There's no such thing as...

Monday November 18, 2013

…an easy adoption.

Think about it.

The Father adopted us into His family, but His Son endured the cross to make a way.

In the spirit of that adoption—with a sense of the open arms and unconditional love the Father shows us—couples pray and hope and save and wait…and wait…and wait.

I’m sure you know someone who is, somehow, connected to adoption.

There could be a couple at church who is waiting for a newborn. Maybe it’s a family planning to adopt a child they’ve fostered. Or a family whose yet-to-be-matched child is waiting across the sea.

Adoption—especially international adoption—is a long, drawn-out process, full of twists and turns, with question marks all along the path. Those who are walking that road need encouragement.

And we can help or hurt, even unintentionally.

Do you know someone who’s adopting?
Here’s a list of things from a real-life waiting mom to think about:

What NOT to Do:

1. Please don’t ignore the fact that waiting is hard. This journey can feel very isolating. Don’t be afraid to ask us things or to bring up the adoption.

2. Comparison can be hard on us. Every adoption story is different. Most waiting moms are trying hard to avoid comparing their lives and expectations with other adoptive families, so help us. Comments like, “The Browns were matched with their child in a week…Jane and Joe brought their child home in 6 months…Amy and Todd raised their funds really quickly” make us second-guess ourselves. We love to talk about the process, but comparisons aren’t helpful.

3. Steer clear of exclamations pointing out the length of our wait: “Wow, you’ve been waiting a long time!” We know this reality all too well. In fact, we’re far more concerned about the child who is waiting halfway around the world.

4. Please don’t share the adoption horror stories you’ve heard. There’s enough uncertainty as it is, and it’s far too easy for us to play the “what if” game in our minds. Try not to give us fuel for the fire.

5. Adoption may not be the Lord’s plan for your family, but please don’t discount our reasons. To a mom who’s bringing a child home from another country, comments on how many children need homes in the US and questioning the cost of adoption comes across as criticism. Likewise, if you adopted internationally, don’t discount another family’s plan to foster or adopt within the US. An orphan is an orphan regardless of borders, and God’s plan for each family is different.

So…how can you help a mom who’s waiting for her child?

What TO Do:

1. Ask us how we’re doing and ask how you can pray specifically. We have days when we feel hopeful and peaceful in the wait, and there are other days we feel discouraged, overwhelmed, and impatient. Just knowing that others recognize how difficult this can be is comforting. Being able to share our heart helps lighten the burden, and thinking through how we need prayer serves as a good reminder that we must rely on God in this journey.

2. Show interest in the adoption process. The adoption is always on our minds, so it’s comforting to hear people show interest in something that’s so dear to our hearts.

3. Speak truth. If you are close to an adopting mom, courageously speak truth in moments when you see doubt or frustration overwhelming her. We know it, but we need to hear it!

4. Please be patient with us. The adoption process is long and filled with tons of paperwork. We may check our phones or email more than usual. It can be easy to get wrapped up in “all things adoption” and neglect important relationships around us. Most of the time we don’t even realize that’s the case. We’ll come out of this adoption fog someday! Try to distract us, in a fun way, from time to time.

5. Pray for us and let us know that you are praying. Please recognize that your encouraging notes and reminders of prayer mean so very much.

No, I’m not an adoptive mom. But I have four sons, and my oldest and his sweet wife are waiting for a daughter from India. Their journey weighs heavy on my heartafter all, this is my granddaughter we’re talking about!

You can get to know them on their blog and in this video.

I’ve published a novel, Pearl, that benefits their adoption fund. It’s truly a “mom tale”—a story of international adoption from a Chinese mother’s perspective.

The Lord put the story in my heart long before my son and his wife spoke of adoption. I’m praying He uses it to help bring my granddaughter home to Kentucky.

Thanks to my sweet daughter-in-law, Kristen, for her input on this post.

Pray with me, will you, for Jonathan, Kristen, and their daughter waiting in India.

And show kindness to a waiting mom today.

I'm linking up with Laura, Michelle, and Jen today.

Photo credit 


Unknown said...

as i know pretty close to nothing about the particulars of international adoption, this is a very helpful post.
going over to check out their blog now. i'm interested in what part of india the child lives now....

Unknown said...

Dear Laura
My sister-in-law is an adopted child, but what is so beautiful is how her parents and her biological parents get along very well. The biological parents "know" that they are not her "first" parents", and don't even try to take her parents place who have brought us. This is so beautiful. We like teasing my brother that he sa TWO mothers-in-law.
Blessings XX

Clella said...

Our Romanian granddaughter is such a blessing to our family. She was well worth the wait and I know your daughter to be will also bless your family. Praying for you as you wait. Clella

Susanne said...

This was a really great post to share Laura! Sometimes it is hard to know what to say so this really helps. I don't know anyone personally while they were going through the process but I'll sure file this knowledge away! Praying for you and your family during this time!

Lisa notes... said...

Thanks so much for these great insights, Laura. We really need to hear from those who are going through something to learn what to say and not say. I appreciate you and hope that I'll do better with my own friends now going through adoptions. Praying for your family as you wait for your new grandbaby to get home!

Janice C. Johnson said...

I always want to encourage anyone who is enduring a difficult wait... but I'm afraid of saying something that will annoy rather than bless them. So, thanks for these great "field-tested" ideas for sharing someone's adoption wait.
Jan (from SDG)

Faith said...

Oh thank you for this list of dos and don'ts!! So helpful. We have friends who have one biological daughter (young teen) and then mom had trouble getting pregnant so they adopted a little girl from China which took FOREVER it seemed like....we all prayed for them....and I remember never really knowing what to do or say other than prayer. She is a beautiful little girl of about 7 now and they are still waiting for yet another Chinese I have some good tips!! Can't wait to see what your granddaughter is going to be like!!! it is exciting but i am sure can be hard on everyone during the waiting.....God bless you Laura!!

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