The Most Common Characteristics Shared by Successful Adoptive Parents, pg 3

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3. They are able to be realistic about what constitutes "success" and "failure" in the adoption process.

As the most prolific inventor of modern times, Thomas Edison not only knew what it meant to succeed, but he also understood what it took to achieve that success. One factor that contributed most to his success was the unique, yet very empowering, way that he chose to define "failure" for himself. He then used these "failures" as the foundation upon which he built his future successes. In revealing the details of his secret to success, Mr. Edison said:

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
- Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931)

When something didn’t work as it was intended, Mr. Edison tried something else until he finally learned enough to know what would really work. It is important for you to realize that an adoption is a "process" and not just an "event," every bit as much as having a biological child of your own would be a "process" and not an "event." So some of the very same principle that successfully carried Thomas Edison through his invention process will be extremely helpful to you as you navigate yourself through your successful adoption process. Nothing that you do or experience in this process should be viewed as a "failure," even if it involves an adoption opportunity that does not result in an adoption for you. Everything you experience along the way will be preparing you for the adoption or adoptions that will eventually become a reality for you.

Not to long ago I was enjoying a leisurely hike in some desert foothills with my grandsons. Being the observant soul that he is, the eldest, then just 4 years old, pointed to a beautiful indigenous plant that was in bloom and said, "Grandpa, we have this kind of weed in our yard." He was right! This plant had been a part of this desert vista long before man arrived, and was capable of growing just about anywhere in the surrounding area. Yet from the lips of this excited 4-year-old came the wise concept that what we may see and label as an unwanted weed in our life, my actually be a beautiful plant that, at least for us, has just grown and blossomed at a time or in a place that we did not want or expect. This has not changed its inherent beauty or value, but it has affected our perception of that beauty and our willingness to allow that beauty into our lives.

If we chose to define "failure" in the area of adoption merely as something that we did not want or did not expect right now in our lives, then without realizing it, we may be weaving the very fabric out of which our failures will be made. Adoption is a very beautiful and fulfilling PROCESS that we need to learn to understand and appreciate. That involves recognizing what it realistically can and cannot do for us.

Any event in your life will become a failure only if you are unable to appreciate the helpful and worthwhile things that the experience can teach you, which will then enable you to better understand what you should be doing in order to succeed the next time around.. If Thomas Edison had not seen the wisdom in learning and moving on after each unsuccessful test of his theories, very few of his revolutionary ideas would have ever been transformed into the very useful inventions that they are.

The great American industrialist, Henry Ford, once said:

"Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right."
- Henry Ford (1863-1947)

If we apply that same concept to how we choose to define the "successes" and "failures" that every couple will eventually experience in the adoption process, then we could say:

"Whether you think you have failed, or that you have not, you will usually be right."

Whether a particular experience you have in the adoption process will be a success or a failure for you will be a choice that you must make for yourself. I would strongly suggest, however, that whenever you have a choice like this to make, that you choose to view life and your experiences with adoption as a success rather than as a failure. How you make this choice will have a tremendous impact on how much you will enjoy your journey through the adoption experience, and how prepared and capable you will be emotionally to handle the RIGHT adoption opportunity for you when it comes along.

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