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Parenting Your Children As You Take the Journey Called “Adoption”

April 22, 2013

As a consultant, I am often asked by clients, how to best help their children walk through the adoption journey. Let’s face it. Adoption, as some have said, is not for the faint of heart, even for grown ups!

The journey is full of ups and downs. There are disappointments and sometimes true losses.

The process of presenting a family profile to an expectant mother, having her chose a family, and knowing it might NOT be you, does flip flops on the heart.

So what do you do if you’re starting this journey, and you already have children in your family?

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Educate and Prepare:

Start talking about adoption early on, explain the process in simple clear terms.

Start a simple discussion about what it would be like to have another brother or sister in the family.

Say something like this: “Well, we have been praying and we have felt God talking to us about opening our home to a child who needs a family, a child whose mother and father aren’t able to care for them and give them all that they need. Sometimes this happens when the parents are very young and not ready to have a family, sometimes it is because there are things in their life that are very, very hard and raising a baby isn’t something they can do. We want to be ready to welcome a baby that needs us if this is what God has for us. When we bring a child into our family and make them our child, it’s called ‘adoption’. It’s just like when God invites us into His family and calls us His children.

You can say, “We’re going to start praying that God will lead us to the child He has for us. When He does it might be a big surprise, so we want to start getting ready now.”

Read books about adoption. (Include books on diversity/interracial adoption if this is a possibility for your family.)

Include your children in your fundraising efforts and paperwork preparation.

Set time aside to pray as a family for your adoption daily!

Keep in mind that the level of involvement will vary with the ages of your children.

Shepherd and Protect:

Somethings are too big for children to carry. Once you are ready to adopt and start the application and presentation process, there are some things that are just too much for children to process, to hard for them to understand. There are times when it is not best to tell your children that you are being presented to a birth mom. You know their hearts. You know what they can handle, and their ages will play a part in their readiness for this as well. Because of the uncertainty of adoption, I caution you against including young children in this part of the process.

My personal feeling is that for your preschool- elementary aged children, it is enough to pray together daily during this process. Ask God to lead and guide your family as you open your hearts to adoption, and ask him to help birth moms who are making big decisions for their child’s future to hear from Him and make wise choices. Ask God to bring you the child He has for your family, at just the right time.

If you include do them in the “presentation” process, be wise. Don’t let your emotions jump out saying, “We’re being shown to a birth mom today, and we might get picked!” Turn your focus to prayer. You might say, “There is a brave woman who is choosing to give the gift of life to her child, but she is not able to be a parent to this child. She wants to look at families and find one to be the family for her child. We said she could look at our family profile. Let’s pray that God shows her exactly who that family is.”

When you are matched with a potential situation, I encourage you to continue to walk with a shepherd’s heart, protecting your children. No adoption placement can take place until after the baby is born. This means it is very important that you do not speak in concrete terms about your adoption at this stage.

If your children are old enough, you can explain the legal risks and the legal process in simple terms. If they are too young to understand, I encourage this approach: “A very special woman is going to have a baby. She doesn’t feel ready to be a momma to this baby, and she is thinking about having us be the family for her baby. She has some time to be sure this is the right choice for her and her baby. But we have told her that if she decides this is right, we will come and be a family for this baby. We need to pray for the next {#days, weeks, months} that she will have peace with her decision. We are going to get ready so that if she chooses to have us be the baby’s family, we are ready to go.”

When it is time for the baby to be born, you might consider this approach: “The woman we have been praying for is going to have her baby soon. We are going to travel to be with her, so that we can pray for her and help her through this time. We don’t know for sure what will happen, but if she still decides that she wants us to be the baby’s family, we will say, ‘Yes’. Let’s pray together ask God to help us all.”

Ultimately, this approach sets your children up to a life of learning to trust God with their lives. It teaches them to have a heart for the birth mom’s big decision, for the baby she is carrying, and allows them to see the power of prayer. What you are showing them is that as a family, you are going to walk in love towards those in need, and you are going to trust Him to bring the baby that He has for your family at just the right time.

Every time you do pray for a birth mom and her baby, regardless of the outcome, thank the Lord as a family that He gave you the opportunity to pray for them and bless them.

CELEBRATE AND LOVE!

When you are blessed to receive a baby into your family through adoption, CELEBRATE! Be intentional about celebrating this new arrival and use this time to talk more about the spiritual parallel of adoption. Adoption is a unique love lesson! A great opportunity for your children to understand the beauty of unconditional love and the power of redemption.

And continue to pray for your child’s birth family as a family. Whether your adoption is closed or open or somewhere in between. Continue to pray and bless them as a family.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. lesly barnes permalink
    April 22, 2013 10:23 pm

    This is fabulous advise.

  2. April 23, 2013 12:19 am

    Wonderful advice.

  3. April 24, 2013 3:47 pm

    Reblogged this on Christian Adoption Consultants.

  4. June 4, 2013 8:51 pm

    Reblogged this on A Path of the Heart and commented:
    This is amazing advice, Tracie!! Too great not to share!

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