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Welcome, you! We wish we could chat with you over coffee about what brought you here … Maybe the journey of adoption has been on your mind since you were a child. Maybe you just started thinking about it and want to learn more. Maybe you’re already a foster parent and want to move toward adoption. Maybe you’re well on your way through the placement process. Or maybe you’ve already adopted and are looking for support.
Whatever the specifics, we know one thing for sure: You have a heart for children. We do, too. And that’s why we want to do everything we can to help you consider the adoption journey from all angles — a few of the more obvious checkboxes, yes, but also some of the hard realities that not everyone is willing to talk about. Because we don’t just care about kids; we care about you, too.
We want to prepare you for what this path might hold. Adoption isn’t simply a one-and-done decision. It’s a lifetime commitment to another person, another soul — often a wounded soul. And the choice to make that commitment will mean wrestling with your own woundedness, with unrealistic expectations, with assumptions about what family looks like, with the significance of unconditional love. In other words, adoption does not come without grief — for the birth family, the adoptive family, and the adoptee.
The struggles will be legit, but they’re not the whole picture. If you’ve been adopted into God’s family, you know His hope and joy, even on the hardest days. In a similar way, while we recognize that families may face unique challenges related to parenting children who have experienced abuse or neglect, we also believe that adoption paints a powerful picture of God’s love.
We don’t want you to decide whether to move forward with adoption based only on either feel-good stories or fear of the unknown. Instead, we want to help you find the balance — to go into the journey with an open heart and open eyes. When you know the challenges to expect and how to meet them, you’ll be able to confidently say whether adoption is the right choice for you and your family at this point.
So, let’s look at some important pieces of the adoption journey.
NOTE: Focus on the Family is here to come alongside families who choose any type of adoption. However, our primary focus is on domestic adoption from foster care. To that end, this content is geared toward a married mom and dad thinking about adopting a child in the U.S. who is in the child welfare system. While the concepts here can apply more broadly, we don’t cover unique considerations of domestic infant adoption or international/intercountry adoption. (You can read our article about the basics of each type of adoption. And for details about the journey of intercountry adoption, visit the National Council for Adoption’s website.)
Thinking about adoption? Here are some key things you’ll want to do before taking the next step.
Whether you’ve wanted to adopt for a long time or only recently felt a nudge, step back and take a beat. Really pause. Give yourself space to be honest about why you want to adopt and what that choice might mean.
Why slow down when you just want to get on with the good business of nurturing a family? Because you can’t bring a child into your home assuming that your love will save them and everything will be great. Whether they are 17, 7, or an infant, they have a previous life story that will always be part of their heart and mind and body. And the impact of their history — combined with your history — has the potential to turn your world upside down as much as it does theirs.
People choose to adopt for all kinds of reasons: They want to permanently welcome a child they’ve been fostering. They believe in the value of children and want to build a family but struggle with infertility or other medical conditions that make biological birth unwise. They’ve seen the positive impact of adoption in others’ lives (perhaps even their own) and are ready to make a similar sacrifice and commitment. Friends might have named them guardians in the event of death. The possibilities are endless.
Still, as much as you might resonate with one or more of those reasons — as much as you might try to convince yourself that your reasons for adoption are simple and selfless — there could be more to the story.
When you dig deeper, do you believe that you’ll be “saving” a child? That you’ll gain higher standing in your community or church? That you’ll avoid an empty nest? That you’ll relieve personal pain or guilt of some kind? These motives won’t disqualify you from becoming a successful adoptive family. However, they can make it much more difficult.
So, be honest with yourself about your true motives for wanting to adopt. Ask trusted friends who know you well to speak into your situation, and humbly consider their input. Most importantly, ask God for wisdom. People often do what they think is right because it’s what they want. But He knows their motives.
Of course, none of us is perfect; we all wrestle with wrong motives in different parts of our lives every day! But if your overriding reason to adopt is that you think you’re the only one who can spare a child from a painful life or that adoption will somehow save you, stop. Work with a licensed counselor to get to the root of any pride or hurt so you’ll be in a healthier place to reconsider adoption in the future.
Do you have an early memory of learning that the world is broken? Whether or not you believe in God and salvation through His Son, Jesus, the truth is that humanity is not harmonious. Even the most idyllic childhoods aren’t perfect; even the happiest families have hard days.
You’ll want to be sure you’ve dealt with (or are dealing with) any wounds in your past before accepting the responsibility and privilege of helping an adopted child work through their woundedness. And having a secure attachment style is one of the biggest keys.
The Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development has spent decades researching attachment issues. They explain in a video on building attachment:
Authors and counselors Milan and Kay Yerkovich also speak to the topic of secure attachment in adult relationships:
These concepts apply to children, too, of course. Sadly, every adopted child has gone through a disrupted attachment and needs loving support and modeling to develop secure attachments. That guidance should come primarily from emotionally healthy parents.
With that in mind, you need to evaluate and work on your own attachment issues before welcoming a hurting child into your home. You and your spouse need to be able to answer this question: Are we a safe place where kids can bring their emotions and their needs and be honest about what they’re going through?
For more information, read the Yerkoviches’ book How We Love, and talk to a licensed counselor about taking an Adult Attachment Inventory.
Maybe you and your spouse are on the same page when it comes to adoption. But maybe not. And this issue is not one you want to resolve by “winning” an argument. Be open, be honest, communicate kindly, listen well, pray together, and talk to couples who are already on the journey. As God’s Word reminds us, “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.”
And your spouse isn’t the only consideration. Do you have biological children? Be aware that bringing a traumatized child into your home means that everyone in the house will experience that trauma to some degree and will need healing. Also, depending on the ages of your biological children, bringing a hurt child into your family may affect their ability to attach to you. Parents have told us, “I didn’t know this would affect how I parented my biological kids and be available to them.”
Evaluate any clashes that wouldn’t work, for whatever reason. Don’t assume that there won’t be problems — whether because an adopted child is the same age or sex as your biological child, or because they aren’t the same age or sex. The impact of adoption on children already in your home will be real:
It’s important to consider your motives, personal history, and an adoption’s potential impact on others. At the same time, you need to sift through deeper questions about adoption. Don’t gloss over prep questions available from adoption experts; they can be a huge help.
We recommend 10 Questions for Parents Preparing to Foster or Adopt. The article is designed to help you honestly assess what the adoption journey will require. Again, our goal isn’t to scare you off — we simply want to point you toward the hope and help that you’d need to form a strong and lasting connection with an adopted child.
Bottom line: Choosing adoption means choosing to love, protect, and advocate for a child for the long haul. That child becomes your child, for better or worse. Are you willing to parent a child who doesn’t trust you or attach to you — and who might never do so?
Would you like to talk with one of our licensed or pastoral counselors? Call us for a free over-the-phone consultation. We welcome the chance to hear your story, answer specific questions, suggest resources, pray with you, and give you referrals to qualified therapists in your area. (You can also reach our counselors online by filling out our Counseling Request Form.)
The Bible tells us that a father to the fatherless … is God in His holy dwelling … God sets the lonely in families … You can take comfort in the truth that God is in control — of your life and the life of any child you might consider adopting. Be faithful to what God has asked you to do.
If, after praying through the decision, you decide not to move forward (at least right now), that doesn’t mean you’re a failure, and it doesn’t mean that you’re abandoning a child to an unknown fate. Instead, it means you can trust that the Lord who created that child will continue to guide their path — and you can trust Him to guide you, too. (You might not be called to foster or adopt, but you can support other families who do.)
But if you are ready to move forward with adoption, do so!
You’ve decided to adopt! It’s okay to feel both excited and nervous. This stage of the process will help you learn how to prepare for challenges before they come up.
Where to start? Learn about adoption licensing requirements in your state. You’ll complete a background check, training, and a home study to determine if you’re able to provide a safe environment. And then you wait.
The average wait for a domestic adoption is less than two years, but nearly all adoptions take at least nine months to one year to finalize. One foster care dad described the uncertainty perfectly:
Waiting for a child you’ve prayed to adopt might feel never-ending, but fight against discouragement. “The adoption process is hard, but it’s good,” wrote one adoptive dad:
Try not to think of this in-between season as being “on hold.” Moving through the guidelines your state has set will keep you busy enough. More importantly, though, you can use the time to build a strong connection with your caseworker and learn all you can about how to effectively parent your child.
How is that possible if you haven’t yet been matched? The reality is that most kids in foster care have a history of trauma, whether from multiple home placements, abuse, or any other hardship. And so the most important insight adoptive parents can have is to understand what trauma does to a developing child — because toxic stress affects every part of a child: their brain, their body, their biology, their behavior, and their belief system.
Traditional parenting techniques don’t always work for a child who has experienced trauma — and as we’ve said, most adopted children have experienced trauma. An adopted child and their parents often need more support than they can get from only talk therapy. That’s where therapeutic parenting comes in: techniques that parent a child’s brain, not only their behaviors.
Dr. Daniel J. Siegel and Dr. Tina Payne Bryson describe the brain as having two parts: the Upstairs Brain and the Downstairs Brain.
Therapeutic parenting identifies reactive patterns inside a child’s brain and how those patterns influence behavior. Once you understand how your child’s brain functions, you can address concerns at that level before dealing directly with the child’s actions. Your aim is to help your child transition to a responsive mode where they make a conscious choice to engage in acceptable behavior.
As you consider the best way to connect with and help your child, look into interventions (also called modalities, tools, methods, approaches) that are available beyond talk therapy. Then proactively find a trained therapist who can help. In fact, it would be wise to meet with that counselor yourself before a child comes into your home. Having at least four sessions to learn therapeutic parenting skills can be some of the greatest prep work you can do.
We’ve posted a separate article with more information about suggested therapeutic interventions, but here’s a basic overview:
“TBRI is an attachment-based, trauma-informed intervention designed to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children. It uses Empowering Principles to address physical needs, Connecting Principles for attachment needs, and Correcting Principles to disarm fear-based behaviors.” (Watch an overview of these principles.)
This form of therapy addresses how a child engages with their environment — educationally, socially, and in normal activities of daily living. Occupational therapy works to improve fine motor skills, gross motor skills, motor planning, and self-regulation.
Sensory therapy helps with activities of daily living and social interactions. It helps a child organize and respond appropriately to information they get from their five senses. It also helps them balance their bodies and have spatial awareness.
Physical therapy uses exercise, massage, hydrotherapy, and other care to treat or manage physical disabilities, injuries, or pain. It can also help the body release stored trauma.
This treatment helps to improve a child’s speech when they have difficulty because of hearing loss, deafness, brain damage, or speech delays due to trauma.
Experiential therapy is an umbrella term for several therapies that use activities to encourage a child to identify and address issues and traumas. Experiential therapies include play therapy, equine-assisted therapy, art therapy, and wilderness experience therapy. (For more details about experiential therapies, read our article “Therapeutic Interventions for an Adopted Child”.)
Of all therapeutic parenting interventions, the most critical is TBRI. The intervention is based on years of research in attachment, sensory processing, and neuroscience, but the heart of TBRI is connection.
With this method of intervention, you use your child’s behavior to clue you in to what’s going on in their brain, and then you address their needs to help them feel safe so they don’t have to react in negative ways. You become a trauma competent healing parent.
“It’s important to remember that this is not parenting as usual,” said Dr. Purvis:
Make time to watch these seven short videos from Dr. Purvis. She offers honest yet hope-filled insights about how to prepare to bring your child home and how to create an environment of healing.
And when considering a counselor to work with you and your adopted child, look for a therapist who is trained in the TBRI approach. We also encourage you to watch the following TBRI videos and read Dr. Purvis’ books, The Connected Parent and The Connected Child. (You can also download a free chapter of The Connected Child: “Disarming the Fear Response With Felt Safety.”)
One of the most difficult parts of the adoption journey will be navigating attachment disorders.
Here you are … hopeful heart, open home, open arms, ready to shower your child with love — and then comes the agonizing moment when you realize connection isn’t happening.
Author and adoptive mom Shannon Guerra explains that we generally see reactive attachment disorder (RAD) or other attachment issues in foster and adopted children who have grown up in traumatic environments.
That’s why parenting a child with attachment issues and parenting reactive children or teens takes extra time and intentionality. Working through your child’s tantrums or your adolescent’s emotional outbursts day after day after day might feel exhausting, maybe even pointless. But connection begins when a child feels safe in their environment and emotionally — and that takes time. You can’t demand or coerce trust; it must be earned.
Even at that, you should prepare yourself for the possibility that the child you adopt might never fully attach to you. You’ll pray they will, of course. You’ll hold on to hope and make every effort to connect with your child. And yet, even then, you may not be trusted. You’ll have to realize that painful truth, accept it, and live with it. But you don’t have to believe the lie that it’s somehow your fault.
For example, RAD is a neurological disorder; unacceptable behaviors aren’t the only issues involved. There may be some parts of your child’s brain that will take longer to heal — or might never heal to the point of being able to truly connect with you. (For a comprehensive look at RAD, we encourage you to read Inside: Understanding How Reactive Attachment Disorder Thinks and Feels.)
With any attachment issues, go back to your motives for adopting and keep loving your child. Be discerning, not discouraged. Adoption wasn’t about you in the first place, and this isn’t about you, either.
When the happy day comes that you’re matched with a child, press the caseworker for every bit of information they have on the child. Ask about prior experiences as well as medical history, even if you’ve been fostering the child.
Don’t settle for what’s officially provided. The adoption or child welfare agency is obligated to share everything they knew and everything they suspected (some children might not share details themselves because of fear or shame). They must disclose the information in a written document or a taped presentation. (Most states list documents that a family is supposed to be given once they plan to adopt.)
When home now means a permanent family, a huge shift can happen in a child’s heart — and not always for the better. We’ll talk more about that later, but what it means at this point is that you can’t assume anything. If you’ve been fostering this child, then yes, you have a lot of expertise. Still, go through all steps as if you’re a newbie. You know what you know — but you don’t know what you don’t know.
“For those of us who are on the front lines in this war, encouragement and resources are imperative,” declares Jacqui Jackson, who was adopted as a child and is now an adoptive mother.
You’re getting ready to have your life and heart turned upside down, inside out. It’s not a bad thing by any stretch — but it’s more than you can handle on your own. If you have a history of thinking you can do anything and everything, now’s the time to let that image go.
You’ll need the expertise of those who’ve walked the adoption journey before you, and you’ll need the loving encouragement and practical support of those who know you best. God has gifted you with a heart for adoption; allow others to use their giftedness to come alongside you. You need to build a tight-knit support system that will help you and your child intensely for at least the first two years after you bring your child home.
Make the most of your time while you prepare and wait to be matched with a child. Everything you can do before a child comes into your home will help the transition of welcoming them be more successful — and easier on everyone in the household.
As you welcome a child into your home, it’s important to look out for everyone’s well-being.
All the goodness and beauty and care and nurture that you’ve prepared for a child (and are prepared to offer forever!) doesn’t erase the trauma they’ve endured. The damage is deep. Give yourself grace to take a step back as your family transitions — don’t rush anything, don’t push anything. In fact, the best thing you can do when your child first arrives is to drastically simplify your life:
“Underneath everything we do with children,” said Dr. Purvis, we need to reduce their fears and convey the fundamental message that that we are safe.” She and her team developed that strategy around three basic points:
Take a few minutes to watch these seven short videos from Dr. Purvis about the unique gifts you can give your adopted child:
Offering consistent care, warm interaction, and responsiveness starts even before a child walks through your door. It means caring about their history, about their hurts and losses and hopes.
It means not being afraid of their story, not glossing over life’s beginnings, not trying to hide away biological family. It means making sure your child is never surprised to learn that they’re adopted. It means helping them come to a strength-based understanding of their story:
Your child knows more than you think, so always tell the truth about their adoption in developmentally appropriate ways.
Now that your child is home, it’s time to start putting the pieces of therapeutic parenting into place. And how you move forward will depend on your child’s age.
For a child under 8, the most healing relationship they can have is the one they develop with their parents. For that reason, if you have concerns, consider seeing the counselor yourself instead of sending your child. A counselor can give you insight into your child’s behaviors and help you put therapeutic parenting tools into practice.
But if you do decide to take your child to a counselor, look for one trained in TBRI or Theraplay. Aside from other insights and healing to be gained from a therapeutic relationship, the counselor can help you understand your child’s attachment style and identify any issues. (Specifically, a Theraplay-licensed therapist can conduct an assessment called the Marschak Interaction Method — MIM. It’s used with kids from birth through their teen years to observe and assess the connection between parents and child.)
Children over 8 might argue against the idea of seeing a counselor. However, if you believe they need to see a therapist, don’t give your child a choice; that just sets you up for a power struggle. Instead, say something like, You need to see a therapist for six sessions, and then you can decide whether you want to keep going.
Moreover, if your child is traumatized, we strongly recommend that you be part of the therapeutic process. Most kids under 18 aren’t going to feel like they have a problem, so having them go to a counselor by themselves won’t be as productive as parents and teens going together to identify and resolve concerns. Ask the therapist to include you in your child’s treatment plan — even if that means your child has two sessions a month without you and two sessions when you join in.
Parents in rural areas can have a hard time accessing resources for their adopted children, but don’t give up!
If your child needs an evaluation that’s only offered in a larger city, let your therapist know about the driving distance. Ask them if they can consolidate the primary evaluation and any other assessments for the same day or over consecutive days so you only have to make one trip.
Also, don’t discount online connections. Many clinicians and support groups offer web-based services for ongoing therapy.
Being able to homeschool an adopted child for at least one year to focus on therapeutic parenting can lead to greater educational success in the long run. That’s a nice thought, but let’s be real: It’s not an option for most families. The question then becomes, How do we merge idealism with realism? How do we hold out hope for our child while accepting the limitations of the school system?
The school environment can easily overwhelm any child — but for an adopted child who’s suffered trauma, it can be unbearable. These kids are usually whip-smart, so they’re not impaired enough to qualify for special services. Unfortunately, their wounds run so deep that they struggle in many ways and often slip through the cracks. Their brain is still in survival mode, so it’s unfair for school staff to expect that a child will be a functioning, engaged student.
At the same time, it’s unfair for parents to assume that school staff know how to meet the unique needs of an adopted child. It’s also unfair for parents to put the burden of a child’s healing squarely on school staff. Most people in the educational system sincerely care about the children they serve, yet they must deal with unrelenting administrative expectations as well as find ways to meet the complex needs of every student.
The better, balanced approach? Be an advocate for your child and an ally with the school.
Find ways to partner with your child’s teachers. Ask if they’d be willing to sit down and have a conversation about your child’s journey, about the effects of trauma on a child’s development, and about what, specifically, works best with your child right now. Be gracious, be a team player, be humble. It’s up to you to learn what rights you and your child have in the educational system, but you don’t want to alienate the people caring for your child during the day.
One of the most important things to let school staff know about is if your child has a sensory processing disorder (SPD). SPD is the inability to use sensory information to function normally in everyday life. It has a physiological as well as a psychological basis and may be caused by early childhood trauma. Although common among adopted children who come from hard places, SPD is frequently misunderstood and misdiagnosed (often mistaken for ADHD).
If your child struggles with sensory overload, for example, even simple sensations of sight, sound, and touch can overwhelm or terrify them. Add in the happy commotion of a classroom with 20 to 30 children, and they might be headed for a meltdown.
To help everyone be successful, collaborate with your child’s teachers to recognize and respond to sensory processing issues. How will your child be allowed to work out their wiggles when hanging upside down isn’t acceptable? Where can your child find quiet and calm when the environment around them becomes too much? Is there an option within the school district that allows for more experiential, kinesthetic, movement-oriented learning?
Favorably navigating educational challenges comes down to consistent communication. How should teachers let you know when something needs to be adjusted or when new behavior shows up? And how can you best support and encourage the teachers’ efforts?
With the challenges and demands on your heart, mind, and time as you make this transition, you’ll be tempted to set aside your needs. Don’t fall for the lie that taking care of yourself is selfish. One of the most important things you can do to make a healthy transition is to give your child healthy parents with good self-care:
Self-care is intentional. Pay attention to your physical, emotional, mental, relational, and spiritual well-being. What refreshes you might not refresh someone else, so don’t get stuck looking for a “perfect” way to recharge. Adoptive parents Mike and Kristin Berry point out,
You won’t have everything figured out at once. You can’t have everything figured out at once. So just start. Find small ways to nurture yourself, because in doing so you’ll be nurturing your family, too. Here are some suggestions to get you started.
With every person you invite to support your adoption journey, with every tool you gain that helps you advocate for your child, with every small way you care for yourself and your family, you add another foundational block toward building a hope-filled future.
Even the most prepared adoptive parent will face challenges. Taking the long view will help you keep things in perspective.
Sharri Black, a licensed social worker, sees adoption as more of a pilgrimage than a journey — “an act of devotion and leads to a sacred place.” She didn’t come to that conclusion lightly; she was adopted, and she’s an adoptive mother who’s been through incredibly challenging situations. But, she says, there’s blessing in the hard.
Remember, too, that your child is figuring out who they are, who you are, and what the meaning of this adoption journey is for them. Even positive emotions can be overwhelming. And even though your child has been given the good gift of family with you, it’s going to take time for their own hard things to heal.
That’s when you recommit to love in action every day, every moment — even when you don’t feel that love.
When home now means a permanent family, a huge shift can happen in a child’s heart — and not always for the better. Transitions tend to push all the buttons, and even if you fostered your child before adoption, behaviors might crop up that you never saw before. Wounds might come to light that not even your child’s caseworker knew about previously.
It’s part of their survival kit. If you assure your child, There’s nothing you could do to push me away, they might take that as a challenge. In effect, they’ll pull all kinds of things out of their emotional suitcase and test you: This is the real me, the rest of me, the ugly side of me. Are you going to accept ALL of me?
A forever home can sound wonderful, but hopefulness can be scary to a child. They might be afraid to get too excited or relax because, What if this whole family thing doesn’t work out? The letdown will be devasting. I’ve been hurt too many times to get my hopes up. Better to sabotage it now so there’s no disappointment.
That’s how young Boone was feeling when he learned that someone wanted to adopt him out of the foster care system. He thought it was a trick:
On the flip side, just because you don’t notice any tension doesn’t mean that all is well with your child. It’s possible that their chosen survival tactic has been to go along with everything and “be invisible” so they don’t get hurt.
With all that in mind, even if you fostered your child before adopting them, make time to talk together about what their adoption means: how things will change from a formal and legal standpoint, and how things will change on a relational and emotional level.
And for teens, especially, be careful with what you say. This age group is already highly skeptical. If you say they can have a forever home with you, they might feel like they have no escape plan and be tempted to act out beyond anything you’re prepared for. It’s better to not say it than to not follow through.
Instead, go into the relationship with healthy, accurate expectations. For instance, if a teen only wants room and board until they’re 18 and you’re okay with that, everyone can still experience a good outcome. Adoption might not be the answer.
You are parenting a child whose brain has been badly hurt. They haven’t yet learned to make sense of their emotions much less express those feelings in healthy ways. So when they act out, realize that they’re not simply being stubborn or defiant.
Take a breath and learn not to take it personally. Do everything you can to be present with your child, to learn their story, to hear their fears, to restore hope — to become a secure connector and understand your child’s love style.
Another point of pain for adoptive parents can be a child’s biological history. Even though you’re making a better life for your adopted child — sometimes a lot better — they might still wish that they were with their biological family. And it’s likely that your child will direct any hostilities toward you, their adoptive mom and dad.
If you have an open adoption, do your best to maintain a positive relationship with your child’s biological family. But if not, start thinking early on about how you’ll respond if your child wants to find their birth parents.
Bringing your child home doesn’t mean you’re now cut off from formal help. AdoptUSKids lists subsidies, services, and training that are available during your entire journey. Find support for parents who adopt from foster care, including:
Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Have you heard of kintsugi? The word translates to “golden joinery,” and it’s a Japanese art of mending broken pottery with gold-infused adhesive. The finished product is a restored vessel with cracks of gold on full display. Kintsugi doesn’t try to conceal what’s been broken; it highlights what’s been cracked. The pottery’s brokenness becomes part of its beauty, strength, and value. Fractures are worthy of gold.
Fractures are worthy of gold.
When you begin the journey of adoption, you might have some idea of the brokenness you’ll encounter — in your own life and in the life of your child. But once you’re immersed in the pilgrimage, you realize there are levels of fracture and despair beyond imagining. Don’t ignore them, disguise them, sweep them under the rug. No … Hold them up to the Light.
Because fractures are worthy of gold.
Lift up every one of your child’s busted-up moments to our Heavenly Father. Every cracked, shattered, crushed, severed, crumpled, tear-stained, bruised, hopeless moment. Look up. Look ahead. Keep a long-term perspective. You are helping to mend your child’s fractures. You are helping them make sense of their story. You are positively impacting your child’s life for good — even though it may not feel like it to you, even though your child may not recognize or acknowledge it.
You are helping them to see that their fractures are worthy of gold.
As you consider everything we’ve shared in this article, may you be encouraged to pursue God’s leading for your family about adoption. May you not turn a blind eye to potential challenges, but may you not let those potential challenges scare you away.
Above all, may you take your stress and uncertainty to God. He is your safe place. “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
Here we highlight Focus on the Family broadcasts and Q&As, and we list best-in-class videos, books, articles, and referrals — all to encourage and support you on your adoption journey.
Adopting in the Empty Nest Years
Adoption: Making a Difference in the Life of a Child
Boone and Me: A Foster Adoption Story
Growing Your Marriage in Times of Stress (Part 1 and Part 2)
Offering God’s Love to Children Without Families
Understanding Attachment Challenges in Adoptive Families
If a title is currently unavailable through Focus on the Family, we encourage you to use another retailer.
Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches
Adoption: What Joseph of Nazareth Can Teach Us About This Countercultural Choice
Before You Were Mine: Discovering Your Adopted Child’s Lifestory
Confessions of an Adoptive Parent: Hope and Help from the Trenches of Foster Care and Adoption
The Connected Child: Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family (and free download of chapter four: Disarming the Fear Response With Felt Safety)
The Connected Parent: Real-Life Strategies for Building Trust and Attachment
Empowered to Connect: Created to Connect Study Guide
How We Love Our Kids: The 5 Love Styles of Parenting
How We Love: Discover Your Love Style, Enhance Your Marriage
Inside: Understanding How Reactive Attachment Disorder Thinks and Feels
Losing Control and Liking It: How to Set Your Teen (and Yourself) Free
The Low-Pressure Guide to Parenting Your Preschooler
Replanted: Faith-Based Support for Adoptive and Foster Families
Upside Down: Understanding and Supporting Attachment in Adoptive Families
The Whole Life Adoption Book: Realistic Advice for Building a Healthy Adoptive Family
Wounded Children, Healing Homes: How Traumatized Children Impact Adoptive and Foster Families
All Focus on the Family Adoption Articles
The 6 Biggest Myths About Foster Care Adoption
10 Questions for Parents Preparing to Foster or Adopt
10 Things I Wish We’d Known Before Adopting
Adoption Triad: What Is It and Why Should We Care?
Attachment: What Adoptive Families Need to Know
The Battle for a Child’s Heart
Can Adults Really Have Attachment Disorder? Understanding Adult Attachment Disorder
Complicated Attachment Dynamics
The Considering Phase: Are We Cut Out for This?
Counsel for Couples Pondering Adoption
“Don’t Tell Me to Take a Walk”: What Really Is Self-Care
Fostering or Adopting Children From Difficult Backgrounds
Helping Your Child Transition From Foster Care to Adoption
Parenting a Child With Attachment Issues
Parenting Reactive Children or Youth
Sensory Processing Issues in a Child
Support for Parents Who Adopt From Foster Care
Telling the Truth to Your Child: Helping Your Child Come to a Strength-Based Understanding of His Story
Understanding Childhood Trauma Changes Everything
Understanding the Impact of Foster Care and Adoption of Children Already in the Home
Unique Challenges of Disciplining a Child Who’s Been Adopted
What Does It Take to be A Foster/Adoptive Parent? Five Characteristics in Becoming a Trauma Competent Healing Parent
When Couples Are Divided on Adoption
When Your Adopted Child Pushes You Away
Adoption and Attachment Issues
Adoption and Sensory Processing Disorder
Adoption: Identifying the Signs of Sensory Processing Disorder
Adoption: Treating Sensory Processing Disorder
Brain Chemistry and Children Who’ve Been Adopted
Dealing With Attachment Disorder in Adoption
Identifying Neurochemical Factors in the Adopted Child’s Behavior
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