Last Updated on April 7, 2018

I sat on my bed in a darkened bedroom crying my eyes out. I had once again been rejected by my young son we had adopted. I felt like we were continually pouring love and affection on him, only for him to stare blankly and stiffen every time we tried to hug him. He had been rejected and hurt too many times in his young life and the wounds were deep. I knew this. I was the adult and should be able to rise above this petty little issue, right? But in my hurt and frustration I named myself a failure. Shallow. Selfish.

A few days later, a fellow desperate adoptive mom called me in tears, as well. “I don’t even like my child! How am I supposed to love her? Maybe we never should have adopted her. Maybe she should be in a different home that can love her.” This mother was singing my song of desperation. And while I grieved with her, relief washed over me. I was not alone. And from there, the firm conviction that we needed to get together and share our doubts, frustrations, and fears with others was born.

Desperation Builds a Bridge

What brings you to tears of frustration, doubt, anger, guilt? The child with special needs? Raising a large family? Health issues? Weariness from parenting young children? You were not designed to shoulder these trials alone! God created us for community, to encourage each other. Maybe you have walked through a valley and are on the mountaintop now. Share your experience and wisdom with others!

Look for other moms with similar trials in church, at the playground, your child’s school, in the grocery store. Be willing to be a bit vulnerable and share your pain. And bold enough to share your phone number. Ask for wisdom and help from an older mother.

Help Others

This weekend we held our first foster/adoptive parent retreat for our county. We scheduled child development professionals to address the group about some of the challenges our families face, balanced by plenty of free time for the parents to visit with others and also to rest.

Frustrations and challenges were shared. But we did not walk away with our burdens. We created a community. One family summarized their weekend: “We found our people.” We left with phone numbers, plans to meet again, and hope.

After returning home from the retreat, I was tucking my little boy in to bed. The same little boy who did not know how to return love and affection two years ago. We had spent the weekend apart and were reconnecting. As he snuggled in, he reached up and wrapped his arms around my neck and murmured, “I’m glad to be home.” Me, too, buddy.


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  1. Thanks for sharing this today. Often I feel very alone in my struggles with health, marriage, working outside the home and struggling with raising boys to know and love Jesus. Most ladies in my church are stay at home moms who homeschool and feel very adamant that is the only right way to raise children. Its very isolating. And that can’t possibly be the answer for those who can’t afford or don’t feel called to stay at home. The answer to “why is my child being disrespectful or selfish?” can’t always be “because he’s in public school.” Maybe I need to be the one to lead a community. Maybe there are more moms out there who need encouragement. Praying.

    1. I will join you in praying for wisdom and courage to reach out, Paige! I’m in the same boat with our schooling choice!

  2. LOVE this post Julia. Your expressed needs are the same reason I started a prayer group for other moms of adopted kids. I too felt alone but meeting monthly w other moms was more like a therapy session than a prayer group. we did pray but God fed us encouragement for our weary souls in the solidarity of our common issues and needs. the same is true for teens and other seasons of life. we need community!

  3. Karen Bridgman says:

    My husband and I adopted a boy from China when we were in our early 50’s. My husband passed away from a heart attack 4 years ago when our son was 3. Now I am a single mom of 60 with a 7 year old boy. It’s been so difficult and haven’t really had any support from family or friends. They all think that because I don’t have to work full time that I should be able to do this all by myself. I need support too!

    1. I am so sorry for your loss, Karen, but admire the step of faith you and your husband took. You do need support and I’m going to pray that God will help guide you to the support you need! We also adopted a son from China, now 11 years old.