Why I’m Grateful for this Unplanned Journey
About a month before our daughter was born, we got a phone call from our adoption agency.
“A birthmother is expecting soon. Do you want to meet with her?”
“Yes!” we said without hesitation. There was no question we wanted this baby after going through the long process of adoption paperwork.
Fast forward to today and we marvel at how God orchestrated a plan we could not have arranged ourselves.
Unlike some moms who planned the details of their pregnancies, including what season they wanted to give birth, what kind of delivery they would have, and where they wanted to give birth, we had no say in the plans of our children’s births.
And yet, remarkably, it all came together—one birthmother, two adoptive parents, and a newborn baby—who had no previous connection, suddenly united by the incredible bond of family.
And that’s just the beginning of why adoption is such an incredible journey.
Here are five reasons why I’m grateful for adoption:
1. Adoption is not an accident. Our family was part of God’s plan.
Adoption takes effort and planning–from the financial commitment to the mountain of paperwork.
For the birthmother, it takes making a major life-changing decision and following through on that decision.
None of these things happen by mistake. Both parties have to be intentional in pursuing this direction.
Even though adoption was not part of my original plan, it’s clear that God’s hand was orchestrating our lives with the birth of our children. We were strangers before God brought us together. Now we are family.
2. Adoption expanded my view of what family is.
I grew up in a small town in the Midwest where everybody looked similar and many people were distantly related. But in the midst of vanilla country America, I knew three adopted children at my school. It was my first glimpse into seeing what transracial adoption looked like.
Years later, when I went to Haiti for a mission trip and worked with orphans, I realized my heart could burst with love for a child who did not look like me.
When I started reading adoption books and meeting adoptive families, I realized that family can be anyone you open your heart to. But first it takes recognizing that family is more than a genetic relative. It’s all about love.
3. Adoption has made me a better parent.
I have learned to deal with challenging behaviors, special needs, an unknown health history, and a host of difficult questions.
I’ve learned to become an advocate for my children.
I’ve learned I don’t have all the answers.
Although parenting is a humbling journey in itself, adoption presents some unique challenges that have stretched me as a parent. Along the way I’ve sought help–mentors, books, a conference, and resources—all things that helped me grow.
I’ve also experienced some humbling circumstances. I’ve learned to accept things I cannot change. But I’ve celebrated our growth—including my own growth as a mom.
I’m not perfect. But I’m a better mom than I was.
4. Adoption has challenged me to deal with issues I might have avoided otherwise.
I’ve had to wrestle with white privilege, racial reconciliation, special needs, and what it means to be an adoptive, transracial family. These topics aren’t easy, but because they directly affect me and my children, I’ve had to face them head on.
5. Adoption has expanded my view of how Jesus adopts us into his family.
When you experience adoption firsthand, you begin to understand how much Christ loves us. Adoption shows us that we are loved unconditionally by a Father who will never leave us.
The Bible says, ”In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:5a).
Because I have been adopted into the family of God and call him Father, I begin to understand what that love means. I’m thankful that he adopted us into His eternal family.
My heart is changed, expanded and broken in ways I could not have imagined.
And I realize: I don’t deserve God’s love. But this–all this is grace.