Friday, June 10, 2011

Fears in Adoption

I had a wonderful meeting with Christian’s potential adoptive mom yesterday. :) She had a lot of questions, and I am realizing that I am quite passionate about meeting with adoptive families and allowing them to bounce their questions and fears off me. For the rest of the day yesterday I was on a sort of ‘high’ just wondering in excitement of how God will work in their lives and provide them strength and courage to step forward in faith. We talked through her two big fears:

Fear #1: That Christian wouldn’t bond/attach to their family. That he would become bitter/angry because of his past and show rebellious behavior.

Fear #2: The possibility that he could potentially hurt their biological children emotionally/physically. (And this is a huge fear that comes up whenever you are considering opening up your home to anyone….not just in adoption.)

I am going to write a post next week regarding my answers/thoughts that I gave her about her fears. Over the weekend, I was hoping that more of you would post your adoption fears in the comments section on this post. Then I can try to take a stab at some answers, or at least give some food for thought in a post next week. For any other adoption advocates or adoption families out there, please feel free to weigh in your thoughts on any of these fears in the comments section as well.

I have written a previous blog post on how our fears can paralyze us and hold us back from allowing God to use us. You can find that here: http://team-sullivan.blogspot.com/2010/12/immeasurable-power-of-gods-spirit-at.html

Some time ago, Jake and I spoke at our church along with some other adoptive and foster care families about opening up our homes and lives to those in need. We were asked to speak about our fears heading into our adoption, and how we worked our way through them. Since I am a writer not a speaker, I ended up writing out my thoughts and just reading it off the paper to the crowd. :) It worked out well. Here was what I read:

Going into our adoption, Jake’s faith was primarily tested in the area of our finances, and rightly so as he is the main provider for our family. I, on the other hand had an entirely different set of challenges that threatened to paralyze our decision to adopt. I would like to share one of these fears with you all, and tell you how God changed my heart.

One of my fears was: How will I ever love an adopted child as much as my biological children?

From the beginning of our journey, this thought was in my mind constantly. When we started our adoption, we had two children of our own, our son JJ at the time was 2 ½ and our daughter Jayla was 4 months old. I can tell you that at the beginning of our adoption, I didn’t have the answer to this fear. I was just banking on my hope that God would grow a deep love inside of me for our adopted child. Then one day, God showed me this scripture from the book of 1 John:

(1 John 3:16) This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

It was then that I realized that for those following Jesus, love is not an option. Love is a command. God’s definition of love is not warm, fuzzy feelings. It’s a lay down your life action and submission to God’s will. Jesus died so that we could have a relationship with God. So we could wake up every day and breathe air every day and live every day and not feel the torture of separation from God because of our sin. There is nothing warm and fuzzy about a man being tortured and bleeding to death on a cross. Yet, the Bible tells us that this act is true LOVE. That’s how much Jesus loved us. Even when we didn’t love Him back, even when we were still sinning in His face. He still died for us. Once I understood the weight of God’s definition of love, adoption made so much more sense to me. In small steps God had to teach me to lay down my life for this adopted child, piece by piece. It first started with me recognizing that I had made my biological children an idol, and I needed to lay it down. God also gave us obstacle after obstacle in our adoption journey. These circumstances taught me to lay down my time, my desires, and my grasp on convenience and control, even a few selfish dreams, and give them up for God’s plan for our family to adopt. When Jake and I were married I had a picture of what our family was going to look like. But God had a different one. And His plan trumped mine. Going with His plan hasn’t been easy. Oftentimes adoption didn’t feel natural and seemed so sacrificial. But piece by piece God gave us a glimpse of what it means to lay down our lives for another. And this was how God developed a strong love inside of me for our adopted son, Justice. It was a love that was born from laying down my selfish dreams, my conveniences, and my desires - and submitting to God’s will. Every day when I look at Justice, I see Jesus. Because I know the sacrificial journey that God had us on to bring Justice into our family. And this has become a beautiful reminder to me of how much it cost Jesus so that I could call myself a child of God….though I’ll never fully be able to grasp the cost of Jesus giving his life for me, our adoption journey has given me a tiny glimpse of His sacrifice for my own redemption.

You can listen to the full talk from this night by clicking here to visit our church website. Scroll down, and click on the talk entitled Adoption and Foster Care 11/17 .

3 comments:

us said...

Fear 1. We have so many tools at our fingertips to help with attachment these days! Internet, support groups, counselors, friends, books, church etc. One good resource is: empowered to connect (dot) org. If you need help, you can most definitely find it!

Most all of the the older adoptee's families I know, have had good transitions. Some have had to do counseling longer than others to heal. But wouldn't you do this for any homegrown child if they needed help? One family's child who came from a hard place, a war torn nation, has been showing fruits of being raised in a Christian home. Over the years it has been frustrating to the parents when they don't always understand every behavior, but they have poured their love into that child with getting the help needed, even when it has been thankless. This child has started to share the gospel to peers! If that's not a picture of the redemption of adoption, I don't know what is!

You probably won't immediately love the child when you bring them home. You will have to learn to love them and they to you. It truly is an action.

Fear 2. All the families I know have had it turn into good rather than bad. The homegrown children learn about sorrow and grief and they learn compassion. They also see adoption first hand- how we are to actively love the deemed 'unlovable'.

Adoption is a cause worth fighting for!

Mrs Y.

Janel said...

These are powerful insights! Thank you for posting!

Jantina said...

Great post b/c you hit the nail on the head with one of our biggest fears... We worry so much about the 'what if' the kids doing okay and then hit teenage years and rebel. What if in their own rebellion they hurt our biologically children? But can I live with the feeling of responsibility of making the decision to bring someone into our house who potentially may or may not ever hurt my kids? Can we be open and honest parents? Can my own children absorb new members into our family? In our situation... the potential adopted children are older than our biological children. Every single person we have consulted sees that as a red flag. We never did until everyone else did. We ask God daily to help us discern His plan for our life. Explore every angle, be prepared a best as we can. Buy my biggest fear... is undetected mental instability that causes the children to act aggressively.