I don’t know how anyone goes through the adoptive process – as adoptive parents OR birth parents – without God. I know that adoption is not limited to believers, but I honestly don’t know how those who don’t find their strength in God are able to do it. Adoption is hard. Really hard. Yes, the blessings do far outweigh the difficulties, and it really is worth it, but it is not for the faint of heart.
When we started five plus years ago (with a Christian agency that had a great reputation), I was excited and nervous…and scared. I had heard the horror stories of changed minds and children being ripped from adoptive parents’ arms months or years after the fact. But I also knew that there were red flags present in those situations, and that making sure we chose a good agency, one that made sure all the details were done right, and was a believing agency to boot, would protect us.
What I didn’t foresee at that time, and couldn’t articulate until much later, was that just having the Christian tag on the agency doesn’t make it the right agency for us. I was confident when we went through our first home study, with a wonderful case worker with whom we connected instantly, that we had chosen the right agency. A few months into our initial year, I began to have doubts. Our profile was not being presented often…in fact, perhaps 3-4 times over the course of a year. Our social worker was also the director of the agency, and as I had more interactions with her, I became more and more in doubt of her enthusiasm for our family. I began to feel we did not have an advocate, and I began to doubt our suitability to be adoptive parents. I wondered what was wrong with us. With me. What was making us a family that no one wanted?
In retrospect, I see now that it was not that no one wanted us, but it was that few birth parents saw us. The reasons given were that we didn’t fit the profile desired by the birth families. I was really, really discouraged. What’s more, I didn’t have the words (ironic as that is) to articulate that to my husband…not until we moved away.
I am so grateful that we had (have) friends who are vigilant prayer warriors. I know that there were many, many prayers spoken on our behalf, and I know that were it not for that, I would have felt completely alone, and completely marginalized by our agency. I also see now that God was present throughout that entire, discouraging year, and rather than barring us from having our hearts’ desire, he was working diligently on my heart.
After our cross-country move, it took me over a year to gear up and be ready to try again. We were starting again from scratch. This time, when we underwent our home study, my heart was (finally) where it should have been all along. I finally prayed, without reservation: “Lord, I will take and love whatever child you have chosen for me. Period.” My heart was not there before. True, our (Christian) agency didn’t care for us in the way I would have liked. The director didn’t have the enthusiasm for us (or in my opinion, for her job in general) that I thought she should. She did disappoint me desperately, and I came to believe that if she had lost her enthusiasm and joy for this job, perhaps it was no longer the job for her.
But, my heart wasn’t prepared in the way it should have been, and God used that year to show me that. As soon as I let go of my fears and doubts about WHO I could parent, God opened up the door that brought our beautiful son into our home.
We had decided to pursue adoption through foster care. We had not made any limitations with regard to race or ethnicity, we were flexible in what special needs we would consider, and we were open to more than one child, of any age up to our biological son’s age.
We got a call from our agency, requesting us…appealing to us…to consider joining the domestic adoption program. They had more birth moms than they had adoptive families to present. They desperately needed more adoptive families in the program. I saw God all over that. How could we say no? We couldn’t. and in that moment we set the wheels in motion that brought our son home to us.
If I wasn’t convinced in God’s providence before (I was), I have seen it firsthand now. God wants to give us the desires of our hearts, but He also wants us to trust Him completely, and trust that He loves us and has our very best interests at heart. I had to trust Him completely, and stop trying to engineer the outcome I wanted, and as soon as I did that, he gave me the best possible outcome, one that I could neither have engineered nor foreseen.
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.