Gratitude for Adoption

I think it’s a beautiful coincidence that National Adoption Month is during November, traditionally a month set aside to focus on the many things we have to be thankful for.  Of course, the  word “eucharist” means thanksgiving and we have so much to be thankful for each and every day, not just in the month of November.  Being thankful truly is so central to our faith.  I’m always grateful for the opportunity to write about adoption and the impact it’s had on my life.
I really can’t start to write about being thankful for adoption without immediately thinking of my children’s birthmothers (or first mothers, as some prefer).  Five, unique and different women, living in different countries, different situations, yet all faced with a similar “problem”.  Five women who made the courageous choice to say yes to life and forever have part of their heart beating in another person, another person that they don’t have the opportunity to interact with on a regular basis.  
I don’t know the circumstances of how many of our children were conceived.  It’s possible that it wasn’t under the most pleasant of circumstances.  I’m so thankful that these women selflessly put that aside to make a choice for life.  To give these precious children a chance to grow up in a  stable, loving family, instead of stopping their tiny hearts from beating.

I’m thankful for the individuals who cared for our children until we were able to be united with them.  The hospital workers, the orphanage staff, foster families.  I’m thankful for all of the staff that worked behind the scenes to make our adoption a reality.  Our social workers, adoption agency directors and staff, and yes even the not always so pleasant government workers.  All of the myriad of people who came together so these particular six children could grow up in this particular home.  How can anyone doubt that God has his hand on every piece of paperwork? his ear on every phone call? adoption isn’t something a mere mortal could orchestrate.
I’m thankful for a husband and extended family that have said yes to adoption.  Friends, that have welcomed our children without missing a beat.
Most of all I’m thankful for a loving God who has given us the opportunity and the honor of raising these children.  Thankful that He has entrusted us with the awesome responsibility to love and cherish these six unique individuals.
Jen is a wife to one amazing husband and mom to six energetic kids.  Visit Forever, For Always, No Matter What where she blogs about their Catholic faith, homeschooling and adoption.  Visit her blog this month where she blogs all about adoption to raise awareness for National Adoption Month.

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

Our Adoption Story

Our story begins like so many others.  We met, fell in love, married.  Then we assumed we would start a family and live happily ever after.  It was the starting a family part that proved to be a bump in the road.  
After struggling with infertility, our thoughts turned to adoption.  One day as I was pleading for Mary’s intercession to “fix” our problem, I realized that I had stopped praying to be pregnant, but started praying to be a mom.  
Soon after I was reading our local paper I came across a small ad for an adoption seminar to be held in our area.  My husband and I had not discussed adoption at all at that point, but for some reason my attention was like a laser to that ad.  I tentatively asked my husband if he was interested in attending.  I knew right away if we went to this meeting it was going to be something I wanted to pursue.  I didn’t want to go, be encouraged and excited, only to have him say that he wasn’t ready to pursue this avenue.  Thankfully, he was on board right from the get go.
For a variety of reasons we felt God was calling us to pursue the International Adoption route, specifically to Russia.   We went to that initial seminar in February of 2001, our son Jacob was home, finally making us a mom and dad, in September 2001.  While we were waiting for Jacob to join our family, as difficult as the waiting was, I felt a profound peace that Mary was holding him close until we could get there.
We started the Russian process again and Jonah followed in early 2004. Sarah joined our family from S. Korea in the summer of 2005 (her adoption took only four months!), and Leah, also from S. Korea, made us a family of six in 2006.  For a while we thought our family was complete.  We were busy raising four children five and under.  We enjoyed it, but we were busy!  Our family was complete for a while anyway.

We started feeling God tug on us again in March of 2009.  This time we adopted two children from an island in the Caribbean called St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  Anna was five years old and Levi was two, when they joined our family in December of 2009.
I know often the fear of adoption is that it is a second best choice to having a biological child.  Like any other family we have our ups and downs, our disappointments and successes.  But biology or not, we are a family.   
I’m sure it’s the Grace of God, but I have never wished I would have experienced pregnancy, I don’t wonder what my biological children might have looked like or how they might have behaved.  I truly know that the children God has placed in our home through adoption, are the children that we were always meant to have.  I’m so thankful that we let go of the vision we had for our family and embraced God’s plan for our family.
Parenting is tough.  Parenting adopted children can sometimes have an added layer of issues, however, even on the most challenging days we wouldn’t trade it for a moment.  
Once upon a time I thought I might never hear another person call me “mom”.  But, through the amazing gift of adoption, I have the profound pleasure of hearing that word from six amazing children.
Jen blogs about faith, family, home education and adoption at Forever, For Always, No Matter What

Adoption: Heaven’s Gift

Looking back on the heartache of infertility, I see that through all the pain and disappointment, God hadn’t forgotten us.  by Marlo Schalesky   Read more

Next Article in Series:

  1. Overview
  2. Infertility Causes and Treatments
  3. The Grief of Infertility
  4. Coping With Infertility
  5. How Could He Still Love Me?
  6. Am I Less of a Man?
  7. Adoption: Heaven’s Gift
  8. Next Steps / Related Information

“Adopt an Unwanted Child or Baby”

Pray for Life!!!! Let us continue our 40 days of reflection on life, and give thanks to God for life in all its forms. Oh how very, very beautiful it is for those unable to conceive a child to adopt an unwanted child or baby ..this too is a gift of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit places a desire in the hearts of the would be parents to nurture, protect and bring forth life.

In every situation in life there are advantages and disadvantages, but one of the great blessings for a child of adoption is the realization how much, how very much it is wanted, and loving desire is beautiful it is also a prayer. How many children know joy, have the blessings of parenthood through adoption?

Countless and indeed in some families even more than one child. These parents are not one breath less true parents than its biological parents, indeed parenting is far more than simply producing children, it is born of love and service, bonding and the sharing of joy and tears.All parenthood should speak to us of God, and adoption has much to say because we are all adopted children of our heavenly Father, wanted and loved.The most profound and beautiful lesson any child can ever learn is that it is loved, because this enables the child to love and respond in turn.

An adopted child will have its struggles, it will have its challenges especially when it has to cope with former rejection, but to know that it was so wanted, prayed for, suffered for, longed for will give the child ultimately a deep security, for none of us can exist without love.

So let us pray for all families nurturing life with a new child in their midst, for all those who are contemplating adoption, and give thanks for them all, they too are great apostles for life !!!

Lovingly from our,

Poor Clare Colettine Nuns

Foster Care or Adoption: That Is the Question… Guest post by Heidi Hess Saxton

*This post has been reposted because of search error problems. Thank you for your patience and prayers in this matter. If any of you have problems finding postings or are searching for anything imparticular, please feel free to write us at the Hannah’s Tears email listed on the right side of this blog site. Thank You!

I would like to welcome my sister in Christ, Heidi Hess Saxton. I am very grateful to her for coming to my aide on how to discern foster care and adoption.

I have to admit, I know nothing about this, except for those whom I have known that adopted or were adopted. Heidi comes to answer many questions to put our minds to rest but maybe it will lead us to pray more deeply and maybe consider the question, “Is God asking me to adopt?”

That is the question in many of our hearts these days. How do we answer this question and put it to rest in our minds and hearts? Prayer and more prayer… and then there’s more….read on….

Should We Consider Adoption or Foster Care?
A Guest Post by Heidi Hess Saxton
Founder of the “Extraordinary Moms Network”

“How did you and your husband decide to become foster parents?”

It’s a question people frequently ask me when they discover we foster-adopted our two children. Most often, their tone indicates that we have done something extraordinary, even heroic.

In reality, no hand from heaven came down to deliver a special invitation to us. No angel materialized on our doorstep, kids in tow. Instead, God used our natural desires to have a family; a series of doors presented themselves to us, which we tested one at a time until we found the one that had our children behind it.

Door One: Acknowledge Grief and Fear

From the beginning, we knew that it would be highly unlikely that the ordinary path to parenthood was in store for us. A fertility specialist confirmed that my medical history and or ages made it unlikely that we would conceive without assistance. And yet, we were sure of two things: (1) If God wanted us to become parents, it would happen in His way, in His time. (2) We refused to let infertility wreak havoc on our marriage, as it had preoccupied and even destroyed the marriages of other couples we knew. We remained open and trusting, simply taking life one day at a time.

I was very fortunate in that Craig and I always seemed to be on the same page where these decisions were concerned. I knew couples where one – usually the woman – longs to enlarge their family, while the other is content just as things are. One is eager to adopt … while the other holds back because of the expense, or the inconvenience, or out of fear of what adding an “unknown quantity” might do to the existing family dynamic.

Door Two: Gather Information

In situations like this, it’s important to arrive at a mutual decision based not on fears, but facts. Talk with other adoptive and foster parents to find out the names of reputable agencies in your area – then go to an information meeting or two. Online sources are also available; websites like or tools like the “Adoption Guide Planner” can help you decide which kind of adoption for foster plan is best suited to your family situation.

Adoption need not be expensive, especially if you consider foster care or foster-adoption. You do not even need to own your own home, and a wide variety of resources are available to assist couples with more heart than money. In the state of Michigan, for example, children adopted out of the foster care system continue to receive the monthly subsidy and medical insurance benefits that they received while they were wards of the state; they are also eligible for a variety of benefits ranging from free hot lunches to free college tuition.

Neither is the age of a couple necessarily a barrier. Remember that no two children are the same, or have the same level of need. Couples who feel too old to do the “diaper brigade” may be a godsend for a grade-school child or teenager whose opportunities for a real home diminish with each passing year. Those who long for a baby – but who are willing to open their hearts a little wider, to include the infant’s older brothers or sisters – can find the blessings multiply with the challenges. In many cases, families willing to consider a child with special needs (both temporary, due to trauma, and more long-term physical and developmental needs) or a biracial child often discover that love comes in all shapes, sizes and colors.

Door Three: Prepare Yourself

So what do you need to be a good foster or adoptive parent?

Patience. Whether dealing with bureaucratic red tape, a toddler who hides food in the closet, or a boy-crazy teen, you will have ample opportunity to practice virtue.

Support. Even experienced parents will quickly discover that adoption and foster care is an “extended family affair.” When extended family lives too far away to be of practical assistance, it becomes that much more important to cultivate a support network – even if you have to pay for it temporarily. (In the beginning, a large chunk of our subsidy checks were spent on babysitters and housekeepers.)

Faith. Adoptive and foster parenting is not for wimps, or for those with an over-inflated sense of self-reliance. Extraordinary parenting (investing yourself in the life of a child you did not bring into the world yourself) requires spiritual strength, cultivated through prayer and the sacraments.

Time. A child that comes to you through adoption and foster care will often require special attention, especially in the first months that he or she joins the family. Especially for the first six months or so, the child needs one primary caregiver to assist with the bonding process. Depending on how he came to you, he may also have physical and emotional problems that may not immediately present themselves. Remember… parenting is a marathon, not a sprint!

Door Four: Make a Choice

As you gather the information you need, continue to ask the Holy Spirit to make your way clear to you. Remember that while God calls us to take up certain challenges in life, ultimately the choice is ours to make. Adoption and foster care is an adventure for the whole family … and yet, timing is very important.

For example, you may decide to postpone adding to your family until your youngest child is in school, or even wait until all your children are fully grown. Or you may decide that a younger sibling is just what you and your children need to grow in virtue!

If after gathering the information you need to make your decision together, and you conclude that adoption and foster care is not appropriate at this time, there are other ways to make a difference in the life of a child. You can volunteer as a tutor or mentor through your local school or “Big Brother/Big Sister” program. Become a CASA volunteer, who befriends and advocates for foster children currently in the system. Volunteer as a respite worker for foster or single parents. Host a fundraiser to assist families from your church who are pursuing international adoption, or organize special needs children, and offer them practical support – even sitting with the child while they go to Mass for an hour of uninterrupted prayer.

If you have a heart for kids … there are always children who need you!

Heidi Hess Saxton is the founder of the Extraordinary Moms Network and the author of “Raising Up Mommy: Virtues for Difficult Mothering Moments.”

Adoption Networking


There are many couples that are trying to discern adoption these days, so I wanted to give you a site of support. Laura Christianson is a Christian author and adoptive mother that started the Adoption Network. This is something we need to seek more of in our Catholic faith, spiritual support in the adoption world as we are all adopted into the family of Christ by His death on the cross. I pray these sites will be helpful to you in your discernment about adoption, sometimes it just takes a leap of faith. Blessing to all…

Below is the site for Laura Christianson and her YouTube interview:

Also check out Heidi Hess Saxon’s Catholic Adoptive Mom Column