The Struggle to Reach Normal After an Adoption

Illustration of hands with hearts on the palms

After adopting two children through foster care, my husband, John, and I thought our family was complete. But we soon felt that God had other plans, that He wanted us to continue growing our family through adoption.

We had many objections, of course: We already have two kids. Will we be able to give them enough attention and care? Life with Daniel and Anna is great. Why would we go through the difficult adoption process again?

Those were all reasonable concerns. But at the end of the day none seemed as important as our continued sense of God's leading.

A family decision

We talked to Daniel and Anna, of course, who supported the idea from the get-go. "Well, we have a family," they said. "They can come live with us!"

Daniel's and Anna's compassionate attitudes at such young ages helped us cut through the clutter in our own minds. God so often speaks through children.

Eight months later, we finalized the adoption of our son Joshua. For Joshua, there would be no more moves. No more trauma. No more uncertain future. He was home. And John and I were feeling . . . despondent.

Yes, you read that right. A mysterious despair had crept into our hearts and minds. And then we had guilt from our feelings of despondency. Why should we have such feelings?

Our unexpected feelings

The unfortunate truth is that the pain and difficulty associated with a child's past, and how a family must face it, are rarely discussed. There is shame involved, and that shame leads to isolation and silence — the opposite of God's plan for our lives.

I think John and I felt pressure to act as though everything were fine. Somehow we felt these emotional struggles indicated that we'd lost faith. Looking back, we know that this kind of thinking wasn't true, but it sure felt true at the time.

Returning to normal

It took many months before our feelings returned to normal. But God used that exceedingly painful and unwanted period to continue teaching us that we live by faith, not by feelings.

Having gone through that difficult experience, John and I think that folks going through the same thing need to reach out and talk to others, seek professional help or join a support group. We know from Scripture that God's grace is sufficient for us and that His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). He can and will work through our weakness.

This article appeared in the October/November 2012 issue of Thriving Family magazine. It was adapted from Wait No More: One family's amazing adoption journey. If you enjoyed this article, read more like it in Thriving Familya marriage and parenting magazine published by Focus on the Family. Get Thriving Family delivered to your home by subscribing to it for a gift of any amount.

Copyright © 2011 by Kelly and John Rosati. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

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