WATCH: LJ Moreno And Jimmy Alapag Inspire Other Parents-To-Be With Their Emotional Adoption Journey
November is National Adoption Awareness Month, so we're celebrating all the happy families that have been made whole by adoption. We look to LJ Moreno and Jimmy Alapag, a couple whose emotional adoption journey has inspired other parents, as examples of this family fairy tale come to life
The decision to adopt can have the most profound effects on a parent's life; the process can teach them patience, strengthen their faith, deepen a relationship between them and their partner, and of course, make their home whole by adding a much-loved family member to the picture.
Yet, however rosy the outcome might be, adoption can sometimes pose a unique set of challenges, some more difficult than the rest.
For parents LJ Moreno and Jimmy Alapag, their adoption journey allowed them to experience both sides of the coin; after many months of recovering from disappointment, they eventually came to discover that something better had simply been waiting for them all this time.
The couple shared their story in full detail on their YouTube channel with the hopes of encouraging others wishing to adopt and educating them about what to be prepared for.
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It took a while for God to bless us with children and it wasn't an easy journey. There was alot of frustration and alot of waiting, but he showed that he keeps true to his promises. We've never kept our adoption story a secret but this is the first time both @jalapag3 and I will share a detailed story of how we formed our family. We decided to do this video to celebrate National Adoption Day and National Adoption Month. We want people to know that adoption is something to be proud of and a family is not only formed biologically, but more importantly through LOVE. We also want to give Glory to God because if it weren't for him we would not have our 3 beautiful kids. TUNE IN to our channel at 3pm today. LINK in my BIO. #alapagfamilyfun #nationaladoptionmonth #nationaladoptionday #thisisus #philippineadoption #godisgood #ianmaximus #calenasher #keonaskye #adoptionrocks
Beginning with the story of their first child up to their third, here's what LJ and Jimmy can teach parents with plans to adopt:
Discuss it with your partner
While it's true that LJ and Jimmy have never felt regret or second-guessed their decision to adopt their first son, they didn't initially agree on how to handle the situation.
The differences in how they wanted to go about it (LJ wanted to formally consider adopting Ian, whereas Jimmy first wanted to continue trying to conceive) might have caused some friction in the beginning, but it was eventually ironed out over time and eventually disappeared the moment Jimmy met Ian.
The lesson to learn here is that before adoption is even considered, you and your partner must reach an agreement on every aspect of the process; take the time to sit down and thoroughly discuss why you want to adopt, consider their reasons for wanting to delay the option, keep an open mind, and perhaps even set a timeline for when a decision should be made.
It's critical that you and your partner see eye to eye on such a major decision that will forever impact your lives as future parents and as a married couple.
Give yourself a second chance
As they were still just getting to know Ian, Jimmy knew LJ had already grown a strong attachment to him. Knowing that he too would create a connection with him—a relationship that could potentially re-open wounds from their trauma from their first experience with adoption—Jimmy avoided seeing Ian as often, and in the beginning, refused to see him at all.
It wasn't because he didn't love Ian or care for him; Jimmy was just fearful about going through the same disappointment and frustration and hurt all over again. Without a doubt, if he had let this fear take over him, Ian might have never been welcomed into their family and could potentially be living a totally different life today.
There are many ways that the adoption process might not turn out the way future parents want it to; biological parents giving up their children for adoption might change their minds, you might not be a good match for a child, or other unforeseen circumstances might get in the way. It's a risk moms and dads in this situation must accept.
However, if the adoption process falls through for any reasons in your first try, try again. It can certainly be discouraging, but interpreting the situation as simply fate's way of leading you to the best child for your family will help; it certainly did for Jimmy and LJ who, with faith and patience, succeeded at adopting Ian in their second attempt.
For those with friends or family trying to have children, practice sensitivity
LJ explained this best when she recalled how difficult it was to answer questions from loved ones about why she and Jimmy still didn't have children after almost four years of trying to conceive.
She advises those with friends and family trying to conceive (or adopt) to be mindful of their words. The intention to offend or interrogate might not be there, but understand that this is a sensitive time in others' lives and the whole picture may not be known to you. They may be going through some things that they wish to keep private or have issues to resolve between them before conceiving or adopting, and constant questioning them about the absence of children in their lives might not be the most helpful or supportive thing to do.
Instead, wait for the couple to bring it up themselves as that shows an openness about the topic. If they don't initiate conversation about it, it's best to allow them to raise it at their own time, in their own terms.
Learn to filter opinions about adoption
Others will applaud moms and dads for choosing to adopt, but there will always be a handful who will question the decision.
In LJ and Jimmy's case, they were once told how it will just feel "different" when they finally have biological children, insinuating that Ian will gradually fall behind his siblings Keona and Calen in terms of the love and intimacy they'll share with their parents growing up.
LJ was insistent on responding with a firm "no." She and Jimmy had full confidence in their decision in adopting Ian, and no one could convince them otherwise. Jimmy likewise embraced his role as a father to Ian, and when their two other children came along, there wasn't less love to give to Ian, but more collective love in the Moreno-Alapag household!
This is the underlying takeaway from LJ and Jimmy's adoption journey.
For years, they waited for a child to come into their lives. It no longer mattered if the child was born to them biologically, or matched with them in an adoption process. They were ready to grow their family for years before the blessing finally arrived, and at one point, had already even prepared the nursery and their hearts and minds for the arrival of a baby that ended up to be not meant for them.
A couple of more years passed before Ian entered their lives and officially became their son, and a few days after they brought Ian home, LJ found out that she was pregnant with a daughter.
She and Jimmy still tear up at the memory of those life-changing events because of how they lived the adage "good things come to those who wait." They're living proof of what having patience and faith can give to you.
To learn more about LJ and Jimmy's full story of their adoption process and how they grew to become a happy family of five, watch the video below!
Photos from @lollicakechic and Alapag Family Fun on YouTube