A is for Admitting that God is in control.
After many years of trying to make a family happen in our own timeframe, pursuing medical intervention, and praying for healing, we finally succumbed to God’s plan of creating our family through adoption. This experience taught me that He knew me better than I did, and that I needed Him in ways I never knew before. Admitting this was the beginning of a journey of love.
D is for Discipline.
The Lord showed me how I needed to rely on Him for everything and to listen to Him more. He healed deep wounds in my heart and prepared me for parenting. Being disciplined in my prayer life, worship, and learning of Scripture keeps me close to Him. Without these disciplines, I take back control, make unwise choices, and bear little fruit. It took the adoption process for God to teach me this lesson.
O is for Opening my heart to the needs of others.
Infertility is intense and it is so easy to become overly self-focused. Adoption took me from my own pain to the lifelong needs of a child and the intense struggle that birthparents experience. There is so much pain in the adoption process for all the adults involved. But it is a good pain because it’s about laying down our own lives for the good of someone else. There is no greater love than this. Remembering the self-sacrifice of my children’s birthparents on those days when parenting can be very challenging reminds me that love is tough, and I’m encouraged to open my heart.
P is for Patience.
Prior to becoming a mother, I enjoyed a fast-paced marketing career in the computer industry. My life was constantly changing and moving quickly. Speed and performance are the name of the game when selling computer systems. That is not so when dealing with human lives. People need time to make decisions and time to heal. Through adoption, the Lord showed me that I need to accept rather than judge His timing. As a parent, I continue to learn that lesson each day.
T is for Trusting God, even when I don’t “feel” like it.
During the waiting process for both of Our children, there were times when my heart wanted to explode with excitement about the child we thought for sure was ours. But wisdom told us to refrain. Then there were times when birthparents made choices we weren’t expecting and our hearts sank in disappointment. Our emotions were unpredictable, yet the Lord was steady, never changing, and I was comforted knowing that He knew all of the details. I could trust Him. He exceeded all of my expectations!
I is for Image.
Adoption deepened my understanding of being made in God’s image. Most children bear a strong physical resemblance to their parents, and that gives the family a unified identity. But parents and adoptees who lack a physical resemblance can paint a portrait of what God’s family looks like, and we are free to go beyond the exterior and look inside. Now I see that our identity and value is placed in the One who created us and saved us, not the ones who conceived us. That’s not only true for adopted children, but it’s true for all of us. My favorite memories are of those moments when I see our children bearing the image of their Father in heaven because then I can see the hand of God on their lives, and my faith is renewed.
O is for Options.
I thank God that we live in a country that allows the option of adoption, and that life is still respected and honored by many in our land. I’m also thankful that birthparents and adoptive parents can be cared for by so many dedicated people and that they have options in the adoption process. The Lord faithfully led us through the many options and knitted our family together in His perfect way.
N is for Nearness.
It was through the adoption process that I experienced the nearness of God. He was always there at every meeting with our caseworkers, at our kitchen table filling out paperwork, and in our social and family gatherings when we would share the latest update. He was always there when the wait seemed too long and the phone was silent. He was always there during the excitement of being chosen, and He held us extra close when birthparents changed their minds. He watched over us as we drove nervously to meet birthparents and calmed our hearts as they stared at us wondering if we could possibly love their child enough. He protected us when doubts arose, and He removed His peace when our plans didn’t line up with His. He rejoiced with us as our children were placed in our arms, and He cried with us as we ached for their birthparents.
It has been almost eleven years since we adopted the first of our two children. Not much has changed. Oh sure, the kids are growing and we are aging, but God is Just as close as He’s always been. Now He laughs with us at the dinner table. He heals us in the emergency rooms and provides our home, clothing, food, work, and friends. He cheers with us on the soccer field and applauds with us at piano and dance recitals. He danced with us when our kids asked Jesus into their hearts, and He constantly forgives us when unkind words are spoken and selfish motives dominate. He continues to teach me daily so I can pass on my faith to these precious gifts for whom He has made great plans.
So, have I been blessed through adoption? Absolutely. Would I say that the greatest blessing I received was two beautiful children? No. The greatest gift I have ever received was my own adoption into God’s family through Jesus Christ. And then God, in His abundant mercy and love, blessed me with the privilege of motherhood and He allows me to walk with Him in their lives.
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This article on domestic adoption originally appeared in the Spring 2006 edition of LifeLines, a magazine published by Bethany Christian Services, and is reprinted here with the approval of the editor.