By Beth Patterson
“An invisible red thread connects those destined to meet, regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but never break.” ~Ancient Chinese Proverb
It was the year 2000, and as an ‘older’ mother, I had already had given birth to two children at the ages of 30 and 40. Not exactly the most prime ages for having children, but that was a part of my life that I didn’t plan. Even after a life threatening second pregnancy, I still had a deep longing to have another child.
At the time, I didn’t feel it was right to domestically adopt a baby that other first time parents so eagerly sought. After all, I already had two wonderful, healthy children. I couldn’t go through another pregnancy safely, so my longing went sorely unresolved until Thanksgiving Day in November, 2000.
That holiday morning, I saw my sweet little nephews and niece while visiting my mother’s house in Indiana and almost immediately began having a severe allergic reaction to the cat dander on their winter clothing. (The cats were miles away!) The reaction caused my eyes to swell and almost bleed, and my upper lip became very swollen. All in all, painful and certainly not very attractive!
During Thanksgiving Day dinner that afternoon at my Grandmother’s house, my symptoms worsened and I finally got up from the table and headed for the nearest open Minor Emergency Center for some relief. Alone and waiting for the doctor in the tiny medical examining room, I happened to pick up a Good Housekeeping magazine that featured a story about the plight of baby girls in China.
A Long Awaited Surprise Answer
The article described China’s long standing ‘one child policy’ and the fact that boys were favored because it was their duty to take care of the parents in their old age. Girls were often aborted, killed upon birth or abandoned on the streets as the mother hoped to try again to give birth to a boy.
As a result of this policy, there were thousands of baby girls in orphanages that needed homes. At the very moment of reading this article, I knew, without a single doubt in my heart that this was my answer – the answer to my longing for another child. A baby girl in China! I had no doubts, no fears and knew that nothing could keep me from adopting my daughter from China. All of this truly happened in an instant.
As I drove out the parking lot, I figured my next step was to discuss it with my husband. I went back to my Grandmother’s house where the big Thanksgiving gathering was still in full swing and told him the great news! He laughed and teasingly told me I had too much of an oxygen deficit during the last pregnancy and that I couldn’t possibly be serious!
It didn’t matter what was said, however – my quest began. Immediately upon my return home after the Thanksgiving trip, I contacted two high school friends who happened to run a reputable adoption agency and I started the paperwork even though my husband was definitely not on board at the time.
By Christmastime, my husband saw that I was still very serious and lovingly wrapped the adoption application papers, which required his signature, in a box with a red bow and gave them to me as my Christmas (and lifetime) gift.
Never, Ever, Ever Give Up!
I would like to say that all went perfectly smooth in the almost two year process, but it didn’t. I encountered many obstacles along the way including very negative opinions about the adoption from two very close, influential family members. I’m sure that they were fearful of the outcome for all of us and they didn’t (and couldn’t) possess the faith that I was given in that moment in the Emergency Center waiting room. It was hard to ignore their advice, however, and especially hard for my husband to do so, but we did.
At another point, the adoption paperwork lay untouched for weeks on the desk of someone in the U.S. State Department that had been called into duty for the 9/11 crisis. We literally came within hours of the deadline of all of our many month’s worth of paperwork expiring! Thanks to the help of our congressman in Virginia, the paperwork was completed and moved off the desk into action or we would not have gotten the baby that I knew was meant for us. We made the overnight delivery deadline containing the final paperwork to the agency literally within minutes.
The last of many obstacles (including the outbreak of SARS in Asia right before we were due to leave) came the morning of our flight to China. I was so excited and had prepared for this moment for almost two years! As we were on our way to the airport, it was announced over the radio that the United States had declared WAR with Iraq. I wasn’t nervous about flying around the world to get Emma in the face of the declaration of war, but I was afraid they would cancel our flight! The media was buzzing about airline safety in light of the war, but fortunately the flight went on as planned.
No matter how hard the paperwork was to complete (it’s been called one of the most bureaucratic processes in the world), no matter the mounting expenses the adoption incurred, no matter the negative opinions expressed by family, no matter that SARS was a severe threat, and our country was at war, I persevered.
There are few things that we truly “KNOW” are meant to be in life. I knew this adoption was one of my life’s moments of Truth. My adoption of our beautiful little Chinese girl was successful, first and foremost, because I possessed the will to never give up.
As Calvin Coolidge is famous for saying…. “Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."
Murphy’s Law is No Competition for Perseverance
Perseverance is about the only thing that can keep us moving forward in the face of self-doubt, fear and obstacles.
Many people often state that “knowledge is power”, but knowledge, in and of itself, is not the most important power we need to possess. Perseverance is the trait that we need to possess above all others.
Unfortunately, our society today has the attitude that everything should be instantly gratified. Instant gratification comes in all forms from the fast food we eat to how we think our careers should work, and is endemic in how we view the world today through instant social media.
Perseverance is not popular among the masses, but it IS something we can all possess with single decision. While high levels of education, beauty, popularity and forms of genius are not something that everyone can or does have….perseverance is there for the taking by anyone and everyone.
In addition to perseverance being something we all can possess, obstacles are shared by all of us as well. Murphy does not pick and choose who will reap his law. Everyone experiences Murphy’s Law often in their lives. The difference in how we react to these obstacles lies in our commitment to persevere.
Obstacles Lead to Victory
Gary Ryan Blair says that we should “be thankful for our obstacles for they are our practice ground. Each new victory prepares us for each future victory.”
Perseverance is what keeps hopes alive whether we are going through a personal or professional struggle. In order to be something better than we are, we must keep moving forward with patience and progress as the core to reaching each success.
We must confront all obstacles.
We must understand that the occasional setback is the price that must be paid on the path toward success.
We must rise each time we fall.
We must use each obstacle and setback to demonstrate perseverance.
We must embrace the fact that perseverance is often the only option to a successful outcome and happiness.
We must do whatever it takes, even if it means flying in the face of war, to achieve our goals.
About the Author:
Beth Patterson is the CEO and founder of Women’s Spotlight.com.
WomensSpotlight.com was founded with the desire to serve women in mid-life with their personal goals and career with inspiration, articles and tools needed in order to achieve their dreams.
To read more about motivation, inspiration and beauty for women, visit Beth at http://www.womensspotlight.com/beauty101. Be sure to pick up your FREE beauty guide “101 Best Beauty Tips to Look Younger” when you visit!