Guest Post: When It Comes to Adoption, Community Makes All the Difference
We’re in the middle of National Adoption Month, and I’m taking the occasion to highlight various adoption stories of real-life families. It’s my hope that these stories will educate you about both the blessings and the challenges of adoption, and even inspire your family to consider adoption.
As part of her role, Kelly oversees Focus’ adoption and orphan care efforts, including our nationally recognized Wait No More adoption conferences. Kelly is a tireless advocate for children waiting for their forever home who regularly gives radio interviews on the topic, has been featured by the Wall Street Journal, and has even participated in a White House panel discussing adoption.
More than that, however, Kelly is an adoptive mom herself. I leave you with Kelly’s adoption story.
God knit together the beautiful family my husband John and I have through the gift of adoption. Over the course of several years, we adopted Daniel, Anna, Joshua and Hope from Hawaii’s foster care system.
We didn’t start out wanting to create a family through adoption – we originally thought we’d go through the usual means. However, when month after month went by and we didn’t conceive, we began to consider it and going where God led us. Turns out God had quite the adventure planned for our family!
In my book, “Wait No More: One Family’s Amazing Adoption Journey,” I share our adoption story in more detail, and I don’t sugarcoat the challenges of adoption. Adopting from foster care has its rewards, but it’s definitely not an easy road.
God led John and me to adopt children who came from troubled pasts. We met Daniel, our oldest son, when he was a 6-month-old boy. His birth mom’s choice to use drugs and alcohol while pregnant continues to impact his health and development today. Anna came to us as a newborn girl whose birth mother suffered from mental illness. We first met Joshua as a 4-year-old boy who didn’t talk and wasn’t potty trained. Hope came into our lives as a feisty 2-year-old who hadn’t been disciplined or hardly parented.
In short, John and I had to get to know little ones who had entire histories that didn’t involve us– but whose pasts had negative consequences that we’d have to help them through.
And the truth is, we couldn’t have done it without the help of our friends and family. You’d think my book on our adoption journey would focus primarily on the story of “Team Rosati.” The fact is, however, its pages are filled with names of people who have supported us along the way. Their practical care, prayers and friendship have lifted us up when we thought we couldn’t go on.
There’s Deeanna, Hawaii’s “go-to” Christian for adoption. She introduced us to two of our children, shepherded us through our early foray into the foster care system, and counseled me through some of the tough times.
There was my friend and neighbor, Daria, who fielded my nervous calls as I took care of my newborn Anna.
There was “Uncle Pastor” Chris, a treasured friend in our small group who baptized Daniel and Anna in the Pacific Ocean. He gave us his friendship and support when we needed it most.
Kaimuki Christian Church loved our family through the good and the hard times. Its people prayed for us regularly, brought meals and babysat the kids so John and I could get some much-needed rest from the constant demands of parenting children working through the aftershocks of their troubled early lives.
Here in Colorado, God has blessed us with an entirely new support system of people who love us and take care of us. People here helped us navigate our children’s health and emotional issues. And above all, they’ve loved our kids. For National Adoption Month this year, colleagues from work and people from church coordinated to bring us dinner during the entire month of November.
These friends and family in Christ are “wrapping around adoptive families.” After all, not everyone is called to adopt… but we are all called to care for the orphan. As part of the community that surrounds an adoptive family, you can wrestle in prayer, provide respite care, perform acts of service and claim the promises of God for that family.
Beyond individuals and families, churches can also wrap around adoptive families by providing an environment of unconditional love, nonjudgmental hearts and simple, practical support. Trust me, that help is needed – and deeply appreciated.
There’s a greater truth about adoption beyond the fact that it’s not easy. It’s that adoption is more beautiful than anyone can ever imagine. It’s worth it. I can’t imagine my life without Daniel, Anna, Joshua or Hope. I love each of them fiercely, and I’d walk this journey to becoming a family all over again in a heartbeat.
After all, nowhere in the Bible will you get the notion that the Christian life would be trouble-free. That’s not what Christ promised us. But He did promise that He would be with us in the midst of everything. He modeled to us an agape love – a selfless love – that adoptive parents learn to live out practically as they care for their children.
John and I like to encourage folks who are feeling that urge, that gentle pushing of the Lord’s hand at your back, to get involved with foster care or adoption. Don’t be afraid to go for it. There could be a child out there who needs you desperately. You could be the one to make a difference in his or her life. God may have a new adventure in store for your family.
Be open. Follow where God leads.