursue adoption. My husband and I had signed up with our agency, completed our classes and home studies and then just waited. Although our family and friends had been so supportive, after a year I felt like I needed a different type of support; I needed to talk and get to know people who were going through the same thing as us. And, to be honest, I don’t know how I found the site for the 2010 Walk for Adoption, but I did – I believe it was another sign. It was going to be held not far from our house and it was free – I figured we didn’t have anything to lose.
Not only did I not have anything to lose, but I had so much to gain. It was so nice meeting Christy and Holly at the Walk! I got to walk and talk with Christy and her son around the pond, Holly was so friendly and outgoing and I even won a raffle prize! Everyone at the Walk was so nice and friendly – we didn’t feel out of place at all. It didn’t matter your age, race, religion, what country you adopted from, or what part of the adoption triad you belonged to – everyone who wanted to celebrate adoption was invited. It was so wonderful to see that adoption was being celebrated!!
So, I started “following” the Walk’s blog and “liked” the Walk’s Facebook page. I volunteered for a group activity in July and was hooked. It felt so good to get involved – I had a place to use the talents I have and a wonderful event to focus my energy on while we waited to adopt. I truly enjoyed helping Christy and Holly with the 2011 Walk. I met Stacey and her family at the Walk and was blown away by her energy.
We welcomed our son home in July 2012 and were so excited to be able to be adoptive parents at the 2012 Walk! We are so blessed to have him join our family. We are blessed to have his birth family in our lives as well. I am so glad that while we waited, I found such a wonderful support system and a great group of friends. No matter how difficult my travels have been, I feel like I was meant to take this journey – I was meant to take this “Walk”.