When You Work Hard For Something You Appreciate It That Much More
My trip back east hasn’t gotten going yet. I wrote about a friend who was injured in a previous blog, Involuntarily Disabled, and how she and her family have needed my help. Quite frankly, helping them has also helped me.
Another friend, who is in the process of adopting a child, came to visit my injured friend the other day. My injured friend has adopted children, too. As I listened to the two women discuss the classes both had taken, it became clear to me just how hard these couples worked to have their children. I began to wonder how the divorce rate for adoptive parents compared with that of biological parents. I did some research and found that it was lower. And the most plausible explanation was so obvious: When you work so hard to have a family you appreciate it so much more.
Sure my wife and I planned for our children and worked hard at the process of having our two daughters. We had a lot of discussions and made the obvious plans. We had fun and spent beautiful evenings together. We learned as we went. In my view, however, we didn’t work anywhere near as hard as my friends who first went through the physical, emotional, and financial struggles of infertility. Next, they had an "autopsy" performed on each of them and their marriage to determine if they would be acceptable parents. And then they had to wait on the unknown – a decision on whether they had made the grade and when a baby would be available. Except for the physical process of giving birth, my wife and I, on the other hand had to go through more to get a gym membership then we did our daughters.
The difference between adopting and divorcing parents, however, are even more stark. They’re both scrutinized to determine their fitness as parents, yes, but what’s different about them is that adopting parents are working together to give a precious innocent fractured child a whole and beautiful life. Divorcing parents on the other hand, generally speaking are working apart, taking a whole and beautiful life away from a precious innocent child and replacing it with a fractured one.
And couples who biologically have children and stay married? They don't have to go through a dissection of them and their marriage and at the very least; they’re giving their children a fighting chance for a happy, healthy future.
It’s hard going through the holidays in the process of becoming divorced, especially in the extremely contentious divorce I am in. I’ve been at my friend’s home a lot these past four weeks. I’ve had the time to help them when I don’t have my own family to tend to. It’s been painful watching them care for each other and be cared for by each other, the one in the hospital bed and the one not. When my wife was ill, I remember how difficult, but joyous and rewarding it was to care for her. I miss going to all ends of the earth for her. I miss being cared about, too. But I also appreciate my friends and their family adopting me during this time and letting me care for them.
Ultimately, it’s not about how our children get to us. Each route has different struggles and joys. Each give us the opportunity to appreciate the blessings our children bring to us and the best way we can demonstrate that is by treating our marriages as though they are the most important things in the world to our children. Because they are.