Adoption and Letting Go

One of my very favorite quotes from John Paul II is a quote on adoption.

“To adopt a child is a great work of love.  When it is done, much is given, but much is also received.  It is a true exchange of gifts.”
He was absolutely right, much is received.  We are often told that our children are lucky, but we always respond that we are the ones who are blessed through the gift of adoption.  
Why is it then that so many people are hesitant to adopt?  It often seems to be something that’s nice for other people to do.  I have to admit that I often have a hard time reading about couples who are trying all sorts of medical avenues (within the confines of the church) to conceive, while there are so many children in the US and around the world who are in desperate need of a family.  My heart is burdened for these children.  
I know adoption is difficult.  I know there are many earthly obstacles and children don’t simply fall into our laps because we will them to do so.  Finances, paperwork, and preconceived notions, pack a big punch.  What if these earthly obstacles are excuses that we have put up to protect ourselves?  We put so much energy into trying to conceive that it can become our job, our identity.  What if we put that energy into providing a loving home for a child that God has already put on this earth?  
No, I don’t think the earth is over-populated and no I don’t think women should stop seeking medical intervention to help overcome infertility.  I’m only saying that God commands us to look after the orphans and the widows.  Maybe for some of us that involves welcoming a child into our home as an adoptive parent.
This is where the letting go comes into play.  Adoption is letting go.  Letting go of our fears, anxieties, and our desire for control.  Letting go of the “what if’s”.  We need to let go of the thoughts that we have somehow failed, our bodies have failed, or we have done something wrong to miss this blessing of biological children.  Every bit of suffering is meant to draw us closer to Christ.  We need not be so focused on the perceived missed blessing of not conceiving a child, that we neglect the blessing that God is trying to give us.
We have to let go of how we have envisioned our family and embrace the family that God has called us to have.  That means different things to different people.  Maybe for some it means that they will never have children.  For others it means letting go of the dream of having a large family, or maybe it means parenting children of a different race. 
When we are open to God’s plan it doesn’t confine us or box us in, quite the contrary, it frees us to truly be the persons God created us to be.  Maybe in striving so hard for a biological child we are missing the blessing God has in store for us, the blessing of simply being parents.
“For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope”  Jeremiah 29:11

Jen blogs about faith, home education, and adoption at Forever, For Always, No Matter What

10 thoughts on “Adoption and Letting Go

  1. This is a beautiful post about adoption and the blessing it can be for ALL three parties involved (bmoms, children, and aparents).However, there are some situations where couples cannot adopt (either for the time being or indefinitely), and if they continue trying to overcome the health issues preventing them from conceiving, I don't think that means they are not open to adoption. We never know the full story, so we should try not to judge based on our preconceptions.Of course, that being said, I find certain illicit treatments to be the "extreme" in selfishness, such as surrogacy. I can understand the desire for IVF (though I would never do it) more than I can surrogacy, because I can understand a woman's desire that her God-given womb be filled with life, which is its sole purpose as an organ. But surrogacy seems to be more about "I want my biological material to be passed on to my progeny more than anything else in the world!" – and that's where I wonder, did those parents even discern adoption at all??


  2. I also would expand on your final line here:"Maybe in striving so hard for a biological child we are missing the blessing God has in store for us, the blessing of simply being parents."There came a point, after my husband and I were first put "on hold" by our adoption agency, when adoption literally became my obsession. I couldn't eat, couldn't sleep, thinking about when and how this adoptive child would come to us. In the end, after the obligatory 6 month wait, we were denied approval to adopt. And all that time became wasted. Then, my thoughts became, "I am missing out on the blessing of adoption, I will never adopt," etc.So, for many, I think the better statement would be:"Maybe in striving so hard for a child we are missing the blessing God has in store for us, the blessings of the journey of childlessness."


  3. TCIE – I understand where you are coming from, and my intent certainly is not to be judgmental. It has been my own personal experience to know many who will basically stop at nothing to conceive, much like the surrogacy, it's their own biological material or nothing. When asked about adoption the reply was "we wouldn't do that".And just as my heart grieves for the children who do not have permanent loving homes, my heart grieves for those who so desperately want to be parents, yet for a myriad of reasons it just isn't going to happen. Both of these situations weigh on my heart and are in my fervent prayers. Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment. God Bless


  4. I needed this today. As you said, adoption is difficult. At times the obstacles seem endless. We were very fortunate during our first adoption. Our road was smoothly paved and we were blessed more than we could have ever imagined. This time, however, it seems to be quite the roller coaster with a whole lot of waiting.I have come to the conclusion recently, that this is what God wants us to experience and that it is completely possible that we will only ever be the parents of one child. I am OK with that. Yet, I am praying for more. Either way, I know God has a reason… for all of this.Thank you for posting this perspective of adoption.


  5. Your post is wonderful- yet….. My husband and I tried for several years the infertility route that was appropriate and failed. We visited the shrine to St Gerard Majella numerous times and failed. We even attempted to become foster parents in NJ and our paperwork was lost numerous times and we would have been forced to retake the course due to the ineptitude of the agency. Finally we turned to Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Trenton, from whom I learned that I was unfit to be a mother because I have a history of recurring depression! (Which was under control via therapy!) Now that we are in OH, am not sure what to do! At age 49, infertility has been my curse, and painful. We would love to adopt, but when CC declares you to be unfit due to depression, what are you to do?d the


  6. Jen, This is very thought provoking. I read in one of your testimonies that you "stopped praying to get pregnant and started praying to be a mom" (I think that was you-?). I love this! You are a wonderful advocate for adoption! I don't share this very often (in public or private), but while we have a large family, we have lost (through miscarriage) more children that we have. It has been a painful journey. So much of it is also about "letting go" and knowing that those little ones weren't mistakes or tragedies, but gifts from God as much as the children we have here on earth. We had considered adoption, but that door never opened. I don't know if we could have pushed harder. Either way, your testimony is a blessing. Several people nearest and dearest to my heart are going through adoptions right now, and you give me at little peek in that world. Hopefully, it makes me a better friend to these families.


  7. It has been my own personal experience to know many who will basically stop at nothing to conceive, much like the surrogacy, it's their own biological material or nothing. When asked about adoption the reply was "we wouldn't do that".I agree with this 100 …. no … 1000 percent! And yes, you sum it up well … that is, you are not referring to those who are refused adoption by outside sources, but rather those who are simply that attached to their own DNA. (One of my closest friends has remained unhappilychildless, primarily because her husband will accept nothing but his own genetics.)Take heart, for there are many in agreement with you, even if you don't hear from us all. I have never posted here before, but count hubby and I as one of many who never even attempted fertility treatment. I have PCOS, so we know the cause. But husband and I literally went straight for adoption, and our daughter from China is truly the biggest blessing of our lives. 🙂


  8. Therese – thank you for Hannah's Tears and for creating such a place where we can have these discussions!Robin-Most of all I think God wants to be open to his will and you are doing just that. Praying for you my friend.Lori-you're always so sweet and encouraging! I'm sorry to hear of your loss via miscarriage, I know that often feels so forgotten b/c sometimes it was only you and your husband who knew. But God will never forget your openness to life! God BlessAnonymous-thank you for "getting" my post and for your thoughtful comment, it 's much appreciated. God Bless


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