Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Lie of Adoption

Adoption is full of choices.
What kind of adoption will you pursue: domestic, international, foster care?
Which agency will your work with? What attorney will help you finalize? What other adoption professionals will you work with?

What kind of child are you open to in regards to age, race, siblings, etc.? 

What kind of openness will you share with the birth family?
The choices seem endless once you begin your adoption. You realize there are many paths to take and deciding which is the best for your family is an important part of the process. Adoption is also full of checklists and paperwork. There's a tremendous amount of forms to complete, boxes of preferences to check, and appointments to schedule.

In some sense all of these choices that are available are a blessing. There's tremendous value in doing your research and finding the best fit for your family. There's wisdom in researching all of your choices, educating yourself on what is out there, and prayerfully making decisions as a couple. And being in a space where you are accomplishing tasks that get you closer to bringing a baby home are exciting and life-giving. 

BUT. All of these choices also create a false sense of control in adoption.

Because at some point in your journey, you are left to wait. The choices have been made. The paperwork is complete. The nursery has been decorated. The baby registry is finished. And you're left with seemingly nothing else to do but wait...

And the choice is left to someone else. An expectant family looking over profiles, making their own choices about the future of their child. You realize the control you thought you had isn't near as much as you had hoped.

When all the "doing" is done, the lie of control lingers and can leave you grasping at a false sense of security and comfort. The choices being made in this stage of adoption are just as endless. But this time, they are not yours to make.
When will we be chosen?
What can we do to make sure we're chosen?

Is the expectant mom making healthy choices for her pregnancy?

How will our time at the hospital unfold?  
What if none of this works out in the end? 
This is where the adoption process can become completely overwhelming, fear-inducing, and anxiety ridden. To the point that it can even lead a family to be completely paralyzed and shaken that they are no longer in control and it's all left up to "fate."

But it doesn't have to feel this way. Our fears don't have to become controlling. Our anxiety doesn't have to become our mode of operation during the adoption process. And we don't even have to ensure we have complete control over our adoption.

We can rest, because the truth is we're never really in total control of our lives.

Even while struggling with infertility, you can't ever make yourself get pregnant even if you eat all the right things and take all the right medications at all the right times. Even with a biological pregnancy you can't choose the gender or guarantee the health of the baby. And with many other situations in our lives, there's so much that's simply outside of our control.

While initially that can be a horribly unnerving thought, it can also be incredibly freeing.

What if God's plans are better for us?  

I've found there's a crucial step that every adoptive family needs to come to in order to have peace and contentment through the adoption process. You can hold on to control so tightly that you actually miss what God has for you. Or you can release your white-knuckled grip on your plans and hand them to Jesus. 

But how? How do you overcome the fear and the "what ifs" and the inability to control outcomes in adoption?

Practically, the best way I've seen couples do this is to walk through every open door they have in front of them. Then, prayerfully ask God to slam that door shut if it's not His will. There's always a tension in adoption (and in every aspect of our lives) where we weigh good, solid, common sense and wisdom with a confident and reckless faith. When we ask the Holy Spirit to take the lead. And when we do all we can then leave it with God to do the rest. Sometimes taking the first step can feel like taking a leap off the ledge. But sometimes, knowing when to let God take over is even more challenging.

The lie of adoption (and all of life) is that we are in control. But the beauty is that God is in perfect control and completely trustworthy.

In the end, it's God who creates families. He knows best. His timing is perfect.

And when He is the author, God always writes the best stories.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. 
{Ephesians 3:20-21}

For more encouragement in the wait...

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