One of the greatest joys and sources of blessing in my life is being an adoptive mother to my three children. God has creatively and lovingly knit together our family from different parts of the world, and each child He has gifted to us has been a source of immense happiness and fulfillment. We are thankful for God’s provision and redemptive plan of adoption in bringing something so beautiful out of that which was originally broken. We have been the first-hand benefactors of His goodness and faithfulness to us in this way.
We have also experienced our own share of unique challenges that can come as a result of the brokenness inherent in adoption. Each family experiences adoption differently and with varying degrees of ease or difficulty. I do not presume to understand everyone’s situation or to assign trouble where there might not be any. However, as counselors and parents there is a reality to adoption that must be considered and a godly perspective sought.
The truth is that there are many adoptive parents who are facing hardship as they seek to raise their children. They come to counseling disillusioned, confused, and often at the end of themselves looking for help and encouragement. If you find yourself weary and beaten down from this challenge in front of you or are counseling someone who is, I pray that you find below some hope to keep going.
Remember this is an Assignment From God
When the days of parenting are long, and at times grueling, we can find ourselves sinking into doubt and despair. We must quickly silence those lingering doubts with truth from God’s Word. The Bible tells us that God is wise and all-knowing and that He sovereignly works out His plans in our lives for His purposes (Isaiah 46:9-10; Psalm 40:5; Jeremiah 32:17). We can trust, with certainty, that He is the one who puts families together and places orphans with parents. We do not ever have to question if there was some sort of flaw in the plan or oversight, instead, we rest in the knowledge that God doesn’t make mistakes (Psalm 147:5; 145:17).
The Bible is clear that it is God’s heart for Christians to sacrificially take care of orphans in their distress (James 1:27). He accepts this outward working of our faith as true and undefiled religion. Ephesians 2:10 reminds us that we are created by God to do good works, those laid out for us in advance, as an evidence of true saving faith. God doesn’t leave us to ourselves to be obedient and to do good, but, in fact, the good things He wants us to do have already been ordained by Him. What a comfort for adoptive parents, that long ago, God chose for us to demonstrate our love and obedience to Him in this very specific way. We can be assured that being adoptive parents was preordained and assigned in wisdom and love by our Father.
He Will Equip You
There are days as adoptive parents that we don’t feel up to the task and doubt that we have the strength and skill to parent our children. Sometimes we don’t understand their behaviors and why they do and say what they do. They might be extraordinarily difficult to live with and seem to aim their deep hurt and anger right at us. We can find ourselves asking for God’s help to love the children He has given to us. In light of this, Hebrews 13:20-21 tells us that the God of peace, who is our shepherd, will equip us with everything we need to accomplish His will. During those dark days, we can cling to God’s guarantee to us that He will give us the strength, the wisdom, the patience, and the love we need to accomplish the task that He has given us.
Likewise, the Apostle Paul gives us a similar promise in 2 Corinthians 9:8, emboldening us when the road ahead is demanding and we are weak. Here we are promised again that God is able to make all of His grace abound to us, so that we will be sufficient in all things and at all times. The writer tells us that, through God’s infinite grace, He lavishly gives us an abundance for every good deed. We can be encouraged that parenting adopted children is certainly a good deed and that God wants to provide us with everything we need in order to accomplish His will (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).
It Will Bring Him Glory and Pleases Him
I love to see large adoptive families, with kids of all ages, ethnicities, and a variety of health issues or special needs. Clearly, the Lord places a desire in certain people’s hearts to serve Him in this way. 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 is Paul’s prayer asking God to enable Christians to live a life worthy of His call on their lives. He asks that the Lord may give them the power to accomplish all the good things that their faith has prompted them to do. The end result is so that, by God’s grace, the name of the Lord Jesus will be glorified (v. 12).
1 Peter 4:11 picks up this same theme of God enabling us to do good works so that He may be glorified. Here, Peter admonishes us that we are to serve by the strength which God supplies, so that in all things, God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. As we seek to learn what is pleasing to Him (Ephesians 5:10), we can find hope in the promise that God receives glory through our lives when we live obediently, fully dependent on His power and strength to accomplish good things. As we do this, our families will be a trophy of God’s grace for an unbelieving world to see and wonder about.
Trust Him with the Result
One of the most hopeful promises to cling to if you are a struggling adoptive parent, is that the end result is in God’s hands. We seek to be obedient, wise, and faithful parents, but ultimately we must entrust the final outcome to our Heavenly Father. When we as earthly parents feel that we are failing, we can be comforted by the reassurance in Scripture that God is a Father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5). He is the ultimate and best Father our children could have (1 John 3:1; John 1:12). We will fail them and make parenting mistakes, but He will not.
You can rest in the assurance that your heavenly Father is near and present, with a watchful eye and tailor-made plan for your child’s life. He is the only one who can fill the longings inside of them, give them assurance that they are wanted and loved, teach them to follow Him obediently, and draw them into a relationship with Him in which they will be parented by someone much wiser and more loving than we are (Zephaniah 3:17; 1 John 3:1). We can trust Him for His good work in our children’s lives and leave the end results to Him. May He receive the glory for the work He is doing in each of our adoptive families.