October 20, 2009


Are we making adoption too hard? Too overwhelming? Too complicated?

I make an effort to read as much as I can about adoption, specifically trans racial adoption. Being the mom of 4, almost 5, Chinese children, I think it's part of my job description to be informed and aware. And I've been reading a lot lately, specifically articles and blog posts written about the effects of adoption, and how an adopted child might struggle to reconcile their past with their present. The hardships that they might endure. The weight of the losses they might have known. And I can't even begin to imagine. Many times I get wrapped up in these unknowns as I consider my own children and what their future holds... will they be filled with sorrows? will they feel broken and unloved? will they too struggle with never feeling good enough?

But in reading lately, I've been left with this question, "Aren't we making adoption too complicated? Isn't it really simpler than all this?"

It's endless, truly it is. A slippery slope. One fear-filled thought leads to another and another, and you're left, without answers, mentally exhausted. All for naught. Who knows what the future holds? Who knows how our children will face the knowledge that they were abandoned, adopted and are now not only Chinese, but Chinese-American? Will they embrace it? Or shun it? Or both?

And will any of my worries take away one moment of sorrow for my child? Will walking on eggshells keep their hearts from breaking in two at the realization of what adopted truly means? Will my love for them ever replace the love of their first mother?

I have no answers for my children as to why they were abandoned. Or why their first family could not keep them. And I won't even make an attempt at creating a list of possibilities for them to consider. No matter the possible scenario, it is too overwhelming for a child to comprehend: not enough money to afford a child? a medical condition that was too complicated? a desire for a son over a daughter? I mean, I'm an adult and the possibilities honestly blow my mind. And for a child, even if they knew why they were abandoned, is there ever a reason good enough to justify their loss?

The truth is, I will tell my children, I have no answers. And chances are that I will never have any of the answers for the questions they might ask surrounding their birth and abandonment. Oh, how I wish I knew something, anything to say to fill that heartbreaking silence when my child asks if they grew in my tummy. All I have to offer my children is the truth, what I do know, what I don't know. And the promise that they will never be alone to endure sadness or loss or heartbreak again.

We all suffer losses in this life. God doesn't promise us that there will be no pain and no suffering. In fact, as Christians we are reminded by Jesus Himself that suffering is a part of life, to be expected. And that through our suffering He also grows us, brings us closer to Him, and helps us focus less on ourselves and more on the Big Picture. The picture God intended when He created man: us loving Him with our whole hearts, and us loving others as ourselves.

Is that oversimplifying things? I don't think so. If we are focused on Him, and His plan, and walking as closely as we can to Him, then we won't stumble and fall. We may stumble, but He will be there to catch us. And it is through loving Him and being loved by Him in return, that we are able to love others as ourselves... unselfishly, wholly, with abandon.

That is the best I can do for my children. Reflect God's love for them in all I do. Love them, care for them, be there for them. With abandon. Without thoughts of myself. And I think that's enough, because God told me so.

Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
~ Matthew 22:38-40

More (and his are really good) thoughts on this topic here.


  1. Thanks for sharing Stefanie. I've thought about this too as my son is now 9 and was adopted at age 7. He is very curious so no doubt he may want to know more in the future. I plan to be as honest as possible with him as he matures and is older. I think of the recent teen boy who went back to China with is mother to meet his first family. He wanted this. His mom made it possible and I think there was some changed lives. His and his mother's "story" is a testimony to others. There were a lot of people involved in helping find his family. They have now been witnesses of God's love in action.

  2. I've been thinking the same thing for a long time. Thanks, Stefanie.

  3. Oh My Goodness. I could have written this post this week myself. It's like you have been inside my head for the past two weeks.

    In my efforts to be well-informed and to increase my awareness of how to best meet my daughter's needs and open my heart and mind to potential future children the Lord might give us, I've been SLAMMED with the dialogues I've been reading. Slammed by the suggestions that I SHOULD be assuming that every struggle she's having is adoption related. Slammed by the idea that how I address her needs now will in NO way heal or comfort the pain she's eventually going to feel. Slammed by the notion that somehow I'm contributing negatively to the great big machine of adoption by bringing her to our home and planning or praying for another. As I'm preying on innocents all by my lonesome. There's been very little refreshing, balanced, godly perspective out there to counter the painful, spiteful, hateful things I've read. In fact, I've been brewing a post in my head, like I said, for two weeks now. My way of digesting and processing the information I'm gaining.

    That's not to say that the things I've read are invalid. In fact, the opposite. They are so real, so valid, so poignant that I don't want to ignore them. I do NOT want to be one of those that is blissfully choosing ignorance and hoping that my love will fix it all. I WANT to know what my part in her life is. "What do I really need to know and what do I do with it?"

    On the contrary, I've been brewing and praying over how to articulate that my love will NEVER cover it all. Only the magnificent, all-covering, all-encompassing love of her TRUE FATHER will ever make any headway into healing the heart of a broken person. And aren't we all broken, somehow? Abandoned or neglected or addicted or lost with out our Father?

    Thank you for addressing this in such a simple, profound and BIBLICAL way. I'm yet again, ever so grateful to be part of a community like this that gives a balanced perspective to the stories of the lives of the adoption community. You rock.

    And yes, this is one more reason why you are my bloggy hero. :)

  4. You have a beautiful family. I agree, sometimes, we make things more difficult than they really are. We try to make it so there are no problems, and in this fallen world, that just isn't possible. I love reading your posts. They are very educating.

  5. Stefanie,
    I heartily agree...we will never have the fixes in this broken down world, only God. I have noticed the articles that slam adoption and make it sound hopeless also seem to leave God out of the equation. Maybe I haven't been reading the right articles.
    Of course, you will always be looking for fulfillment if you have left God out of your life. Then it is not an adoption issue at all. I know I'm one of those fanatical religious freaks, but there you have it.

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  7. You are so absolutely right. We don't have the answers to the questions that our children may ultimately ask, and we, as parents, need to learn to say "I don't know" with honesty and share with our children our sadness that we don't -- and probably never will -- know.

    Thankfully, all of our questions, those asked and those thought, I believe will be answered when we finally get to heaven and have a chance to see "the big picture" as ordained by the Creator.

    Until then, we cannot let the "but when..." and "what ifs" change the way we parent our precious children.

  8. Stefanie,
    Well said. I know the enemy enjoys when we worry. He knows God is at work,... His calling on our lives and the enemy doesn't like it. The enemy doesn't like when an orphan finds their family, a Christian family.
    We have not faced any real issues with our children..thankfully. Alaina has asked about her past since she was two years old and as she gets older, it is getting harder to answer...for me. I pray daily for the right words. I hope all of our children will be able to trust so much that they embrass God's sovereignty. No matter how many times they were abandoned, (rejected) it was God's plan...his plan to bring them to us, their forever family.
    Thanks, Stefanie for all you do for the little ones left behind. Hugs.

  9. Thank you Stefanie, this has been on my heart for a while too.

  10. What a great post! Thanks for sharing.

  11. Beautifully written and nice to meet you!

    We don't have the answers but I praise God He does. His love which I have written about has taken hold of our children's hearts and ONLY His love can heal the places you and I as their adoptive parents will never know about. ONLY His love can heal the hurts that were caused to them by the choices made in their lives before we ever knew them - but He always has and He loved them then too!

    Oh how God has done wonderful miracles in our families life right before my eyes. He continues to work in all of us through the power of His word and when we sit at His feet together seeking His will for our lives not ours. Our children yesterday were grieved over their sins and choosing self the day before instead of God's. Why? Because they understand the sacrifice He made for them - a child to be ransomed for life with Him and that they will never suffer the wrath of God like the OT Saints. They were given the life and freedom because Jesus died for them - so they can be sitting right here learning about Him instead of living on the streets or worse yet dead.

    Powerful stuff and it blesses me each and every day to be allowed to be their Mom!

    In Christ's love,

  12. Thanks, Stephanie. I have also had many of these same thoughts. Suffering is something that all of us experience in this fallen world. The hope of the Gospel is the greatest comfort we can offer our children. I appreciated the link to the article you shared as well. There is also a great little book that is very encouraging by Paul David Tripp called "Helping Your Adopted Child." The better my children understand their identity in Christ, the more secure they will be...true for my adopted child and my bio ones...and all of us. I love the new blog posts here...they are all so encouraging.

  13. @ Andy and Amy: thanks for the resource tip - I'm off to Amazon now to check it out.

    I love this conversation - all of you have such great insights, and it's bringing such balance and good rock solid building blocks to the table!


  14. I have to laugh, just like the gang's momma, I've gone to Amazon to get "Helping Your Adopted Child", too!
    I love this community :)

  15. Let me tell you how much I needed your post!!! Talk about timing!!! I have been feeling so bogged down with guilt? confusion? sadness? I've been questioning my motives for adopting. I've been questioning my ability to parent. I've been walking circles around the inside of my home praying, thinking, analyzing....

    I mean, I love the fact that there is so much information here in this 'blog world'. A lot of very good information and resources... I love all the amazing women I have 'met' through their blogs....

    It took me a while to figure out my uneasiness with some of the 'info' out there....and after reading these comments, I feel confirmed. The love and grace of God is missing from some of the 'information'!!!! Wow!!!

    Stefanie, your post and the comments written here have been an answer to my prayer!!!

    God is so good!!!!

  16. Thank you so much for sharing your heart on this subject Stephanie! It is so encouraging. I know I often worry too much about my daughter's future and need to simply trust the Lord to continue His great works in her life.

    God bless you!

  17. So beautifully written, Stefanie. I think about this topic a lot, but could have never written about it so eloquently. Bravo!!

  18. Adoption IS a complicated thing.

  19. I totally agree! God can--and does--heal all of our brokenness, whether it comes from abandonment, abuse, etc. While we need to educate ourselves, God promises to give us the wisdom we need to parent our kids if we just ask.

  20. I have thought about this too. I think the reason so much is currently written about the problems is because for a long time, historically, adoption was supposed to be just WONDERFUL, nothing else. And now people are talking about how it's not always, or how even when it is, there's not so wonderful parts too. I think in a few more years, there will be a more balanced view possible. The pendulum swing, as it were.