THE STRUGGLES AND BLESSINGS OF ADOPTION
Family is one of the most important parts of a person’s life. There are nuclear families, extended families, close families, and distant families. And then there are the members of our family who aren’t related to us by blood at all—close friends, parent’s friends, and the people we share life with on a regular basis.
Those friends have been adopted into our lives, grafted into our perspective of family.
For some of us, the nuclear family we grew up with or the family we’re growing for ourselves involves adoption.
For some, adoption has always been part of how they anticipated growing their family. For others, it comes about as an alternative to biological children.
I had the chance to ask Coletta Smith and a few members of our Adoption Group, Jessica Nutting and Alicia Osborne, about adoption and how that process can go.
There are a lot of legal hoops to jump through when a family is trying to adopt, and there are a few conversations families should have with each other when thinking about adoption.
“Just like any other life-altering decision, adoption should be pursued after research, serious prayer and maybe even after receiving godly wisdom from someone you trust who is strong in their faith,” Alicia said. “If you are married, both of you should be in agreement. But once you know that you know that you know you are supposed to adopt…GO FOR IT!”
Adoption is a beautiful image of the love God has for us. Over and over throughout scripture, we’re told that we are adopted sons and daughters of God (John 12:1, Galatians 4:4-7, Romans 8:14-17, Ephesians 1:5). If God has called you to adopt children into your family, take the encouragement that God will be with you in the process and in the welcoming of another person into your family.
However, given the intensity of the process, Alicia suggests some ways that the church can come alongside families as they both jump through the legal hoops and even after the child has been home for a few years.
“Families need support,” Alicia said. “They need prayer and a judgement free listener who won’t offer solutions because what works with some kids might not work with all kids, especially kids from hard places who have complex developmental trauma. They need connection with other families who look like them and have similar experiences as them—they need community. They also need practical support. For example, a dinner when things are hard, a qualified respite provider, or just a patient babysitter for the evening so they can have an evening out with their spouse.”
“Get others around you who either have run this marathon before or who are just great cheerleaders along the way,” Jessica added. “Make playlists of encouraging music. Let yourself dream. Let yourself cry. Give yourself rewards for each milestone you reach (classes completed, etc.). And invest in your current relationships.”
Lastly, Alicia pointed out that no two kids are the same or respond in the same way. What works for one may not work for another. Plus, there’s no way to know what kind of trauma the kid may or may not have experienced.
“Children who were adopted at birth can have significant trauma,” Alicia said. “And there are kids who were adopted as older children who are very resilient and well adapted. Don’t assume that an infant adoption equals a child with no loss or trauma.”
Whether you’re thinking about adopting, in the process of adopting, or have adopted and just want support, we’d love to connect with you. We have an Adoption Meet + Greet this coming weekend and we would love to connect with you!
ADOPTION MEET + GREET