How Adoption Taught Me to Surrender


Adoption can be grueling for hopeful parents, writes Shonda Rhimes in the Daily Beast. Yet the process, says the creator of Scandal, brought her a deep understanding of the meaning of surrender.

I've never wanted to be pregnant, never suffered through the infertility that devastates some of my friends. Since I was 9 years old, I've been telling people that when I have children I will adopt. It's always been a fact for me. I don't know why. I think when I was younger the idea seemed bold to me and slightly defiant—why it is just lazy to make people when there were so many people out there who need mothers! Like I said, I was young. As I got older, the idea matured too. It took shape and form and became real. Adoption was how I was going to become a mother. Adoption would build my family.

Looking at the process of adoption, it makes sense how comfortable I was with it. I'm a former straight-A student. I am driven and I like goals. I am a list maker and nothing makes my mind hum at a better frequency than huge quantities of research to complete. When you are planning to adopt, you spend months researching—domestic, international, agency, private, foster, open, closed, older child, newborn, special needs. You become well versed in a new lingo—interstate compact, service provider, decrees. There are mountains of paperwork—financial statements, personal essays, biographies, medical reports. You get fingerprinted and photographed and interviewed and examined … and then a birth mother picks you. You get picked. Your hard work pays off. Let me tell you, the annoying teenage girl who likes to raise her hand first in class still lives inside me and she was euphoric.

I didn't count on what happens after that. After all that paperwork, all that control, I didn't count on the need to face what it means to surrender.


Read Shonda Rhimes' entire piece at the Daily Beast.

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