When we were adopting our son, we had three baby showers prior to his arrival. After we already had them scheduled, I discovered that our adoption agency discouraged baby showers before the birthmom terminated her rights. They felt that, if the match fell through, having to return the baby shower gifts would be too painful for us.
It was a tough decision to make, but in the end, my husband and I felt like we should keep the baby showers as scheduled. We justified that even if the match fell through, we could use the gifts for any baby we received. We felt like the baby showers were God’s provision and evidence of His grace for us.
However, after speaking with our adoption agency, I became embarrassed that we were having baby showers before the baby’s arrival. I chided myself for not knowing. I wished I had known another couple who had adopted. I would have asked them questions and gleaned wisdom from them.
If you are somewhere in the adoption process, I want to come alongside you this week and share some wisdom I picked up along the way. Last week, I shared three things I wish I had known before we adopted. This week I want to share three more things that I learned throughout our adoption journey.
Have an “Even-If” Faith
I spent most of our adoptions consumed with fear that they would fall through. The fear turned into anxiety that affected my daily life.
During our first adoption, I told my spiritual mentor about my fear that the birthmom would change her mind. My mentor encouraged me to have an “even-if” faith like that of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
When these men were about to get thrown into the fiery furnace, they said,
“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s (King Nebuchadnezzar’s) hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:17, 18.
She encouraged me that, even if my son’s birthmom changed her mind, God’s character remained the same. He was still good and His plan was perfect. I had to fix my gaze on His character and not on the outcome of ever-changing circumstances. I decided I would still praise Him even if the adoption fell through.
Adoption is only a catalyst for your healing
When we were adopting, my focus and attention went toward the anticipated adoption. Though adoption became a nice diversion from my previous struggle with infertility, it did not provide complete healing.
A lot of people believe that once you adopt, you will no longer desire a biological child, and/or you will later have a biological child of your own. One or both beliefs can be true for some, but in our case, they were both false.
As I mentioned in my previous post: Adoption: Redemption from shame, I still struggled with the shame of infertility after we brought my son home. For years, I felt bad that I still longed for a biological child even after we had adopted both of our children.
The reality is, that infertility often leaves a wound, and if unattended, the wound can become infected and cause problems down the road. Looking back, I wish I took the time to speak with a counselor or a trusted friend about the sting of infertility before we brought our son home. Our son’s adoption was a catalyst for my healing, but it was not the thing that gave complete healing. That came from my heavenly Father over time and through His word.
I encourage you to be honest with yourself and God regarding your pain and longing. Give Him your pain, your disappointment, and your sorrow. Ask Him to heal your heart along the way. Healing from infertility takes time, but I know that God can give you eyes to see the beauty of His plan.
Don’t look to the baby you are adopting to heal your heart, look to God alone. Let Him love you, encourage you, and mend your broken heart.
The roller coaster of adoption will come to an end
This seems obvious, but I remember wondering when the lengthy process of adoption would end. With the adoption of our son, we did not have finalization until he was seven months old. We were matched with his birthmom when she was five months pregnant. The process from match to finalization took twelve months.
Twelve months of wondering if he would ever have our last name. Twelve months of fearing his birthmom would change her mind or the state would see us as unfit to raise him. Twelve months of feeling like we had to prove ourselves as parents to the world around us.
I remember the relief that swept over me when his birth certificate came in the mail after finalization. I was excited to step off the roller coaster of adoption.
But I want to encourage you that you will step off the roller coaster soon. And when you do, you will look back and see the fingerprints of God on your family. When you hold that child in your arms and he/she looks up at you, you will know that the roller coaster was worth it.
If you find yourself thinking about adoption or are in the process of adopting, I pray that you will find these tips, as well as the three I mentioned last week, to be helpful and encouraging. I would love to walk alongside you in any way that I can. Please contact me here on the blog or on social media.