Somewhere to Run

July 5, 2014 heart defect, older child adoption, Tara 9 Comments

In my adoptions circles, there is a little bit of a running joke about all the things that start going wrong once a paper chase and the commitment to adopt a child (or children) begins. Somewhere along the journey to China, an adoptive parent can guarantee that an appliance…or three…will break, the car will need repairs, a member of the family will get sick, a storm will hit, their basement will flood, someone will say something discouraging, and on goes the list. In those early stages of the adoption, we call it as we see it. This is spiritual warfare and we have an enemy prowling around seeking to devour adoptions before they even get off the ground.

Unfortunately, the spiritual warfare doesn’t end once the adoption is finalized. It lurks in the background seeking opportunities to hurt our testimony and discredit God’s faithfulness. In fact, adoptive families are one of the most under attack groups of people I’ve ever come across. In talking with adoptive parents, I hear so many of them saying the same thing to me over and over again. The same things I’ve said to myself at various points in the journey. I feel so alone. I feel like I’m failing. The people I counted on for support aren’t supporting me. My social worker didn’t tell me this part would be so hard. The stress is getting to my marriage. Our extended family doesn’t understand what we’re going through. But oftentimes we aren’t as quick to see the see the spiritual warfare on this side of our Travel Approval.

Adoption is a miracle. The transformation of a child who fears their adoption parents on “Gotcha Day” into a child who runs laughing into their parent’s arms is a beautiful sight to behold. The difficult attachment journey…whether it’s a child who isn’t attaching or a child who is anxiously attached…is a journey worth making. Watching two children bearing completely different genetic codes become as “real” as siblings can be is breathtaking. But adoption is also hard. When a child from a “hard place” joins their new family, they bring their trauma with them. Anytime a new child joins a family there are adjustments required, but even more so when a child joins a family through adoption. That’s just the way it is. It’s normal and to be expected. But it does put a strain on the family, oftentimes creating a very challenging season. A season that makes adoptive families feel alone. Unsupported. Like failures. Overwhelmed. Misunderstood. And unable to reach out for help for fear of being judged. Because not everyone can understand that the greatest joy of your life can also be your biggest stressor. The natural response during those seasons is to pull away from anything that isn’t necessary for survival…all the while not realizing that we need so much more than that stack of books our social worker let us borrow.

It never ceases to amaze me how an adoptive family…mine included…can be in the throes of spiritual warfare without even realizing the enemy has attacked. Especially in the first months (years???) home with a child. While this season is full of new joys, obstacles overcome, and milestones achieved it is also a season in which the adoptive family is very vulnerable…spiritually, emotionally, and physically. So many other things scream for the family’s attention that the most important thing quietly slips away.

If yours is a family that was called by God to adopt, and that has a very God-centered testimony leading up to your adoption you need God more than ever once you’re home. My theme verse for our first adoption was “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. –1 Thessalonians 5:24”. I clung to that verse every single day of every single wait. And it’s true. God WILL do it. He’ll get you to your child. And once home, he’ll get you through the sleepless nights. The doctor’s visits. The bad news. The hurtful comments from people who are supposed to love you. The stir-crazy boredom induced by “cocooning” your new child. The questions that you don’t have answers for. The lie that you’re just not quite cut out for this calling. But the place he’s found is the place that adoptive parents so often forget to visit in our need to survive…the foot of the cross. And when we’re in those hard seasons that’s where we need to run. To the one who called us. To the one that chose our child(ren) for us. To the one that is grafting our family tree according to his own unique plan. He is faithful and he will meet our needs right where we are. No one else may understand what we’re feeling or experiencing, but our creator knows us better than we know ourselves. When we need somewhere safe to run, his arms are open and waiting.

9 responses to “Somewhere to Run”

  1. Stephanie M says:

    We are just about to leave for China, and the enemy’s attack is so strong we can barely breathe. Clinging to Jesus like never before.

  2. Donna says:

    Amen- I think that is what we are under somedays. We are trying to remove the barriers to adopt again.

  3. meganrbg says:

    I was crying before I even got through the first paragraph. I know this is WORTH IT, but I had become so discouraged that I stopped even remembering to see it as spiritual warfare, which it absolutely is. Thanks for writing.

  4. sally says:

    Thank you for writing this! Our last adoption has been our most challenging and we feel unsupported and judged by those around us who have never adopted. I cling to my spouse, my fellow large adoptive FB friends and to Him, but I so needed this reminder to not just cling but to RUN to the foot of the cross!

  5. Right on! You stated so many things I’ve dealt with.

  6. Becky says:

    Amen …and thank you!

  7. Racquel McDonough says:

    Thanks for this. We have hit so many bumps in preparing our dossier that I’m constantly reminding mysel that the devil is at every turn trying to discourage us. Today we had another bump in the road and I found myself crying. Even though I told myself it’s the devil I needed to have it re-enforced. So thank you. Thank you Lord for being faithful to us.

  8. Crissy Benton says:

    Thank you for writing this because this is the part people don’t talk about it. I have seen some crazy shenanigans from the devil in the past 8 months… things I NEVER thought I would encounter within myself, on the job, in my marriage relationship, from friends, etc. It’s like a full fledged attack, and the enemy keeps telling me to RUN. RUN in the opposite direction and abandon this call because it’s just too hard and I’m just not strong enough to do it. Some days I believe him. I am only moving forward by God’s strength and the unwavering faith of my husband who reminds me that this is our call and we cannot hide from it.

  9. Absolutely spiritual warfare. Glad you named it here.

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