Adopting a baby? Tired of waiting? Wondering what’s next?
If you’re looking for inspiration, look no further than this year’s commencement speeches.
Commencement addresses are always a great source of uplifting messages. And this year’s speeches to the Class of 2014 were no exception.
Frozen director Jennifer Lee advised students “when you are free from self-doubt, you fail better. You accept criticism and listen.”
Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg warned them “not to put limits on yourself.”
And actor Ed Helm advised that “good sense and judgment are highly overrated.”
But students aren’t the only ones who can benefit from their words of wisdom. Adopting parents can also learn a thing or two from these and other motivational messages.
Here are a few of the commencement speeches that lifted my spirits and hopefully will lift yours, too.
Sandra Bullock at Easton Charter High School, New Orleans
“Nothing’s a failure, it’s just not supposed to work out that way because something better is supposed to come along….Go find your joy… That’s what you’re going to remember in the end. It’s not the worry, it’s not the what-ifs. It’s the joy that stays with you.”
The takeaway: The process of adopting a baby is filled with uncertainties. So many questions, so few answers. When we will become parents? How will we become parents? Will we ever become parents? There are lots of questions and doubts along the way. When things don’t go your way, it’s easy to get discouraged and see everything in terms of “success/failure.”
But according to Bullock, that’s not the right way to view life. As the actress and star of the Blind Side told students (in addition to her other big piece of advice, “don’t pick your nose in public”), there are no sure things in life. Situations won’t always go your way. But that’s okay. Because eventually other things, better things, will come along, and they will be the ones that stay with you — the joys, not the worries and what-ifs.
Charlie Day at Merrimack College, North Andover, Massachusetts
“It was the riskier road and..I could not have made a better decision. Creating the job as opposed to having it offered to me accelerated the process. Don’t wait for your break. Make your break. Make it happen for yourself.”
The takeaway: When you’re adopting a baby, it’s tempting to sit back and wait for things to happen. For your adoption profile to get written. For your networking efforts to take hold. For expectant parents to contact you about placing their baby with you. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. If you want things to happen, you have to make them happen. That was the convocation message by Charlie Day.
The star It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, isn’t known for being the wisest man in the room, but he did have some inspiring words about life and the future for the class of 2014. Given the choice between taking a job at a bank and moving to New York to pursue a career in acting. he told the story of how he took a chance and moved to New York. It was a risk, but one that has paid off in spades. And if you’re an adopting parent at the crossroads and wondering whether it’s time to roll the dice, it’s a good lesson for you, too.
Puff Daddy at Howard University, Washington
“No one’s gonna take you to the front of the line unless you push your way to the front of the line…Make a decision today that when you’re in the darkness, you’ll remember the power of you. You are your own light.”
The takeaway: As an adopting parent, you’re always making tough decisions — decisions that take you out of your comfort zone and into uncharted territory. It’s hard to do, but it’s the only way to succeed if you want to adopt a baby. As the music mogul Daddy told students, in his commencement address, there’s a lot of work to do and there’s only one person who can do it: you.
Sure, your adoption worker can help you with your home study. And your agency or attorney can help you with your networking and legal work. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to you. You’re the one who will determine whether you find a match and adopt a baby this year or three years from now. Believe in yourself, be proactive and create your own opportunities.
Jim Carrey at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa
“Now fear is going to be a player in life, but you get to decide how much…You can spend your whole life imagining ghosts, worrying about the pathway to the future, but all it will ever be is what’s happening here, the decisions in that we make in this moment, which are based in either love or fear. So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. What we really want seems impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect, so we never dare to ask the universe for it.”
The takeaway: Fear of the unknown is a big part of the open adoption process, especially when it comes time to reach out and meet your future child’s birth parents. Will you hit it off? What happens if they don’t like you? What if they change their minds about their adoption plans? Nobody said adopting a baby was easy. But constantly taking the easy way out to avoid getting hurt won’t get you very far, either.
As Jim Carrey pointed out in his commencement address, you need to take chances. To illustrate his point, Carrey shared a lesson about his father that could just as easily apply to adopting parents. “My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him, and so he made a conservative choice and got a safe job as an accountant.” Eventually, his father lost the job, and his family went through hard times. What did it teach Carrey? “You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.” If you’re hoping to adopt a baby, the message is clear. Listen to your heart and don’t be afraid to chase what you want.
In their commencement speeches to the Class of 2014, speakers told students that the best way to leave their mark on the world is to take risks and walk their own path.
If you’re hoping to a baby, the same message applies. To succeed, you need to overcome your fears, deal with your doubts and go down the path to parenthood filled with hope and confidence that eventually things will work out.
What inspirational words have helped you in your journey to adopt a baby? What tips do you have for adopting parents? Leave them here and don’t forget to check out these and other inspirational messages on our social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.