By Gracie Hannah
Adoption wasn’t on my radar. I desperately wanted to have my own baby, one who looked like me and my husband. I imagined our babies would have my husband’s fire red hair. I envisioned them inheriting our traits and personalities. Would they love music like I do? Or would they be good at the same sports that we are? I wanted nothing more than to raise a child, our child, from birth. I would have considered adoption, but only after we had a child of our own.
Of our own. As if adoption wouldn’t mean the child was our own. I knew that wasn’t true, but that’s what I thought. I felt I would be missing something if I didn’t give birth to our child. I look back now and realize how silly that thought was. But something inside of me wanted a child that came from my husband and me. One who looked like us. One who had our mannerisms and talents.
God’s Perfect Plan
I never imagined I would have trouble conceiving a child. That didn’t seem like something that should happen to someone who wanted to be a mother so badly. Why would God close the womb of someone who yearned for children so strongly? But after more than nine years of trying unsuccessfully to conceive our own child, I realized that God had a much different plan for our lives.
I wasn’t happy with the idea at first. This meant my dream of having our own children was quickly fading away. After years of asking God why he would let this happen, one day I could no longer stand the pain. As I sobbed uncontrollably on the floor of my bathroom, I finally surrendered my will—my plans and my dreams—to God. At that moment I told God I would love and serve him even if he never gave us children. And I meant that prayer. I was tired of trying in my own strength. I was tired of wondering why it didn’t happen for us.
What happened next was nothing short of a miracle. We felt the draw to become foster parents. In our first class, the director asked if anyone wanted to adopt because a sibling group of three school-age children would be available soon. Immediately we knew we wanted to do this. We wanted to become their parents.
Many miracles later, we brought the three blessings into our home and soon were in the adoption process. This was God’s plan all along! I stop to think now about what would’ve happened if God had answered my prayer for a baby years earlier. I know with certainty that we never would have been in that foster care class. God had a perfect design and plan for us all along. And furthermore, he had prepared us for our kids over the past nine years. God had our kids picked out for us. We just didn’t know it yet!
Along with the joy and excitement of bringing these children into our home, I felt some major fears that worried me about the future. Our kids had biological parents. We weren’t their first mom and dad. Would they love us as their parents? Would they yearn for their biological family? Would we feel like their real family? Would they consider us their parents?
The first months and years brought up a lot of recent memories they had, both good and bad. We had to love them through the pain of being separated from their biological family. We had to be patient enough to allow them to talk about their biological mom and dad without feeling offended. We had to learn to embrace their biological roots and help them remember things from their past they didn’t want to forget.
The first years brought simple challenges. Our kids liked certain foods that we never cooked. We couldn’t fill the gaps in stories about their past when they didn’t remember small details. They grieved and yearned for their biological family.
Those years were tough but also rewarding as we learned to embrace these children as our own. Our lives intertwined and we became a family as they learned more about us and we learned how to make them feel a part of our family. We learned to love each other as a true family. We were overwhelmed with the love a parent has for their children and suddenly, almost instantly, these children became our own. We couldn’t let them forget their past, but we could embrace the past and help them pave the way for a wonderful future.
The Age of Adulthood
I gave into fear as they approached the age of 18, when they could once again see their biological parents. What would happen when that day came? Would I lose them? Would they ever come back? Were we just a temporary home to them? Did they see us as their true parents? How would that affect them to have their biological parents back in their lives? I yearned to be the mother they needed, but I also wondered how I compared to the biological family that was torn from them at an early age.
I prayed for strength as the day neared, almost dreading it with everything in me. I dreaded the uncertainty of what our future would hold. I wanted to pause time and never let them reach the age of 18 because of my intense fears about what might happen.
Once again, God had a perfect plan. Why do I ever doubt him? The day came and went when they turned 18. Not only did we meet their biological family, we formed a good relationship with them. Our children didn’t desert us when that happened. Instead, they now have the benefit of having two families to support them. Their biological family helped them to slowly reacquaint themselves and have given them the space needed to work at these relationships at their pace. We consider it a God-thing when we think about how he carved our children’s paths and gave them the perfect outcome.
Should You Adopt?
I can attest that fostering and adoption are wonderful things and that more people need to pursue them. There are many children who need a good home, and there are few people willing to take the step to become foster or adoptive parents.
I can see how some people would shy away from the idea. Some may have concerns about the children’s past. Others may wonder if they could love a child who isn’t their own biologically. Some have fears, like I did, about the child’s biological family. Such fears are real and understandable as fostering and adoption are not always a simple process. Nevertheless, adoption and foster care are rewarding and worth the struggles and fears.
Our adoptive children have become our children even as we embrace their biological family. It’s amazing to watch God work through that and show us that we are still their parents. They love their biological family, but they also see us as their primary family. They love us and need us as their parents and we have created a secure home for them, one they won’t run away from. I won’t say this has been easy, but it’s absolutely worth it.
Gracie Hannah is a pen name.