Help! My son or daughter wants to adopt!

We send them out into the world and hope beyond hope that they make the right choices.

Help! My son or daughter wants to adopt!

When our children were young, we could control their lives and make decisions on their behalf.

Their independence got as far as climbing onto the kitchen counter to steal a biscuit. Nowadays, it’s a different story: we send them out into the world and hope beyond hope that they make the right choices.

But what if your grown-up child announces that he/she wants to adopt? You may be delighted – or quite understandably, you may feel anxious. So how should you respond if you believe your child is making the wrong decision?

Perhaps you can identify with one of these concerns:

They haven’t thought it through.

Adoption and fostering are huge life choices, and you’re right to be concerned if you believe that not enough thought has gone into this decision.

The simple way to find out is to ask. Have they read any adoption books, websites or blogs? If they’re a Christian, a good starting point is Krish and Miriam Kandiah’s Home for Good.

Have they been to an information event, perhaps held by the local authority, an independent adoption agency, or Home for Good?

Have they talked with other adopters and foster carers about their experiences?

Ask the question – and listen to the response. If you’re still not convinced, gently encourage them to take some of the actions above.

They don’t know what they’re letting themselves in for.

Yes, adoption is a big deal, with ramifications for the rest of their life.

But, as long as they’ve thought it through, you may need to assume that your child does know what they’re letting themselves in for.

When you’ve spent your life trying to protect your child from suffering, it’s hard watching them make a decision that might lead to unnecessary suffering.

But another way to look at it is this: you’ve spent your life loving and nurturing your child, watching and guiding their development – and now you have a wonderful adult child to show for it!

This adult child has inherited your loving parental instinct – but their journey has led them to the decision that instead of, or perhaps as well as, wanting to love a birth child, they want to love a child who may not have received love from anyone else.

Yes, a child adopted from care will face numerous obstacles through life which may well have an effect on the whole family. But your adult child is committed to walking his/her child through these challenges, hoping that this child’s suffering will be minimised as a result of finding a stable, loving home.

When Jesus went to the cross, he suffered excruciatingly more than we’ll ever have to – in order that our own suffering would be minimised – and, one day, eradicated forever.

Adoption and fostering – taking on the suffering of another – is a small reflection of God’s wonderful, sacrificial love. It’s something to be immensely proud of in your adult child!

Their birth children will suffer.

If your child has birth children, then you may have a valid concern about the impact of an adopted sibling.

Have you shared this concern with your child? What is their response? If their attitude is to disregard your concern, brushing it under the carpet, then you could gently suggest that they do some research on the joys and challenges of a blended family. This article, for example, gives advice on preparing birth children for the arrival of an adopted sibling.

But, if your child has considered all of this and still wants to proceed, then perhaps they are choosing to look at it a different way.

Perhaps they know they can’t fully protect their birth children from suffering – and that any challenges which arise in the future will be dealt with together, as a family. Perhaps they know that suffering can produce, in the words of Paul, “perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4).

Perhaps they are praying just as desperately for their children to develop a strong personal faith, full of integrity, resilience and wisdom – and, for their particular family, the story God is weaving for them includes adoption. They aren't unaware of the challenges - but they trust that God will provide for each member of their family.

He/she won’t find a marriage partner.

It’s hardly unreasonable to hope that your children might one day settle down with a husband or wife, so when your single adult child shares their hope of adoption or fostering with you, it wouldn’t be surprising if this were your first thought.

Alison speaks about the subject wonderfully in this interview. In her case, God provided her with a husband who shared her vision of caring for vulnerable children – what a blessing!

This may happen for your child – or it may not. The fact is that they’re pursuing God’s call in the full knowledge that it may cost them a marriage partner.

Paul wrote of the godly advantages to being single, yet it’s something we don’t emphasise in our Western culture of romantic fulfilment, where it’s every child’s dream to find their soulmate.

But being married – however happily – is something which only lasts for our time on earth, and being single is something which can glorify God into eternity if we allow it to. We will all, eventually, be glorifying God together, in His presence, as single, equal created beings. Keeping this perspective helps us not to see marriage as a Life Goal.

I’m not sure I can be an adoptive grandparent.

If I’m honest, I wasn’t sure I could be an adoptive parent – despite sensing it was God’s call, and feeling otherwise excited about it.

Whenever I doubted myself, crying out “But I don’t have enough love!”, God would answer with a simple “No – you don’t. But I do. I have enough for every child I’m going to give you.”

If you’re a Christian, you can believe this promise. God never runs out of love – because He is Love. As you pray, He will give you everything necessary to love your new grandchild as if they were biologically related to you.

Why not speak to other adoptive grandparents about their experiences? My parents and in-laws would both testify to how our adopted children have ‘slotted in’ to the family: they aren’t treated any differently, or loved any less, than our birth children.

This isn’t something that the grandparents have tried to do – it’s just happened! They’ve fallen in love with our adopted boys as much as they fell in love with our newborns!

***

If your family may be welcoming new adopted children in the future, keep talking about your fears and anxieties – your child will want to help allay some of those. Keep talking to others who’ve been through what you’re about to experience. Keep reading, keep praying. Involve yourself in the process as much as you can.

And, one day, you can look back at this and recognise, with joy, that you have been part of helping a hurt, wounded and fearful child to feel loved, healed and safe.

‘Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was ill and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me…whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25: 34-36, 40)

Author:
Written for Home for Good by Lucy Rycroft (LucyRycroft.com)


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