In the nonprofit world, success stories are our lifeline. Stories help us engage others to help us accomplish our mission. They allow opportunities to celebrate those times when everything comes together for good. At WACAP, hardly a day goes by that I don’t open an email to see a smiling family, a note that a waiting child will soon be adopted, or a graduation photo.
In real life, however, this idea is harder to come by. It implies that everything is perfect, and everyone is living “happily ever after,” but life is more complicated than that. We often allow the idea to imply that all is well for now and ever more, but happily ever after is, quite honestly, a lie.
When applied to adoption, the ever after we celebrate is not limited to the concept of an orphan child “being rescued or saved from a tragic fate.” The ever after we champion revolves around the commitment families make to each other and the profound way that, for a child with no one, it changes everything.
So, when we discuss success at WACAP, we like to think in terms of snapshots. Otherwise, you keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. Today’s highlighted triumph may ultimately fall to the infamous Sports Illustrated “cover jinx.”
Trust me, no adoptive parent or child needs that level of pressure.
To me, the real beauty is found along all the rough edges. I am not compelled by the bright and shiny stories. I’m more drawn to the complicated ones, those in the midst of struggle. This idea normalizes adoptive families, placing us neither in the gutter nor atop any rickety pedestal. Adoptive parents would no sooner walk away than our biological counterparts. The occasional time out? Certainly. But we keep coming back.
The really good part of adoption is not when a family is found. No, the sweetest spot in adoption only appears when everything falls apart, and everyone stays.
About WACAP’s CEO, Greg Eubanks: Greg joined WACAP as CEO in December 2014. Serving children and families has been the focus and passion of his 20-year career in nonprofit executive leadership and business administration. With an extensive background in international adoption and foster care, Greg is committed to bringing hope to the children living without a family … and helping them home.