Today, I’m thrilled to be one of Mike Berry’s stops on his blog tour featuring his new book, “Confessions of an Adoptive Parent.” Y’all . . . As an adoptive parent, the hard truth is there are some things that I need to confess! (Any me toos?) Adoption and foster care are beautiful. They’re also brutal. As Glennon says, brutiful. They’re tragic and heartbreaking, and soul-giving, and tender, and hopeful, and hard. It’s everything. But a huge difficulty in this kind of parenting is that so few people walk this road, that it’s possible (ok, likely) that you’ll feel alone on your journey.
Which is why I’m so thankful for Mike (and his wife Kristin)’s ministry for fostering and adoptive parents. Their blog, podcast and private support community really give foster and adoptive parents a voice. Loud and clear. That’s because they’ve been there. With 8 adopted kids and multiple foster children through their 18 years together, they truly have experienced it all.
Whether you’re a veteran foster parent or a newb just dipping your toes in the adoption waters, you’ll find a comforting, familiar friend in this book. So Mike, welcome to the blog today. Excited to share your words of hard-earned wisdom.
I couldn’t have scripted this any better. As I stand and peer back over the last 18 years (Kristin and I will celebrate 18 years of marriage in 2 months), I’m amazed by our journey. No, scratch that…I’m BEYOND amazed. I’m overwhelmed. Is there another word for overwhelmed that’s more powerful? If so, send it to me, or leave it in the comments below. I’m finding that words really don’t do any of this justice. So, I’ll stick to overwhelmed for now.
I’m overwhelmed because I really couldn’t have dreamed anything more beautiful, crazy, adventurous, broken, messed up, defeating or worthwhile. Worthwhile … and it’s not like the road has risen to meet us. In fact, it hasn’t. Not even close! Let me just be real … worthwhile and tomorrow we load everyone up in our beat-up 12-passenger van and drive an hour and a half to visit one of my kids in residential treatment. Talk about your reality check. There’s definitely nothing rising to meet us. Yes, I claim this journey to be beautiful and beyond anything I could have scripted in spite of the defeating, devastating moments we’ve walked through.
So, I stand and peer back, and I am amazed. In fact, I confess, there are so many things that make this journey absolutely, without a doubt, amazing. But, for the sake of your time, and mine, here are my top 5 …
- It’s hard but hopeful. So …. unbelievably …. hard. Again, let me just be real. Our children have come from places of trauma and they often speak and act out of that trauma. It’s made the journey difficult. For so many years we misunderstood where they were speaking from. We used to see with blurry vision. But in the past few years, we’ve moved from blurry to focused. We see clearly now: The hope we have is that we stand with our children. We don’t fight against them .. .we fight with them against their traumatic pasts. Instead of a lecture, we have a conversation. Instead of a battle, we hold them close to us through the storm. We find renewed hope through this. Out of these ashes comes hope. And let me tell you friend … hope that is forged out of the hard stuff is hope that is stronger than steel.
- It’s broken but beautiful. Yes I know, I just used the word broken, but for good reason. Show me one person in this world who isn’t broken in some way, and I’ll retract this confession. All of life and humanity is broken in some way. We spend so much time denying this fact that we miss a bunch of beauty in the middle of it. Think about this — while we never want bad things to happen in this world, they do. They happen because we human beings are broken. In fact, we’re a mess. But, if it weren’t for that brokenness, we wouldn’t know our kiddos. That’s the beauty in this mess. My precious kids are celebrating their first day of break. I can hear their giggles and squeals in the other room right now. I can also hear their arguing. But I smile all the same because I know them. I call them sons and daughters and they call me dad. Out of immense brokenness comes beauty unimaginable!
- It’s uniquely ours. Our family doesn’t fit into any mold on earth. Guess what? We LOVE it. That wasn’t always the case. In the beginning, I struggled with our weirdness. A lot! That’s because I didn’t grow up weird. I grew up very normal, middle class, American. I can honestly say, I didn’t know what I was missing until we began raising our unique family. This life we’ve been given was never meant to be lived in normalcy. It was meant to be lived in uniqueness … in the beauty of diversity … in the celebration of our differences. I love how unique our family is. I love that each of my children have their own gifting and perspective on the world around them. We celebrate this to the zillionth degree. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
- It’s the greatest journey in the world. Such an amazing adventure. Hard, hopeful, exciting, defeating, beautiful! Worth every teardrop, heartbeat, and sweat drop … that is all!
- It’s perfectly imperfect. Our imperfections embraced, not denied, make this journey imperfectly perfect. You will never ever, ever find us trying to be something we’re not. And we’re sure as salami never going to not be honest about where we’ve been and where we’re going. We celebrate the fact that we haven’t figured it all out and we often trudge through the muck and mire of life. But we also celebrate the new creation that our broken pieces are forging. I think that’s what is truly amazing as I peer back over the past years. There has been a lot of pain, a lot of heartbreak. But that pain and heartbreak, healed and mended, is creating something new and more powerful than anything before. Thus, our journey is perfectly imperfect.
Yes, we talk about the hard, the hopeless, and defeating moments. My blog and new book are entitled “Confessions” of an Adoptive Parent. Expect nothing less. But, we will also share the beauty, the bright and the hopeful. It’s our value to never share any piece of content (written or spoken) that is void of hope by the time you reach the end. Mark … my … words!
So, I have to confess …while this journey has been extremely hard, it’s also been extremely hopeful. While it’s nearly taken the life out of us, it’s also been incredibly worthwhile on so many levels. It comes down to how you see it, and whether or not you’re intentionally looking for the beauty that’s actually there.
Mike’s new book, Confessions Of An Adoptive Parent is now available for pre-order. Visit www.confessionsofanadoptiveparent.com/book to pick up your copy and learn about the more than $400 in FREE bonus content you receive when you pre-order before February 6th.
About The Author:
Mike Berry is an author, blogger, speaker, adoptive father, and former foster parent. He is the co-creator, along with his wife Kristin, of the award-winning blog www.confessionsofanadoptiveparent.com which has a global audience of more than 100,000 followers monthly. Mike travels extensively throughout the U.S. every year, with a passion to reach hurting and overwhelmed foster and adoptive parents with a message of hope. He is the author of several books including, The Adoptive Parent Toolbox, The Weary Parent’s Guide To Escaping Exhaustion and the soon-to-be-released Confessions Of An Adoptive Parent: Hope And Help From The Trenches Of Foster Care And Adoption. Along with blogging and books, he is also a featured writer on Disney’s babble.com. Mike and Kristin have been married for 18 years and have 8 children, all of whom are adopted. They reside in the suburbs of Indianapolis, Indiana.