Saturday, November 30, 2013

I Don't Have What It Takes (Adoption Fears and Falsehoods Series)

Adoption is a beautiful gift but there are many fears and falsehoods that keep people, even people who are seriously considering adoption, from pursuing it. So far in this series, we've talked about the hindrances "I could never afford to adopt," "Is there really a need in the U.S.," "Birthmoms are scary," "My spouse will never agree," and "Can I really love a child I didn't give birth to?"  Here is another common fear you may be wrestling with:

Being a parent is not for the faint of heart. It's tough and it's tiring and it's complex as much as it is rewarding and joy-giving. Our daily weakness and failures can weigh heavy on our hearts as we consider the enormous responsibility we have been given. We mess up. Every day. And it effects our kids in real ways. So, throw in the difficult complexities of adoption and,'s not surprising that we can fear that we don't have what it takes.

Being an adoptive parent may involve a variety of difficult parenting scenarios. Just to name a few:

  • talking with a child about their first-parents and the circumstances that led to their adoption
  • family members and friends not understanding you and/or discouraging your choice to adopt
  • dealing with insensitive and hurtful comments from others about adoption
  • parenting through tough identity issues as a child grows
  • painful conversations with your child as they suffer the effects of racism
  • patiently building attachment and working hard to bond with a child who has endured trauma
  • working through language and cultural barriers
  • caring for their physical and/or emotional challenges
  • having attention drawn to your family again and again wherever you go.

That stuff is hard-there's no denying it and it's certainly not helpful to ignore it. And while not every adoption is going to involve all of these, every adoption is going to require you to do some hard things as a parent. Despite the myriad of great adoption books and seminars out there, no one can fully prepare you for the tough parenting things that arise in adoption. Maybe we fear these things because, in part, we know it's true: we aren't good enough parents to make our kids "turn out" ok. We don't have what it takes to "make up for" what they've lost. We don't have "enough love" to make everything ok for them. Maybe that's why it's scary to think about parenting at all, let alone parenting through hard things in adoption!

But there is One who is a perfect parent. For every mistake we make, Jesus is able to bring good somehow. For every time we sin, Jesus is able to perfectly forgive us. On our own, we often don't have what it takes to handle all the complex issues in parenting biological children or those who come to us through adoption. We don't have what it takes. But our Father does. And He loves to bring healing to the broken.

Adoption is worth it. Talk about your fears. Pray about them. Work through them. Get equipped! Don't let your fears that you don't have what it takes to become an adoptive parent keep you from the gift of adoption. You will never be a perfect parent, but your Faithful God is.

(For more information on domestic adoption, please contact me at

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