Saturday, November 21, 2009
Don't Listen to Critics, Strive for High Achievement
In every difficult situation is potential value. Believe this, then begin looking for it. Norman Vincent Pealespan
I was reading a blog post the other day about adoptive families and a prospective adoptive mother was commenting about some of her frustration as she has to endure insensitive comments from others who either say something stinging to them unintentionally or from those who have an agenda to keep regarding infertility and adoption. As an adoptive father of two myself I have endured some of these same things and I know they can be very painful.
The adoptive process is a true journey of the heart. The reasons that have brought couples and families to make this decision are numerous but in most cases it has been a refiners fire of sorts. Sometimes it seems like life is preventing you from achieving your goals. You define your goals right, you make them aligned with you values, you plan the time to work on them and then … something unexpected happens. Those who have never felt this pain or have never had to endure the many treatments and humbling procedures to get pregnant naturally will never fully appreciate the complexity of adoption.
For those who can plan when they want to get pregnant and have complete control over that part of their life it is a completely different ball game and the rules that govern it are not in anyway understood completely by those who cannot play. In the words of my brother in law who once told my wife as she shared her frustration and amazement with him about our infertility "I have the power to do it and so I do" with all the compassion of a police officer as he gives you a speeding ticket. It's not his fault he just can't relate to our circumstances and nor can we with him and that's okay. But it still hurts just the same.
In what seems a lifetime ago before I had the pleasure of working in the field of adoption I worked as a physical education teacher and coach for some 100 plus teams and over 1000 athletes for a small school in claifornia. I have coached youth from preschool age to high school age. I have had the honor to work with some very talented athletes and teams over my career. I never thought I would find something as fulfilling and as rewarding as helping young men and women reach their personal best in life through sport. I looked forward to getting up and over to school each day and relished the opportunity to work late after school with my teams.
I was wrong, working in the field of adoption is something that gets my heart racing everyday and I am excited to get into my office to begin helping adoptive families reach their adoption goals through our agencies birth mother program. The same fire that I had back then as a coach still burns brightly today and i am grateful for the opportunity. As I was thinking back to that time in my life I realized that some of the same struggles that I and my players went through could loosely apply to adoptive families and birth mothers.
One of my favorite quotes of all time and something I used to share with my teams after a tough loss or when I felt they need some encouragement was a section from the speech given by Theodore Roosevelt in 1910 referred to as "The Man in The Arena" which many of you may be familiar. Here is a quote form that speech that was later added to his book entitled Citizen in the Republic.
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
In my opinion, those of us who have adopted, are trying to adopt, or are contemplating adoption have had this experience to a greater or lesser degree. Adoption is a risky adventure that requires families to be valiant and sometimes there are failures as we go through the adoptive process and we can come up short time and time again but remember it is while you are daring greatly . The critic will always be there in some form or another but they do not count. The credit belongs to you as you spend yourselves in a worthy cause daring greatly and in the end the gift of a new addition to your family is your reward.