In December of 2020, I became an adoptive parent. I did not have much exposure to adoption before adopting myself, but I did know that I loved my little girl and was more than ready to promise forever to her. The journey has not been perfect, but I have realized a lot of the difficulties can turn into points of encouragement if I look at it from the right perspective. Shifting the point of view on adoption relationships to biological family and our child’s adoption story can turn difficult topics into encouraging ones.
Adoptive parents can be encouraged today that your child’s adoption mirrors your own adoption story into God’s family. God chooses adoption as a way to explain the supernatural process of salvation. Ephesians 1:5 says, “He predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.” If you aren’t adopted yourself, there are many aspects of your child’s adoption that you will not be able to relate to. However, you can relate to being pursued, loved and cared for by someone who did not have to do so.
God uses adoption not as a negative experience in scripture, but as a positive. Moses is saved by being adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter. Samuel goes to live with Eli and becomes a great servant of God. Mordecai steps up to raise his cousin who then saves an entire nation. Even Joseph adopts the son of God as his own son. Again and again, the Bible shows that adoption can be a positive thing and ultimately uses that example to illustrate the finality and power of salvation.
Biological Families Aren't A Threat
Adoptive parents can be encouraged today that your child’s connection to their biological family does not threaten your relationship. In fact, their relationship complements it instead. Without a doubt, the hardest thing for me to overcome as an adoptive parent was recognizing I could not demand that my daughter loves me above her biological family. That’s pride. That’s selfishness. My daughter loves her biological family and should. There will always be a connection, a desire to know more, a yearning to know ‘what if.’
I have learned these feelings and connections are not a threat to the bond that my daughter and I have. Instead, it’s just two bonds formed. Adoptive parents should be encouraged today that their child can love their biological family and love their adoptive family. Validating and encouraging my daughter to express her feelings about her biological family is just another way for us to grow and connect.
If your child doesn’t know their biological family because their adoption is private or international, or they were too young to remember them, there is still room for love and conversation. Yes, their biological family may be strangers to your adoptive family – but they have still hugely impacted your lives. For some, they made a decision for life and, therefore, an adoption plan that has provided one of the biggest blessings in the form of a child and family member. For others, they struggled with safe parenting, and the courts made the decision that termination of parental rights and a plan of adoption was in the child’s best interest. Whatever the circumstances are be encouraged by the bravery and love it took for the biological parents to make an adoption decision.
Use Their Story As Encouragement
Your child’s adoption story is an opportunity to build connection and trust with your child. There will never be a time when my daughter abruptly finds out she is adopted. I have always openly talked about her adoption story and her biological family in everyday conversations. She knows she has two moms and two dads. She knows she has siblings that live elsewhere. In age-appropriate language, she knows why she came to me. Nothing is a secret. Adoptive parents can be encouraged because sharing your child’s adoption story with them is an amazing opportunity to build a bond.
I am teaching my daughter that coming to me with hard topics is welcomed, that she can share any feelings with me, and I won’t shut her down. I am a safe place. Adoption stories are gifts from God for adoptive parents to be good stewards of. It is an opportunity to use their child’s story to build connection and point that child to the ultimate story of adoption – the Gospel.
We Have The Best Example
Adoptive parents can be encouraged today because they have the greatest example of an adoptive parent: God himself. In addition, our child has the unique opportunity to form two strong bonds with two families that love them. We can be encouraged because our child’s adoption story is a perfect opportunity to grow trust and connection with our child by being open and honest with them. These little shifts in thinking become big mindset changes in the long run. Mindset changes will encourage our children to express their thoughts and feeling about being adopted as we lovingly come alongside them. And what adoptive parent is not encouraged when thinking about the day they adopted their child?
“And do you promise to love this child as if they came from your own body with all the rights and privileges of a biological child?” It was at that moment my daughter reached her tiny hand over and placed it on my leg, smiled at me, “I will” I said, as I smiled back at her. Be encouraged today that although you might have a similar moment in your own child’s adoption, nothing compares to when God looked at you and said “I will.”