Monthly Archives: October 2015

“Dad, I’ve Gotten Myself into a Little Trouble”

It happened almost every weekday around 6:30 and it was one of the most touching things I have had the privilege to witness. It is a picture of adoption really—simple, deeply moving, and truly beautiful.

Our three boys, all recently home from a Russian orphanage, would climb up on the wooden fence in front of our house and just look down the road. I remember the first time they did it I wondered what they were up to. (Back in those early days of adoption I wondered that a whole lot!!)

And the oldest, still speaking only Russian, pointed down the road and said something about “Papa”—being super bright I was able to translate that right away!  And I recognized “waiting,” a Russian word I had learned, along with lots of other mommy vocabulary like “brush your teeth,” “I love you,” “be careful,” “time for bed,” “don’t do that!” ……. not to mention a few cuss words that our children would repeat when angry. Wondering what in the world they were saying, I asked a Russian speaking friend to translate. Yikes!

Over the years there have been many moments like that one, the kind of moments that compel you to reach for your camera in hopes that you can somehow hold on to the warmth and beauty of it all. I didn’t get a photo of my boys waiting for their Papa back then, but I see them still and think, “That right there is what adoption is all about— that child has a Daddy to wait for at the end of the day.”
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And when I think about these children, who once were orphans standing at a different fence watching people who weren’t their parents drive away, I am overwhelmed.

But my understanding about what is beautiful has changed, or more accurately has expanded, since those early days of the Papa-lookout. God has been teaching me to see the beauty and power of adoption in what at first look (and even second and third look!) appears to be only ugly.

Let me explain by telling you another adoption story, although if you are like me you may not recognize it as beautiful.

A few years ago my husband and I traveled to Texas to be with his mother, who was having surgery. Leaving our seven children, all older teens and young adults by this time, made us a bit nervous since a few of them were not doing too well. Just as Stephen’s mother was being wheeled back into her hospital room after surgery his phone rang. Such bad timing, as so many parenting moments are!

As soon as I saw his face I knew two things: it was one of our children, and it wasn’t good.

I was right.

“Dad, it looks like I’ve gotten myself into a little bit of trouble,” he says.

He was making this call from jail.

The details aren’t necessary, but I will tell you I was so angry. I felt deeply disappointed, deeply discouraged, and deeply weary of the battle.

And I could only see the ugly in this.

A few hours later I was able to take the time to pray, which began with me complaining to The Lord, and then asking Him once again to please tell us what to do to help our son heal and live in the freedom of sonship.

And as is always the way with God, He answered my desperate question with a life-giving response, so different from what I was looking for.

“But Beth, this is a SON who has a DADDY to call when he has ‘gotten himself into a little bit of trouble.’”

Just that.

One sentence that completely changed my perspective and transformed what was ugly into something truly moving.

What felt like yet another failure, of my son and of our parenting, became a powerful picture of adoption.

For this was no orphan.

This was a SON.

Who had a FATHER.

This was simple, deeply moving, and truly beautiful.

This, my fellow adopters, is what adoption is all about. It isn’t what I had dreamed of when we brought our children home 17 years ago, and it has cost us more than we ever imagined, but it is the work of the Father’s love played out in all of our lives.

It is what adoption is all about.

                                        ___________________________________________
Beth Templeton

Beth Templeton

Beth has been married to her husband Stephen for 27 years. They have seven children, ages 18-24. Several years after giving birth to three girls God called their family to the adventure and blessing of adoption. In 2000, they brought home a brother and sister, ages 5 and 10, from Russia. Then they returned to the same orphanage 18 months later and brought home two more brothers, ages 7 and 10. Beth’s heart has been deeply and forever changed as she has watched the love of Father God poured out on her whole family through adoption. She leads Hope at Home, a ministry dedicated to help adoptive and foster parents encounter the Father’s heart for their families, partnering with God to transform orphans into sons and daughters. For more parenting insight and encouragement in the Lord, go to Hope at Home.

 

Stories {Updated}

Two years ago, I wrote this post about talking with our boys about their adoption stories.  I thought I would give a little update…

I have told both of our boys thier adoption stories since they were newborns in my arms.  It’s not easy to put into words the miraculous and complicated way God brought them into our lives, but I’ve always felt like it was good practice for me even if they have no clue what I’m saying.  The way they became part of our family is precious and I don’t ever want to forget those stories that made me a mama.

Right now, it’s pretty much a one-sided conversation.  My oldest is starting to make some straight-forward connections like…

“L is my birthmommy.”

“I grew in her tummy”

“She picked you and daddy to be my parents.”

UPDATE:  My oldest now will ask questions out of the blue like, “Is J (his birthmom’s son) my real brother?”  Questions like this usually throw me for a loop and I shoot up a prayer asking God to give me the right words that will honor our family and his first family.  Then sometimes, I shoot up a prayer asking for grace when I have no clue what to say.  

Then there are moments when I can see it in his eyes.  His little brain is just spinning trying to figure out his story.

UPDATE: I still see his brain spinning and sometimes when we’re talking about his story, he changes the subject and that is O.K.

That’s when a little bit of fear sets in.  I realize that there will probably come a day when there will be hard questions to answer and upset or confused emotions that come out of my boys.  In my humanness, I want to protect them.  I don’t ever want them to doubt our love for them or their birthfamilies love for them.

Then my loving, heavenly Father whispers to me and says, “Abby, don’t you remember how I used some really difficult situations in your life to draw you closer to me?  I want to do that for your boys too.”

There will be emotions that may be difficult to deal with. I won’t have all the answers for my boys, but I have the priviledge of pointing them to The One who is control of all things and has EVERYTHING they need.

UPDATE: Everytime we talk about the boys’ stories, (just to be clear, it’s not a daily or even weekly conversation.  Their adoption does not define who they are…it’s simply one part of who they are.) we get to talk about God.  I am learning that there is purpose in every circumstance God puts us in.  Instead of dwelling on the details, I can focus on Him and his purpose for each situation.  

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So, yes.  It will be hard.

UPDATE:  It sometimes is hard, but the good and the joy far outweigh the hard.  

There will be emotions that may be difficult to deal with.  I won’t have all the answers for my boys, but I have the priviledge of pointing them to The One who is control of all things and has EVERYTHING they need.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:19

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IMG_4672Abby and her college sweetheart husband Wes began the journey of domestic adoption in 2009. Blessed with a (more than they had planned but oh so thankful for it) open adoption experience, they were able to witness the birth of their first child Max in the summer of 2010. Little brother Sam joined their team in September of 2012. Wes and Abby are trusting God as he leads them in their relationship with their sons’ birth families. You can follow their story at Akers of Love.

Milestones

We hit a big milestone in our house last month. After being home for over 9 months, Dumpling slept in his very own big boy bed in his very own room shared with Gēgē! This was huge! Before now, he had been sleeping on a toddler bed in our bedroom to foster attachment. It worked well for us because we were able to keep him close, but we still got to sleep as husband and wife. I know many families co-sleep, which I think is a wonderful choice. But I personally like my bed to be my bed, so a toddler bed was a perfect alternative.

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We started with the toddler bed pushed up against my side so that we could hold hands as he fell asleep. Once he was asleep, I’d gently pull my hand away and tiptoe out to spend a little time with my hubby before going to bed myself. A white noise machine helped too. I still came back to bed pretty early in the beginning though, so Dumpling could reach up and touch me for reassurance if he woke up.

After a few months, we let go a little and moved the toddler bed across the room so he could still see us. This gave us some freedom, but still kept him close for attachment purposes. If he woke up, he looked to make sure we were still there, and then he went back to sleep. Once he started saying our names, he’d sometimes call out for us too. I remember thinking about how precious that sound was the first few times I heard it.

Toward the end of the summer, we began staying with him until he was almost asleep. This eventually worked up to a more typical bedtime, when we said goodnight right after all the rituals had been completed and he was still awake. It was a very natural progression and his laid back personality made for few sleeping issues. I know sleeping can bring huge anxiety for many children from hard places, but fortunately Dumpling hasn’t been one of those children.

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It wasn’t always easy having him in our room though, especially on the mornings we wanted to sleep a little extra and he woke up at 4am. Or another child came into our room for some reason, and accidentally woke Dumpling up too. But overall, it went very well and I wouldn’t do anything different. I am so thankful we were able to spend that time sharing a room with our son. Especially because of his difficult past, we were very intentional about cocooning him from the world and other adults. Sleeping in the same room was one more way we could foster attachment and bring him closer to us.

But when the time came for him to become a little more independent and move into his very own big boy bed in a room shared with Gēgē, our whole family celebrated and his eyes beamed with utter joy. He pointed to all of his blankets and pillows and loveys with pride, asking, “Mine?” for each one. The answer of “yes” every time made him smile even bigger. He took ownership of his new bed immediately and loved every moment. It was a precious sight indeed.

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I will admit that I don’t think he needed to sleep in our room for so long, as children sometimes do. I think he would have been fine if we had put him in his big boy bed the first night we were home. Obviously I can’t be sure, but his easy-going personality suggests this may have been the case. Regardless of how he would have done though, we wanted to foster attachment in any way we could. It’s difficult to teach who mom and dad are with very little verbal communication, so it had to come in the form of actions instead of words. That also meant not allowing any physical touch with all adults for a long time, in addition to keeping him close at home.

Although he is gaining independence and we’ve opened up his world when appropriate, we still keep some experiences and new adults at a safe distance, even at 10 months home. He likes new people and affection a little too much still, so we are working intentionally about teaching appropriate physical boundaries. I don’t know how long that will continue, but I do know that cocooning and intentionally limiting him has paid off in huge ways. He loves us as his mommy, daddy, jiějiě, gēgē, and jiějiě. And we sure love him to the moon and back. I am so incredibly thankful that God chose me to be this boy’s mama. It’s a true joy to watch him grow into the person that his Heavenly Father intends him to be.

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NicoleNicole is a daughter to the King and a wife to an amazing man. She is a classical homeschooling mama to four, by birth and adoption. She is a part-time newborn photographer, a founder and adoption photographer at Red Thread Sessions, a contributing blogger at No Hands But Ours and an advocate of orphan care and adoption. When she’s not with her family or behind her camera, she loves to blog, create, give life to old furniture, spend time at the beach and read. She strives to live her life to glorify our Heavenly Father.  With His love, all things are possible.

                                         

I Could Never…

I don’t know how many people have said to me, “I could never do this.” My response is always,

“What, you mean foster care?” To which they reply, “Yes, I could never hand them back.”

 

Often that comment is followed by a loving glance or hug to their child.

 

When a child is placed in our home through foster care, they are very much our

children. We love them unconditionally and learn their love language, where their

hearts and souls need healing and how we can help encourage that healing. We put in

hours and hours of training to learn how to parent them the best we can, and those

hours are little compared to the on-the-job training during which we plead with God to

guide us.

 

But one thing a biological parent must not forget, all of our children, yours, mine,

foster or adopted, they are His first. Losing your child from your home is H. A. R.

D! It feels like a death. You grieve, you hurt, and it leaves wounds that eventually

heal, but leave a scar. Those scars can be deep and ugly; they can be hiding

bitterness and other ugly emotions. But they don’t have to be! Only with the love of

Jesus Christ and the constant conversations with Him can that scar heal to a

beautiful mark despite its ugliness. It is beauty from ashes. But ask anyone who has

lost a child, through a failed adoption, a reunification in foster care or a

death, ask them and they will tell you they are changed forever. There will be a scar, but Jesus Christ brings healing.

 

That’s what makes doing foster care, this thing you think you couldn’t do, doable.

 

We have been foster parents to 5 children, all of whom we have adopted. Our cases

have varied from on the door step of reunification to straight into the adoption

unit. But still ,  and I speak from experience, a heart that has deep scars that on the

outside appeared healed but were actually oozing with bitterness. We lost our son through a

failed adoption. A year of anticipating him, 10 days spent holding him and loving

him and another full year pursuing him though international adoption. The bitterness

ran deep towards the people whose ill informed decisions changed everything. Not

until I invited the Healer in, did the true healing  begin. In a way I felt like

hanging on to that ugliness kept my son close, but it didn’t and it distanced me

from friends and my God. My scars are still there. I’m forever changed. I’m forever

missing my little man, but I’m no longer oozing with bitterness. And I have a new trust, a new understanding, that my God is a healer who, no matter the pain, will not leave me or forsake me.

 

If you feel God calling you, put yourself out there! You can do this. You’ve got God.

 

Do you trust Him as your Healer?

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wandaWanda has been married to her high school sweetheart, Matt, for 16 years. They have six children, ages 2-11. Adoption has been on her heart since a very young child. She is passionate about foster care and supporting and encouraging foster and adoptive families in their journey. She is a stay at home mom who loves to make jewelry for her little business, cook for her family and cheer on her soccer players.

When You Stop Being Invulnerable

A friend (who’d worked at length with children) watched the two of them play innocently in the one small section of the waiting room where we’d told them they could unpack their tote of just a few toys. We’d described to him their first few months at home with with us and he witnessed what we’d said and more. They played without fear and securely under our boundaries, even though we’d not been within immediate reach. They took delight in simple trinkets, but even more in one another, as ones who were already siblings before they became our family. Neither set of eyes was dull, but alive.

“There’s a word for that,” he said. “They are ‘invulnerables’.”

He spoke to what we’d presumed. They were untouchable, unadulterated by loss that had shrouded the years before they could even walk. Our children — former orphans — had been preserved.

And I was relieved.

We’d said ‘yes’ to them knowing what the books said about the possible implications of loss and brokenness, but we hung on to optimism more than we did hope — because optimism is often marked by naiveté, but hope is forged. (We were too new at this to have forged real hope.) She’d always fight for her little brother and lean into me as mommy. He would trust. Their eyes would always be bright with expectation. They were the rare kind of “normal” that gets produced out of abnormality. I thought for sure.

Phew. Both Nate and I knew I wasn’t cut out for layered pain as a new mom. So we called them The Invulnerables and I exhaled.

Until one day we couldn’t anymore.

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Growth and time and siblings added to the mix revealed worn edges that two-on-two hadn’t. One struggled to trust. Another to lean in. The brightness in their eyes waned, for a time. A little bit of pressing and we saw tired years behind those wide-smiles and flickering eyes. Life had, in fact, worked them over before we held them for the first time. They weren’t as invulnerable as they once appeared.

{But really — is anyone?}

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I cringe, later, at what I’d call an over-share with a new friend sipping coffee. She wasn’t ready for that. I wasn’t ready to say all that. I blush when my child says that thing in that way in public. I don’t want to send the text for the third day in a row that begs “I need prayer” and I feel slightly naked before the friend with two older (read: more composed) children, who stops by unexpectedly and sees my wreck of a house at 3pm on a Tuesday.

I resent the tears I cry over missing my Dad in the middle of someone else’s birthday dinner when I’m reminded that he’s gone.

Who, really, doesn’t want be an ‘invulnerable’?

Most of us have let life and humanity train us into thinking that vulnerability is to be avoided — in us and in others. It’s toxic. We’ve bought into the lie that exposure of the heart — in even the smallest of ways — only brings pain.

The one who makes that 9pm crisis call to friends to say “our marriage is stuck, can we come over and get some help?” wakes up to a morning-after “why didn’t we just resolve it ourselves?” gulp of shame. The 50 year-old woman who musters courage to whisper to her decade-old Bible study group “I’d still like to be married. Would you pray that God would give me a husband?” leaves that night feeling foolish for putting herself out there. The 25 year-old wanna-be songwriter sings the first song he wrote, passionately, before he steps off the stage and makes a promise to himself to never take a risk like that again. The mother of that baby in the NICU — whom the doctors said wouldn’t make it — works up a prayer for healing and asks others to pray with her, only to wish she’d just accepted her lot as the reality of that exposed prayer creeps in and over her. What’s it gonna feel like if He doesn’t “come through”? What will they say about me and my wild prayers? she thinks.

We’d all like to climb out of those few circumstances that somehow slip past the gate of invulnerability we so fiercely guard because we’ve only been trained to know the downside of vulnerability — the human side of vulnerability.

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When the first two we adopted stopped living so seamlessly in our world — no longer without a bump or blemish — I coiled. I’d built an understanding of us as family that required them to be invulnerable. They were smooth, easy, and I was safe and unexposed. During those first months after we got our second two children and when the bumps and blemishes began to surface in our first two children, I was terrified. My heart had attached safety to invulnerability and I was now unsafe, by my metric. Their vulnerability — the fact that their past had impacted them in ways I couldn’t easily tidy up — made me feel vulnerable.And I didn’t know what to do with that.

I didn’t know what to do with vulnerability.

It wasn’t all that different than the walk to the car after my “overshare” with a new friend or the way I felt after leaving a baby shower where my barren womb was noted … or when it wasn’t.

Vulnerability shuts down the systems of self-defense we create around our manicured lives.

And vulnerability, to God, is beautiful.

It’s His currency.

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I form a language about God and nearness and tenderness, but I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced it independent from my own vulnerability. I talk of Him as a kind Father and a gentle leader, but that language rarely moves to reality without some level of uncomfortable exposure in my heart. I pray for “more of God” but I rarely grow in personal, intimate understanding of Him without, first, wearing the kind of vulnerability that I seem to spend most of my time avoiding.

The invulnerables are impenetrable.

And those who learn to re-set their system in the face of vulnerability — to turn to Him and bury their otherwise-shamed faces in His chest — are the ones into which He reaches. They’re the ones who grow.

I want to be them.

Daisies MJ

I want to make the call to a friend at midnight because I need help, and turn to Him the next morning when my shame tells me otherwise.

I want to send a dozen texts for prayer and find out how safe it feels to curl up in His lap when that voice in my head tells me I’m a burden in my weakness.

I want to write a book (another one!) that exposes layers of my heart and life I’d feel safer not sharing and see Him wildly celebrating my partnership with Him when my heart starts to shrink back in fear.

I want to pray for my once-barren womb to open again, even past 40.

If the naked exposure of my vulnerability before God means I get to not just see but smell Him and touch Him and be held by Him, I’ll take it.

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For Your Continued Pursuit (cause I don’t want you to just take my word for it): 2 Corinthians 4:7 | Psalm 22 | Psalm 34:18 | Isaiah 42:3 | Psalm 31:1-2 | Romans 8:1

 

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Sara Hagerty HeadshotSara is a wife to Nate and a mother of five whose arms stretched wide across the ocean to Africa. After almost a decade of Christian life she was introduced to pain and perplexity and, ultimately, intimacy with Jesus. Her book, Every Bitter Thing is Sweet released October 7, 2014 via Zondervan, is an invitation — back to hope, back to healing, back to a place that God is holding for you—a place where the unseen is more real than what the eye can perceive. A place where even the most bitter things become sweet.  She writes regularly at EveryBitterThingIsSweet.com.

The Marvel of Language Acquisition and Adoption Realities

“I need to go potty.” said a precious little voice said near me.
“What?!” I replied, with more excitement than the normal for a jaunt to the potty while out and about.

My Sweet Silly Girl Rocking Her New Bangs!

This was our Eva’s first grammatically correct complete sentence, made on July 30, 2015.

As we reached the three month mark, she began putting two or three words together as well as some whole complete sentences, out of the blue, without a question asked of her. Now that we are at five months home, her understanding and grasp of the English language astounds me. I’m so proud of her work at learning and understanding a language that was completely foreign to her! Now, as her language increases, we have reached the greater frustration stage. She wants to be understood and have conversations, but there are still big pieces missing from her sweet little mind. Imagine what it would be like at our age to go a new country, wanting to interact but having no way to communicate. Imagine a child having to deal with that and being ripped from everything she has ever known.

Eva amazes me. Her ability to remember English vocabulary astounds me. I will tell her something and she repeats it a few times, with great pronunciation I might add, and remembers it! Oh to have the mind of a young child!

One of my favorite things she says quite frequently is “Nope!” Not “no”, NOPE!!

While the English language acquisition is going well, there are, of course, still struggles with discipline. This is the most difficult part of the transition on this adoption, that and her sadness over the loss of her foster family. Imagine being four years old, ripped from a safe and loving environment and then not only being asked to adjust and live with people who speak a different language but to also behave. I think we can all agree it would be hard. She gets frustrated daily which is completely understandable. She is also at the age where she sees things as black and white and needs clear direction but there is that tricky language barrier. We also definitely do things different from what she experienced in the foster home at the orphanage and require a certain level of respect that she is not used to as yet. She has a such a sweet spirit but is also constantly testing us (as toddlers do). “This is my toy, why should I share? I’ve never had my own toy, I don’t want to share. I want things on my own terms.” But by the grace of God, she is learning.

Our adoption journey has been unique to each child. Grace was only 18 months when we adopted her so she never learned Mandarin and was easily guided with discipline as she learned English.

Anthony was 8 when we brought him home so he was reading, writing and speaking fluently in Mandarin. The biggest struggle for him was the frustration over communication. He wanted to talk things through and it was so difficult with our translation app, but God guided us.   It was much harder for him to grasp the structure of our sentences and to remember vocabulary. But, when you speak to him now, you would never know! He has done an amazing job of learning English and we have crossed a threshold with his Chinese as well. He can now think independently in one and switch over the other language with having to translate in his head like he was before. I’m so proud of him.

This is just a brief look into our adoption journeys. God has been with us every step of the way and I am so thankful for His constant care and provision. We are excited to see what the journey ahead holds us for as Eva continues to bond with us as family. Every day is better and our love grows daily.

Last Friday of Summer!!

 

First Day of Our Homeschool Coop!

 

After  Coop!

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Suzanne Meledeo

After struggling with infertility for 5 years, God led Suzanne and her husband Adam to His Plan A for their lives—adoption! Their daughter, Grace Lihua, came into their lives in 2011 from the Fujian Province, China. Their son, Anthony Jianyou, joined their family in January of 2013 from Shanghai, and Eva Hanting just joined their family in May from the Hunan Province. After a career in politics, Suzanne is thankful for God’s provision in their lives that now allows her to work part time as a Pilates instructor while home schooling their children and working as a part of the WAGI leadership team. You can follow their adoption journey and life on their blog, Surpassing Greatness.

 

Together Called 2016 Registration is on Sunday!

TC 2016 mug designWe told you we’d send a reminder to you. And, so we are.

Together Called 2016 promises to be a weekend you don’t want to miss. It was created for you—an entire weekend devoted to blessing you and giving married couples considering adoption, waiting to adopt, or who built their families through adoption years ago an opportunity to reconnect and be refreshed.

We’d love to have you join us April 8th-10th, 2016 at Liberty Mountain Resort right outside of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. We’ll be joined by some awesome folks who are eager to bless you—Matt and Becca Whitson of Community Bible Church in Arkansas, Phil and Jessica Morlan of Seeds Family Worship, Jeff Nitz of Bethany Christian Services and Cheryl Nitz of The Attachment & Bonding Center of PA, Beth Templeton of Hope at Home, Jeff Pearson and Bjorn Anderson of Young Life, and the entire TSF team.

For the last 3 years, Together Called has filled up in minutes with couples registering from at least 14 different states around the country every year. Don’t wait. Set your phone alarms for this Sunday evening at 9pm EST. Registration will officially open at precisely that moment with the link posted on our website on the Upcoming Events page.

Investing in the two of you is one of the best ways you can bless your family. We want you there.

Loving an Adopted Child

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Before we adopted Silas, we talked with many people about our desire to adopt. I think the fact that there wasn’t an actual child in the picture yet made some of them feel safe enough to express their true feelings about adoption. While most were supportive and positive, there were a select few who said things like, “Well, that’s great for you, but I could never do it. I just couldn’t love a child that isn’t my own.” There is so very much wrong with this statement, especially coming from Christians.

First of all, there’s the whole “my own”, “your own”, “their own” language. I hear it all the dang time, even from the most well intentioned people, and I’m sure I was guilty of it too at times before Silas came along. It usually goes something like this…”Oh you adopted!?! We have friends who adopted and also have kids of their own.” I understand that there are times when you need to distinguish between adopted kids and biological kids, but I think it’s important to use the correct language. Silas is “my own” kid. Your friend’s kids who were adopted are “their own” kids. When you ask me, “Do you have any kids of your own?”, I will tell you yes, and so will the legal document that we received when Silas was adopted. So, instead of “my own”, “their own”, “your own”, let’s use the word biological. Because all of us adoptive parents consider our children “our own.”

Okay, moving on….

So, there are some who think that they cannot love a child that is not biologically linked to them. I am sure this feeling is not uncommon, but it lacks an understanding of God’s love for us as adopted children. The Bible is filled with adoption language, and as Christians, adoption should not be a strange concept to us. We are considered children of God because of adoption.

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We were all adopted! So, we should have an imagination for adoption in our own lives. Just because someone feels like they can’t love an adopted child doesn’t mean that’s reality. There’s a lot in the Gospel that doesn’t feel natural. Adoption may not feel natural in a world that sees the biological connection as the closest relational bond. Scripture, however, clearly teaches that adoption is God’s normal. It’s his way of bringing us into relationship with himself. The fact that it doesn’t feel natural is not a reflection of its abnormality or our inability to do it. It’s a reflection of a small imagination for God’s love for us and how he’s called us to embody this love to the world.

I’m not saying that if you have these feelings you just need to ignore them and adopt anyways. I’m just saying that we need to think hard about how we limit God’s love and diminish the Gospel when we have this mentality. God is bigger than we give him credit for, and his love for us is greater than we can imagine. If we grow in our knowledge and understanding of God’s love for us, our capacity to love will grow too.

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I know with every fiber of my being that I could not possibly love Silas more. I did not give birth to him, I have no genetic link to him, and we look nothing like each other. And yet, I love him so fiercely it hurts. Biology is inconsequential when it comes to the amount of love I have for him. The vast majority of adoptive parents will tell you the exact same thing, whether they are Christians or not. God clearly designed us with the ability to love in this way, because he wove it into the very fabric of his gospel when he chose to redeem the world through our adoption as his sons and daughters.

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Kinnier-3 copyMindy and her husband, Nick, adopted their son, Silas, domestically in August of 2013 after seven years of marriage and two years of unexplained infertility.  They live in Southern California, where Nick is a pastor and elder at ROCKHARBOR church and Mindy is a part-time teacher. She also hosts an infertility and adoption group each month, where she gets to do life with women who share her deepest pain and her greatest passion. She blogs at Finding Sunday.