Adoption: Pray and Prepare
“Hi! Are you Megan? Everyone has told me I need to talk to you! My husband and I are in the process of adopting from [overseas], and I would just love to ask you some questions and hear about your experience!”
I did not recognize this woman, but apparently we had some common acquaintances. She was rushing across the parking lot, following me out the door of the church where I had just dropped my children off at Vacation Bible School. Enthusiasm bubbled out of her, and she appeared well-rested and well-adjusted.
I, on the other hand, was not well-rested and possibly not well-adjusted, and had just one thing I really wanted to say to her at that moment: Don’t do it!
I know. That’s not a very encouraging admission. And fortunately I held my tongue long enough to smile and offer a more gracious greeting.
That morning had been a difficult one with our internationally-adopted daughter. Truth be told, pretty much every morning was difficult. And every afternoon. And every night. We were way beyond any illusion that adoption stories are all fairy tales. Our daughter was five years old when we brought her home, and five years is a lot of history. In our case, it was a largely unknown history. There is very little she has ever been able to tell us about her pre-adoption days. It is as if her life began at adoption.
Fast forward … It has now been eight years since our day in an overseas adoption court. Our daughter has made tremendous strides, and so have we. Here she is playing football in the backyard, feeding the dogs, learning to write essays, and fishing with the neighbor. She is going to the church youth group and learning to interact with all different kinds of people. She loves to read the Bible and gave a Bible booklet to the exterminator last time he was at our house.
There is no way to explain our daughter’s adoption except that God sent us to get her. I had to hang on to that truth during our most difficult days. He is the one who sets the lonely in families (see Psalm 68:5-6). He gives us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). He is worthy of our hope (Psalm 33:20-22, Psalm 34:4-6, 17-18, and more).
If you are considering adoption, foster care, or other involvement in caring for children without families, there are two main things I encourage you to do.
- Pray. This goes before, during, after, and all around. Ask God to lead you, to give you wisdom, to bring the child or children He has for you, and to enable you all to give and receive love well. He will answer (1 John 5:13-15).
- Prepare. Take advantage of training offered by your social worker or agency. Talk to other parents to see what they experienced and what you might expect. Look for resources with both practical helps and Biblical perspective on adoption. Learn as much as you can about your new child’s background. The paperwork is the easy part; be prepared for the parenting.
Adoption stories are all different. Some will go smoothly, and others will have bumps and potholes in the road. Some might have giant sinkholes. But they can all be stories of God at work.
And the mom in the parking lot? We became friends, and some months later, her new daughter came home, truly wanted and truly loved.