I am a personal coach whose passion is helping people realize their dreams. Many people come to me wanting to change jobs, to start a business, to find a new career. But sometimes people seeking fundamental life change need something else, something improbable and often illogical, before they can tackle the basics successfully. They need to find a purpose for their lives, something that will ignite their being and make possible the changes they seek.
That was my situation 25 years ago. I had been married for 15 years, and had spent the first seven years of that marriage in fertility treatments. We achieved five pregnancies, and endured five miscarriages. Exhausted, we stopped trying, and when I finally allowed myself to think about the possibility of adoption, my husband didn’t want to consider it. So I stopped thinking about having children, tried to accept that God didn’t want me to be a mom, started several businesses and got bored with them, lived in Japan for awhile (tried praying to Buddha too for acceptance), worked out and got very fit, priding myself on having a hysterectomy and being back at the gym ten days later.
Then, it all fell apart. I knew that I had to have children. My life just wasn’t going to work any other way. I left my husband, taking precious little in material assets. I was 47 years old, no job, and a checkered work history of various teaching, writing, coaching and consulting ventures.
With little money, international adoption (easiest for singles) was out. I was facing having to send out my “resume” to birthmothers, hoping one would choose me, because I passionately wanted a newborn. The fear that no one would even look twice once they saw my “credentials” was visceral, but I signed up with an adoption counselor and proceeded to prepare a homestudy, which is a document evaluating my fitness as a prospective parent, and is required by adoption agencies.
Then an acquaintance of mine suggested that we start an adoption agency. He had wanted to for years, had extensive contacts in Romania, and knew that if we could just get licensed here in the States, he could get us licensed overseas. I had zero experience in adoption, but I knew I could write, which was what it took to get started, so I wrote an application, hired myself as the executive director and started the agency.
In order to gather the information I needed to write the application, I had to do extensive networking in the adoption community—agencies, counselors, advisors, and attorneys. I talked to everyone, and garnered extensive support and encouragement for our efforts.
During this time I was in a holding pattern on my own adoption—I knew no agency would talk to me until I had been divorced for six months, so I was timing my entry into the application process to coincide with that milestone. I was also gearing up emotionally for what to all intents and purposes looked like a real uphill slog with little chance of success. All I knew was that I had to do it. Just that, I had to do it.
But God was guiding my hand in all these pursuits, and two months before I would be eligible to apply through an agency, I got a call from an adoption attorney I hadn’t met. She explained that she often worked with my adoption counselor, and had checked me out with her and several other people in the adoption community who knew me well. She had a situation, she explained—a baby girl born that morning had been rejected by her prospective adoptive family because she was biracial. The baby was ready to go home, and she needed to find a family for her right away. If I was interested, I needed to meet her at the hospital at ten the next morning.
I was there, and Joy came home with me that afternoon. I funded the agency with the last of my inheritance until my partner was able to go to Romania. When he came home empty-handed, we had to close down. But in the meantime, I had a “job,” health insurance, all the bells and whistles that helped me sail through the court approval process for Joy’s adoption. After that I received gifts, housesitting opportunities, and a part-time job two miles from a wonderful day care center. I was able to spend huge chunks of time with Joy, and build up my computer skills until I was able to profitably free-lance as a computer consultant and trainer. My husband Charles wanted to come back, and we were remarried when Joy was twenty months old.
Two weeks after our wedding, we got a call from the same attorney. Joy’s birthmother was pregnant again and was making an adoption plan for her baby boy who was due in three months. The birthmother wanted me to adopt him so he could grow up with his sister. I was in the delivery room when Ian arrived.
I moved from computer training into full-time coaching last year, following a purpose I hadn’t even known about five years ago, because having my family was too all-consuming to allow me to explore anything else. That purpose had to be realized before anything else could even be seen. With two children, my life is “working” in a way it never has before. My priorities are now in order, my goals are set, and I’m tracking my progress by watching the children bloom. My career is blooming too, because the income it generates, the passion it requires, and the learning it provides sustains both them and me. And a new purpose, celebrating diversity, is calling me.