This is part of a multi-blog series called “Adoption Is” for National Adoption Month 2019. Read the entire series.
People mean well. They really do and I appreciate it. From time-t0-time, someone will tell us something like, “You’re a saint.” Or, “you’re such a special family.” I can tell you without any pretense that it is super uncomfortable and in fact, I actually hate it.
Don’t get me wrong, we appreciate the sentiment, but we’re so far from sainthood. However, on this 30-day quest to share about adoption for National Adoption Month, I’m sharing the good, bad and uncomfortable about adoption. There is nothing more uncomfortable for me than today’s topic: adoption is sacrificial.
Big commitments require sacrifice. Whether it’s raising a biological child, volunteering for a favorite cause or moving overseas for missions work. Adoption is no different, no more grand. As we were considering foster care, our path to adoption, we thought it would be a part of our life, not realizing that it becomes your life.
Sometimes, we all don’t realize the sacrifices made until years have passed or a major life event causes us to pause and reflect on the journey God planned for us. Upon reflection, here’s some of the sacrifices we’ve made over the years.
Career and Finances
Years ago, my bride left her full-time job to transition to full-time work homeschooling and caring for two very special little boys. In addition to homeschool mama, she also became household manager, doctor appointment taker (some weeks that meant 10+ over three counties) and so many other hats. God bless her.
After years running at a frenetic pace, with children back in school, she now has the opportunity to rest. However, she has chosen to sacrifice this most deserved time to help our family during a turbulent financial season. Frankly, it’s humbling. (Side note: Read more here about this venture for a practical way to come alongside our family).
In 2018, I took a significant salary reduction to stop the 24/7 work cycle and actually have face time with my family. But, our unexpected medical crises didn’t allow this new position to be successful. God placed a radically different opportunity in front of me and I can’t thank him enough. It’s allowing us to put our “yes” fully on the table for foster care and adoption.
Community is critically important to your adoption journey. Years ago, we were at a very comfortable church. They loved Jesus, the worship was good and it was where I spent my first 21 formative years in the Lord. But, when we made the decision to become adoptive parents, the isolation by some in leadership was sharp and severe.
We couldn’t deny the calling, but some were denying us with unfair and pharisaical expectations of this journey. After a lengthy and aching process, God led us out of that comfort to the unknown. It didn’t take long to see undoubtable evidence that the sacrifice of all that we knew was necessary for healing and growth together in adoption.
Likewise, something else that isn’t in the adoption brochure, and something that I’ve heard time and again from adoptive parents is the sacrifice of friendships. We’ve experienced three types:
- Friends that have walked away. These are the folks that couldn’t handle the healing issues that our children displayed. Behaviors, hurt, imperfections that disrupted their peace and comfort.
- Friends we’ve walked out. These are the ones we’ve chosen to sever fellowship with because of unhealthy tendencies that affect our children. This includes arguing with how we’ve parented or undermining our parenting work.
- Friends who’ve sacrificed all. These are the most valuable connections, they’ve rolled up their sleeves and said what can I do. It may be dropping everything to babysit at a moment’s notice or encouraging us via phone from a state far away.
There are so many other kinds of sacrifices. Vacations, eating out, social plans with friends, buying expensive aids for the children and so many more that I can’t list them all out. Again, we’re not saints. But, I want anyone considering adoption to know that this is a real, tangible, emotional part of this process, one that often doesn’t get mentioned in class or read in a brochure.
Adoption is adventurous. It is scary. It is divine. It is layered. It is intimidating. It’s thrilling. It’s waiting. And it’s sacrificial.