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When You Don’t Get What You Want Something Better May Be Coming

“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” ~Dalai Lama

While every adoption story is different, they all start with a loss. Our loss turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to us.

I’ve had two migraines in my life. Both were when I was battling infertility and in a war with my body. My brain had had enough apparently.

The first migraine was on my way to work one day (different story), and the second was before a dinner party. My friend was inviting her close friends over to make an announcement. I knew what the announcement was.

She was going to tell us she was pregnant. I was as happy for her as an infertile friend can be, which is not very.

My migraine saved me that night. I didn’t have to go and pretend. Instead, I was alone in a dark room crying, which is where I would have ended up anyway. Now I know I was grieving the loss of my non-existent biological child.

In what turned out to be an oddly not-difficult decision to adopt, my husband and I were on the way to the adoption agency for the first informational meeting when we had the biggest fight we had ever had. Uncharacteristically, I was so emotional I told him to turn the car around. I knew this was not the time to begin our adoption journey.

About a month later we tried again. We were in the car, having just merged onto the highway on the way to the adoption agency, when we were sandwiched between two other cars in a three-way wreck. We were fine, but missed the meeting.

Our third try turned out to be a charm as we showed up at the agency relatively emotionally stable and in one piece.

Those who have adopted can confirm that timing is everything, especially in foreign adoptions when often the two files on the top of the pile get matched and a family is formed.

Was something cosmic happening so that we would show up at the right time to receive the right baby?

Once the adoption was underway and we were awaiting our sweet baby to be approved for release to us, I would talk to her. We even had a song, Coldplay’s “Yellow.”

I would sing, “Look at the stars; look how they shine for you,” because I thought we could see the same stars. I felt closer to her, knowing we were thousands of miles apart, but could see the same sky.

“You were all yellllllooo,” I would sing alone in my car, again and again.

I don’t know what it is like to give birth, but I cannot imagine it is any more terrifying or exciting than meeting your adopted child for the first time. We, along with the families we were traveling with, had taken over a hotel floor when the babies started arriving from the orphanage.

“Swenson” we heard our interpreter yell as he held out a baby, our baby. I don’t remember stumbling forward, but my husband has it on video. When I watch it I see myself holding our daughter and instinctively cupping her head and holding her to me.

She was dressed in head to toe yellow. Shirt, shorts, even yellow jelly sandals. This. was. my. daughter.

She was all yellllllooo.

I did not get what I wanted. I wanted to have a dinner party and announce that I was pregnant. I wanted to carry a child in my belly. I wanted to discover how the baby looked like me and how it looked like my husband.

I didn’t have a dinner party. I didn’t carry her in my own belly. She doesn’t look a damn thing like us.

But what I got? What I got was even better. I got a child that was meant to be ours.

This baby was so meant to be ours that we couldn’t make it to the adoption agency until the third try because it wasn’t time yet. This baby was so meant to be ours she was wearing head-to-toe yellow when we met after I’d been singing “Yellow” to her for months.

So yes, sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.

I daresay when you don’t get what you want it is because there is something better on its way to you.

Photo by egor.gribanov

Avatar of Becky Swenson

About Becky Swenson

Becky Swenson, M.A., is a counselor, coach, and writer.  She teaches how to live in peace, on purpose, and with passion at www.honestlybecky.com.

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  • Mahesh Sahu

    Thanks swenson for this positive emotionally charged story. When i was reading, i was crying with posivie emotions.

    Your massage also tells the importance of gratefulness. In otherwords, we can say that we can be grateful to universe or god for what we have like we are healthy, we have time of today to live with our choice, we are alive on earth, etc.
    And one more thing, the picture of lady is really beautiful and eligant.

  • Kadque

    This is very timely for me. I just received an email stating I didn’t qualify for the master’s degree program I applied for. It still breaks my heart knowing I didn’t really prepare any plan B if ever I don’t get admitted. Nothing concrete yet, to be specific. At this moment, my mind is in a haze. I’m feeling shame, regret, sadness, confusion, bitterness, envy; these negatives all at once. It doesn’t help that I’m still on the process of getting over a pathetic break up.

    I want to be positive so as soon as it hit me that I got declined, I looked for articles that would hopefully make me feel good and I stumbled upon this. Yours is a very inspiring story and I want my system to have it fully digested already. As of now, I’m still grieving over a loss of opportunity. It made me feel like I’m having a train of wrong decisions again and it’s making me itch for another ‘opportunity’ to grab as soon as possible. I just want to get over and move forward with my life. If it involves having a change of environment, say, living outside the country, then so be it.

  • Koren

    An incredibly powerful post, Becky. I’m nowhere near ready to contemplate children and yet your story resonated so strongly with me. An incredibly universal message. Thanks for having the courage to share such a personal story here.

  • http://www.selfication.com/ Patrik Edblad

    Wow, this is such an inspiring and honest story with a great message. This is the type of article I love to read. Thanks for your courage, Becky!

  • Ronda

    Beautiful, beautiful story. And timely for me. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • http://www.lifeskillstoolkits.com/ Jehangir Mehentee

    Thanks for sharing, Becky. Your blog’s title says it all!

  • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Budget & the Beach

    Such a beautiful story!

  • Ashley

    What a moving story! I am in tears.

  • Jaem

    thank you. What a beautiful story. I am in a situation now where I try hard to find a job. Nothing has yet go through. So I have begun to be more and more anxious. this article made my day. this made me cry.

  • lucky

    I love this!!

  • Martha_Brettschneider

    Coolest…adoption…story…ever! When you realize that everything in life happens for a reason, the journey becomes so much more fun, doesn’t it? I’ve turned this into a game with my kids — I challenge them to give me seemingly “bad” scenarios, and I come back with something good that’s come out it. Enjoy that little girl!

  • Andrew Bee

    ;-; this made me feel

  • http://www.facebook.com/shauntay.larkins Shauntay Vichelle Larkins

    WOW. I loved this SO much. Thank you!

  • lv2terp

    SO inspiring!!!!!! This gave me goosebumps, a swelled heart, and smile on my face! Congratulations, and thank you for sharing your story!!! I love the magic of the Universe! So awesome that she was in all yellow, such a beautiful moment/experience!!!! :)

  • sashabla

    Beautiful story and I agree – being the mother of an adopted child – we all get the children we are meant to have! We were going to name our daughter Sofia and that was the name of the child they had selected for us (the agency didn’t know this)! An amazing miracle to find each other thousands of miles away. The stars have to be aligned, of this I am certain. Enjoy your journey together!

  • that.girl.next.door

    As one member of a couple experiencing infertility (almost 3 years now) I think it’s great you decided to adopt however Id like to point out to other readers, adoption is no easy accomplishment, it is at the least, extremely costly in Australia. And one last thing – blokes find infertility incredily depressing to! A lot of the time so much emphasis is put on a woman’s sense of loss and their make counterparts become merely a silent partner.

  • http://twitter.com/angelalamturpin Angela Lam Turpin

    What a wonderful story! The magic of the universe is always with us even when we refuse to believe it. Thank you for sharing how the universe stepped in your way so you could get your daughter.

  • Guest

    nice -but doesn’nt happen to all

  • friend forever

    Becky!!!

    It ws soooo damn wonderful and you made me fall in love with ‘Yellow’ :) God bless u and your family forever and now. I loved your story. All the best on this wonderful journey :D Peace and love your way <3

  • lanlone

    Thank you.. You made me believe once again in the sentence “it’s meant to be”

  • http://twitter.com/susangregg Susan Gregg

    What a wonderful gift and story. I have always found that when I get out of the way what shows up in my life is so much better than what I wanted. Letting go and allowing the gifts of the universe into my life is one of the keys to my happiness and joy.

    Thanks for sharing your gift. The world would be a far better place if more people let go and as I call it “trust the process.”

  • http://simpleworksorganzing.com/ Simple Works Organizing

    Great article Becky! My aunt went through a similar situation. She got married, but found out she was infertile. Through hard work and with a lot of patience she eventually became a wonderful elementary school teacher. While she did think a long time about adopting, she never did. Today, she is able to watch a couple dozen children learn and grow in her classroom each year.

    I love the message: The things you want may not come when you want them to and the things you didn’t know you wanted will come when least expected.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sandrao.xx Sandra Osorio

    I can’t certainly say what that better thing that was coming is?
    My life changed from one day to the next…I still don’t know if it was for something better. I just know I’m living what I have to live whether I like it or not…I also learnt to be grateful for whatever thing I have. This is a positive post, but I don’t know if not getting what you truly want makes you happy…At the end of the day, I guess we all have to be happy with what we can get.

  • Sara

    I do believe that something cosmic was taking place because the universe itself knows what we want but it also knows how we will appreciate it. Sometimes, we do have to take another alternative that we were avoiding because we don’t want to face disappointment, however, with times like this, it does teach us all about patience and understanding that everything does happen for a reason. The fact that you had this colour of yellow seems interesting to me because it links in with the chakra manipura ( solar plexus) which is responsible for transformation, self esteem and the place of our belly laughter. I think this experience will help you believe in yourself more and help you connect with something new, teaching you a lot on life that you can share with your child. All the best, and congratulations, namaste. :)

  • Sarah Clark

    Thank you for this.

  • omnis-unus

    Thank you for this wonderful article. I am currently in the process of finding a new job and having applied to over 30, have still not had any offers. Your story gives me all the hope I need (because getting a job is, of course, no where near as life changing as having a baby).

  • Becky Swenson

    Oh my goodness everybody! Thank you for the generous support. I had been replying to comments over on facebook, but I feel the love over here! What’s hard about not getting what you want is the patience required to allow something better to find its way to you. I am, by nature, not a patient person, so it is a practice for me. Keep breathing and believe. Love to you all. Becky

  • RockItPixie

    This post just made me choke up. I’m going through a completely different situation and trying my hardest to just let go, trying to understand that timing is everything. The love of my life and I split so that we could find ourselves… and both of us want to eventually come back together. I don’t know how long it’s going to take… and that has been a very hard pill to swallow. I’m not patient. I seem to think MY timing is perfect, though I KNOW that it isn’t. I know that we will be completely different people when we reunite… more than likely, much better for each other than we originally we were. That whole timing thing… well, this post just kinda made me understand it a little better. Thank you so much for writing it.

  • http://www.yepi10.net/ yepi 10

    thank for share! articles really very great

  • Internalbasis

    This is a beautiful post and proves that a lot of times we are chasing something in an insane way what is indeed not our path. It doesnt matter why.And the universe can just send something better into our ways if we finally let go our selfish desires and choose love. Thank you for the post and wishing you happiness with your baby! :-)

  • Tiffany

    This is such an heartfelt post, very inspiring. I am glad that things worked out for you. Life often presents several challenges but somehow things do work out in the end. I recently went through a difficult phase where I often felt down-trodden and I always listened to Boomerang by Nicole Scherzinger which lifted my spirits. When things did work out it was even better than I could have envisioned. So the waiting period was definitely worth it, I found myself learning a great deal and going through self improvement.

  • Creations are babies too

    I am reading this while an infertile woman who decided to give birth to films instead, and had her film torn from her and destroyed by four wounded, horrifying, drug-abusing individuals. What does it mean from the Universe when first, you never got your baby, and it died inside you of a physical miscarriage, and then when you decided to give birth to artistic creations instead, those got destroyed, too?

    Feeling a bit towards Becky the way she felt towards that proud announcement mom at the dinner party :

    I guess some of us are meant to have nothing at all

  • Angela R

    Doesnt happen with all.
    The guy whom I loved and gave my 100% to since the last 6 n half years, has a cycle of making me feel bad. every two years he has to do something for me to feel why am I in this relationship! and then he says sorry and tries to come back.with sex.
    so the 2nd time we had a “break up” he didnt try much as he told me how he wouldnt try if “i” did this again(breaking up). and i met a guy.online. 5 years younger to me. undertstanding,loving,caring, actually helped me to get over the long ill health. and now the ex comes back and tries to get me back. results? i am a juggler too many times betwen the two. i dont want my ex to cry and be sad. and i only have feelings for the guy i met.
    juggling, not being able to stand on my own decision for long, and loss of self respect and strength; played a vital role in I being numb to the total idea of love. ive stopped feeling anything apart from depression as to what i want, whom i want to be with.
    the younger guy tells me that though he misses me, it’d be good if i dont talk with him.
    and now i am left with nothing. i have a fear that the kind of a person i am,nobody will be able to “tolerate” or be with me for long.considering how childlike i am, how angry i get at times, and how moody i am.
    there is nothing left apart from more and more confusion and depression.

  • Angela R

    Doesnt happen with all.
    The guy whom I loved and gave my 100% to since the last 6 n half years, has a cycle of making me feel bad. every two years he has to do something for me to feel why am I in this relationship! and then he says sorry and tries to come back.with sex.
    so the 2nd time we had a “break up” he didnt try much as he told me how he wouldnt try if “i” did this again(breaking up). and i met a guy.online. 5 years younger to me. undertstanding,loving,caring, actually helped me to get over the long ill health. and now the ex comes back and tries to get me back. results? i am a juggler too many times betwen the two. i dont want my ex to cry and be sad. and i only have feelings for the guy i met.
    juggling, not being able to stand on my own decision for long, and loss of self respect and strength; played a vital role in I being numb to the total idea of love. ive stopped feeling anything apart from depression as to what i want, whom i want to be with.
    the younger guy tells me that though he misses me, it’d be good if i dont talk with him.
    and now i am left with nothing. i have a fear that the kind of a person i am,nobody will be able to “tolerate” or be with me for long.considering how childlike i am, how angry i get at times, and how moody i am.
    there is nothing left apart from more and more confusion and depression.

  • fauxnom

    I’m very sorry to hear that. I imagine this must be devastating. You mentioned the film was destroyed, but I don’t think that a single film was all you had to give. Personally I have a hunch you’ll end up both being a mother and developing your creative side. Hope you don’t take it the wrong way, I don’t usually have those hunches but felt I needed to share that.

  • Kathy www.yinyangmother.com

    Hi again Becky – loved reading your adoption story. I agree that adoption starts with loss, but it is balanced out by gain. We are so lucky to have two beautiful kids from China – long years of infertility, long adoption journey, all worth it, all meant to be.