We recently experienced a series of heavy rainfalls that resulted in devastating floods, particularly in areas around the Red River. Heavy rains ensued, flash flood warnings were issued, and the news was flooded with cautions and warnings against driving in puddles of water or flooded streets. Neighborhoods and numerous apartment complexes, including mine, were put on evacuation notice because the river was expected to crest.
The effects of the rain and subsequent flooding were devastating for many folks. Many families’ homes were literally completely flooded, resulting in a total loss. Some folks lost their lives to the rising water levels and swift currents. Houses and infrastructure were swept away in the current’s unrelenting grasp. Firm in their foundation one moment, gone the next.
Communities wept together and came together to assist those who were affected. Various religious groups, along with the National Guard, came together to help “sand bags,” which were used along the river’s bank and in some high-risk communities to prevent the flood’s further invasion. Shelters were opened to provide sanctuary for those who were displaced. Hundreds of volunteers helped to feed and care for them. Dozens of volunteers helped families remove damaged furniture from mold-infested homes.
The volunteers cheerfully devoted their time and effort to provide relief to those families. They learned to be more grateful for their own families and the charitable spirit which moves us to help others. They experienced and witnessed that miraculous transition where groups with varying backgrounds unite to perform a task that far outweighs the disparate nature of differing beliefs. Unity and common ground were established among those who served together, and love for our neighbors and community was increased. Individuals and families who were served felt enormous gratitude for the help they received, and their burdens were lightened by the outpour of love and support that strangers freely gave them.
This story can be likened to an adoption journey for birth parents.
When I learned I was pregnant, I was devastated, among other things. I experienced many troubling and powerful emotions. At first, I was going to have an abortion, but after talking to AAOL, I decided that adoption was the best option for my son. The moment I decided to place my son for adoption, my life was flooded with ways to prepare me for placement. I detached myself from my son and did not bond with him the same way I did his brothers. (I love him just as much as his brothers now, but at first, it really was different.) I began to experience loss the moment I decided to place.
Thankfully, the wonderful staff at AAOL helped me through that period. They understood my feelings, acknowledged them, and supported me throughout the entire process. I was not alone during that storm. They were there for me to help wade me through the troubling waters, to encourage me to remain firm in my decision, to not be swept away by fear or hopelessness, and to help me see the sun once again.
Rebuilding my life after placement was an even more difficult journey than I thought. I knew that that particular storm, that trial, would be difficult, though I had no idea that the loss would be so devastating. Yet, here I am, two and half years later, standing on a firmer foundation than before. Rebuilding my life meant getting rid of the molds and debris in my life. It meant picking up some pieces and acquiring new ones. It meant constructing one aspect of my life before working on the next. Now, I can confidently say that my life is full. I stand firm in my beliefs and in whom I have become; I do not ignore the past, but I remember it as a passing storm that helped me become who I am today. I think of the people who helped me, and I am grateful for their love and kindness. Despite the tears I shed occasionally, I see beauty and blessings all around me.