Guest post from adoptive mother Jane: In 1 Samuel 16:7 we learn “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” When our hearts soften to the idea of adoption, we realize that love is not based on biological connection, or attractiveness or skin color. God opens our eyes to a bigger world, where family is not who you are, but what you do! Love and relationship trumps all, when God is in the mix!
When I think about my husband and my close friends, it feels as if time has stood still. When I look at them, I see who they are inside and the wonderful times we have spent together. I don’t see the wrinkles and obvious signs of age, because I see their heart. I love them for who they are and not their outward appearance.
God sees each of us with ultimate clarity. He loves our spirit and our heart. Our exterior is a shell God looks past to our true essence. He connects with the part of us that will never die; the part that will join our Heavenly Father in His wonderful kingdom! God sees what we can be!
When your heart is open to God’s plan, anything is possible! He has a child picked out for your family. He can see beyond the superficial to the tender heart beneath. God wants to bring into your life a child that will complement the unique needs and characteristics of your family. Do you trust God enough to lay your family at His feet?
“Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.”
In Matthew 25:14-30 Jesus uses the parable of the talents to reveal His desire for us to use His gifts wisely. When we invest the gifts and actual talents God gives each of us wisely we build confidence and trust in His provisions, and repay His trust in our ability to tend His gifts with care.
Often this lesson is preached as a way to manage finances or material gain. But God’s provisions aren’t always material. He gives us each gifts, talents, and abilities which are unique and totally qualified for use right now, as well as in the future when He calls upon them.
Along a path to parenthood, God awards gifts such as a yearning to be a parent, a nurturing heart, and patience for children. But sometimes when hopeful parents endure hurdles or waiting as they attempt to build their family, those initial gifts and talents for parenting feel more like burdens. It’s easy to wonder why you’d be given talents or abilities, or the desire, if you couldn’t use them yet. Some will even fear their gift will never be used.
If you’re hoping to become a parent, or grow your family, reflect on the probability that God may have given you the desire and knack for parenthood because He’s preparing you for the child in your future. As you wait for your child, find ways to use your gifts for nurturing or care-giving to bless others. Invest your talents now in a way that will benefit your future as a parent.
Finally, consider the possibility that the calling to parenthood is a gift too. God will not invest such a gift if He doesn’t have plans to harvest it. Through prayer, discern how He may be leading you to use your passions, dreams, gifts and talents. He will reveal his immediate steps that will ultimately lead you to His plan for your future as a parent.
How will you respond when He asks you invested His gift?
If you feel called to build your family through adoption, take the steps necessary to explore and pursue this option.
Learn more or apply to adopt!
Even if you’ve hired the best adoption professional you can find, your home study is complete, you’ve painstakingly created a gorgeous profile, and your suitcase is packed and waiting at the door – you could STILL be overlooking this one powerful component for adoption success:
Show her that you care about her!
Here are six ways to extend yourself to a birthmother and show her that you truly appreciate her:
- Ask her how she is feeling today and if there’s anything you can do to help her feel more comfortable, whether physically, or emotionally. Show her that you are interested in her well being, and it’s not just “all about the baby.” Show her you see her as a unique person, not just the gateway to your soon-to-be child. Even if she doesn’t ask you to do anything for her, at least she knows you offered.
- Take her lead with the hospital plan. Does she want you in the delivery room? Does she seem to be more of a private person? Does she want to take photos together? How does she feel about seeing and holding the baby? Who does she want to hold the baby first? Honor her wishes. These are the final parenting decisions she is able to make. The next 18 years are up to you!
- Care about her and where she wants her life to go. Ask her about her goals and dreams, her interests. Instead of asking all the questions about the health of the baby (which you will likely learn through medical records, anyway). These are stories you can share with your child. Maybe your son or daughter shows an athletic gift – you will be able to say, “Your birthmother was a big soccer star at her high school!”
- Never judge her, and always accept her just as she is. Here is the woman who is going to hand you her baby, trusting you will love this child as your own. The past is the past and can’t be undone. If you really think about it, any one of us could be one event away from being in very similar circumstances.
- Be decisive and clear in your responses to her. Don’t leave her hanging in the balance for more than just a few hours at the most. If you need time to discuss things privately or pray over something, be honest, but don’t keep her waiting. She may start to question your commitment to her baby.
- Follow through with your commitments. It’s very likely that you are the most stable figures in her life at this time. She is going out on a limb to trust you. If you have promised something, follow through with it. This also extends to after the adoption. Be sure you send her the letters and photos you promised. Show her that she is a valued, important person in your life, and that she is not forgotten.
“Learning what to choose, and how to choose, may be the most important education you will ever receive.” –
Dr. Shad Helmstetter
Decisions, decisions, decisions. From the time we wake up to the time we go to bed, we are confronted with a whole range of choices. Every day decisions such as what outfit to wear to work or what to cook for dinner are a matter of routine and aren’t that difficult to make. But, there are certain major decisions in life that need careful prayer, thought, and agreement with spouse in order to give you peace and happiness.
A mature believer will seek God’s will and wisdom when faced with major decisions. Choosing to adopt is probably the biggest decision you will ever make as a couple. Therefore, you need to use not only your heart but also your head when making decisions on anything relating to the adoption process. Why is this important? Well, every decision you make as a couple regarding adoption may have serious and lasting consequences. That’s why, while you use your God-given abilities and knowledge, it is also important to prayerfully seek God’s perfect will for your future.
Adoption is heart-based and it involves all your emotions. But, it is not wise to make all the decisions in your adoption process based on your emotions. There are practical aspects to adoption, which have to be dealt with your head. Many couples rush headlong into adoption in their effort to bring home a baby as soon as possible and they end up being heartbroken because of some complication that could’ve been avoided had they used their head and their heart in decision-making. If you are one of them, it is not too late to make adoption work for you! Learn to forgive yourself and learn from your past mistakes. The next time you face a similar situation, you will know to weigh all the pros and cons before you make a decision.
As a Christian, invite God into the decision-making process. Seek his guidance and ask Him to show you how to make wise decisions that are in alignment with His will and His Word. Apart from praying, you must be committed to knowing His Word. Knowing God’s will at a time when you have to make a major decision will equip you with a biblically informed way of thinking and help you make the right choice. As Paul shows in an example in 1st Corinthians 6-10, before you make a decision you need to find out if your decisions will bring strength and encouragement to your life and ultimately glorify God.
At the end of the day, God honors every prayerful effort and intention. He knows you can’t ‘know-it-all’ before you decide. Only He can! So, trust in Him and prayerfully consider every decision before you move ahead.
Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family
– Kofi Annan
We’re familiar with the phrase ‘knowledge is power’. Truth be told, while we are familiar with this adage, we often forget to apply it in our everyday lives. This is especially true when it comes to reading and understanding important documents and contracts. We just run through the pages or give a cursory glance at the contents, before signing on the dotted line. Some don’t even do that!
The adoption process can be quite challenging and time-consuming. The prospective parents have only one thing on their mind – to bring their baby home. And that’s perfectly natural. Couples who have gone through unsuccessful assisted reproductive treatments like IUI, IVF, or ICSI suddenly have the hope of bringing home a baby of their own. They are excited and anxious at the same time and their emotions are understandable. But, the adoption process is pretty vigorous. It requires couples to spend time with the agency and the adoption professionals, as well as reading through the adoption contract to understand the terms of the adoption process.
If you have trouble paying attention to anything in print, you may have to take it up with your school! From grade school to college, many students just go through the motions of reading and writing, creating a veritable treasure trove of disinformation: a) In Guinessis, the first book of the Bible, Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree. B) Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the ten commandments; he died before he ever reached Canada c) Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock d) History calls people Romans because they never stayed in one place for very long. e) The pyramids are a range of mountains between France and Spain. While it may be very funny to read, we can all learn something from this – we must spend time in preparation when we are faced with life-changing decisions and we surely need to pay attention to what we read!
If your adoption is not complete and you have not read your adoption contract yet, I strongly recommend picking it up right now and spending time reading it. Don’t try to read it in between work or when you are mentally occupied with other things. You have to be mentally present when you read the contract. Ensure that both you and your spouse understand the entire terms of the adoption contract. A poorly read contract may cause you a lot of confusion and frustration in your adoption journey. If you have any doubts or questions, get in touch with your adoption professional. It is always better to be safe than sorry!