Waiting for Beautiful: A Collaborative Project to Fight Isolation in Adoption & Foster Care

If you’re here, it’s because you’re one of a small group of people I trust to understand and respect this project. This page contains a lot of info, but it’s all here for a reason. Thank you for hitting pause on your crazy busy lives and spending a few minutes with me!
Dear trauma mamas,

I (or someone dear to me) gave you this link because you are a sister in adoption or foster care, and I need your help. But first, I need to tell you a story.

Newly Home

I recently befriended a new adoptive mom, and it didn’t take long to recognize myself in her. She’s in the trenches of her first year post-adoption, and the battle wounds are severe. Each conversation seems to end with her teary-eyed, shaking with anxiety and frustration, and asking:

“Why, Alison? WHY didn’t anyone tell me it would be like this? Why doesn’t anyone talk about how hard it is?”

I asked those same questions during my daughter’s first year home. After a vicious battle with post-adoption depression, I felt cheated. Everything in and around me was so broken, yet I’d been told it would be beautiful. 

As I slowly got back on my feet, I resolved to be transparent about the hard parts of our adoption journey. I wanted other struggling moms to know what I hadn’t—that they weren’t alone in the trenches.

The Problem with Transparency

But transparency came with its own difficulties. While I was more than willing to be personally vulnerable on my blog and social media, I wasn’t willing to expose my daughter’s vulnerabilities by extension. There seemed no way to talk honestly about my struggle without also talking about hers, and so I stopped.

Still, the drive didn’t go away. For almost six years, I’ve felt called to seek out those scared, hurting, isolated mamas and tell them my story, and by extension the very things they need to hear: You’re not alone. You’re not losing your mind. You’re not a failure.

From Isolation to Adoration

It doesn’t end there, with telling them what they aren’t. I also want to remind them who Jesus is. If there’s one thing this adoption journey has taught me, it’s that He is the ONLY way anything good comes out of me or my family. He just keeps breaking me in his relentless, merciful, redemptive way. And slowly, through all the brokenness, I’m beginning to see the beauty.

His beauty. My daughter’s beauty. Even my own.

We just had to wait for the beauty, and mostly that meant holding tight to Him.

I believe this message is a calling, but I’ve never been sure how to go about sharing it on a larger scale without violating my daughter’s privacy.

Until now.

Waiting for Beautiful: The Project

I am in the early planning stages of a writing project that I believe will meet this gaping need in the adoption community. The mission is this:

To provide honest voices of encouragement to isolated, defeated, or weary “trauma mamas” (foster and adoptive), and do so in a way that makes much of Jesus and is respectful of our families’ privacy and dignity.

The working title is:

The concept behind this project is simple, but powerful: A published (hard copy and ebook) collection of letters written by veteran adoptive/foster mothers to new or struggling adoptive/foster mothers (or to their younger, less experienced selves).

These letters will:

  • Be anonymous, or have details and names changed to protect the stories and privacy of the families involved.
  • Present an honest exploration of the broken side of adoption/fostering through personal story and reflection.
  • Focus on the personal, spiritual journey of walking with Jesus through trauma parenting and personal inadequacy, rather than offering parenting advice.

How You Can Help

If you (or someone you know and trust) are interested in being involved with this project, you can help in several ways:

  1. PRAY. I put this one first because I deeply desire for this project to meet a need God has placed on my heart. I want this to be His show.
  2. Provide Feedback. I’ve created a short survey (you can fill it out here) to get a broader sense of common struggles. This will inform my planning and organization of the book, and help me provide specifics to potential contributors when it comes time to collect letter submissions.
  3. Join the “Street Team.” Does the vision for this project connect with you? Do you want to stay apprised of progress? Would you consider submitting a letter for possible inclusion? Could you help me spread the word (when the time comes) about this book? If so, subscribe to updates about this specific project by entering your info in the sign-up form at the bottom of this page.
  4. Share SPARINGLY. This might seem counterintuitive, but please do not share the link to this page on social media. Until I have more details worked out, and a fluid system for collecting submissions, I’m asking that this project remain among my trusted friends and THEIR discerningly chosen, trusted adoptive/foster friends. (An aside: While this page is not to be shared on social media, do feel free to publicly share the survey page, as that is merely a tool for gathering data, and the more the better.)

Speaking of working out the details, I’m sure you have questions. Please, ask them! (Email me at alison@alisonmclennan.com.) I’ve tried to anticipate a few by creating a short FAQs page. Click here to check it out, and let me know what I can add.

Thank you in advance for your support, sisters! You are my heroes.

 

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