Parenting. Hard. Adoption. Hard. Special needs. Hard. Pursuing adoption of a child with special needs… while working… say what?! I may as well ride a unicycle blindfolded while twirling a flaming baton, right?
Not exactly (although kudos to you if you have that level of circus ability!). Special needs adoption is not limited to the stay-at-home parenting demographic. Nor should it be. The balance of work-family-home-child-attachment-therapies-finances-appointments is a tricky one, but not impossible. In fact, I would wager if anyone is up to the challenge it is the working mother. Why? Because God. What better place for the God of the universe to show His awesomeness than when we #justcan’t.
As a working professional and adoptive mother to a son with Down syndrome, these are the truths I hold dear to:
1. God’s plans are for good (Jer 11:29). He knew you were or would be a working parent long before He called you to adopt a child with special needs. This is not new news to Him and it doesn’t stress Him out…so don’t let it limit you either! We have to believe that when obediently follow His plan, that His plan includes grace. In fact, I believe an extra measure of grace has been extended to the working parent specifically because of your ‘double duty’.
2. Despite your village or tribe or back-up caregivers, you have been called to be this child’s parent on this earth. You wear that mantle of authority, no one else. In fact, by virtue of adoption bureaucracy you have reams of paper to prove it! Stand strong under it.
This was one of the most meaningful things ever said to me before my child came home. I was kvetching about working and daycare and attachment and the number of caregivers and specialists that would come in contact with my child over the course of a week, and I was stopped dead in my tracks with “They aren’t his mother. You are.” Hallelujah for that truth! The quantity of time together may be less than you’d like but God can bless the quality in the time that you do have. And even put extra caregivers in your path that help you be a better parent.
3. The Lord is our provider… not us. There is a terrible little lie out there that says “if I don’t, then we can’t…” when it comes to our physical provision. If I don’t take the second job, If I don’t work the extra hours, If I don’t do the project myself, If I don’t sleep 8 hours, if I don’t mind my health and safety and relationships, if I don’t… Friends, this is all God’s job, not yours. He created the day and the night, which means all that He has purposed for us to do is bound by and can be completed within His time.
The Holy Spirit may need to show you how to get creative with how your hours and your finances are distributed, but again…that‘s His job to figure it out and our job to listen. If He sees the dinky sparrow fall (my emphasis) how much more does He want the absolute very best for His most precious children? Stand back and let Him provide for your family. It’s kind of His thing. <3 Papas, let me speak to you for just a minute. If you are the sole breadwinner in the family, bless you! You sacrifice time away from your family every day to let the Lord provide for your family through you. I can only imagine how your heart and mind has struggled with the unending list of unknowns in adoption, not to mention planning ahead for the potential lifetime support of a child with special needs. You have faithfully answered the Father’s call and lives are being changed forever because of your obedience. Now… let the Lord do the rest. Don’t feel pressured to run the rest of your race on your own; to provide for every detail of your family’s need by yourself. His yoke is so much lighter than any burden we would pick up and carry on our own, that includes the yoke of adoption. Through your obedience God will make sure your family has all that they need. I promise, even if the plan is different than what you had envisioned.
4. God’s plan for us includes rest and relationship. Seriously. Put the laundry down! The dishes can wait — they are just going to get dirty again tomorrow. Sit down and watch a show with your hubby. Go outside and ride bikes with your kids. Call your BFF, or even… GASP!… go out for coffee. Work six, rest one. That’s the magic recipe. And it was created that way solely for our benefit.
We can’t physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually go full throttle all the time. We weren’t created to do so. If you are a traditionalist, then once per week you need to take an entire day off from whatever it is that makes your world go round. If you are a creative-ist (it’s a word), then you find ways to get your down time throughout the day or over the course of a week. However you decide to do it, just make sure you are indeed resting and filling your relationship tank with others and the Lord.
5. The seeds of comparison are ugly. Just don’t even go there. If in this season of life you need to work or are choosing to work, you absolutely cannot compare your life to a family that doesn’t have a working mother. Stay at home mommas have it hard too. You and I have an employment routine that includes daily showers and guaranteed adult interaction, home-mommas don’t always have that luxury. Give each other grace and believe that God’s hand is equally over you both. As long as your heart is glorifying God, and all the children are breathing, who cares if you have the effort to organize a Pinterest birthday party or order a Costco cake and pizza. (Can I get an AMEN for either mom?)
6. You can be a good mom and a good employee. In fact, you can be great at both… sometimes even at the same time! Ecc 9:10 says: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it well” (with all your might/passion/skill/dedication). You may be in a season of tent building (working only to support your family) or in a season of professional career building, either way do it well. Same with parenting. Seek the Lord when you lack the wisdom on how to balance work and home. James says “He will gladly tell you” (1:5). This may mean you’ll need to get creative with scheduling and finances but that is ok. Pray that the Lord would set a favorable supervisor/boss a head of you and buy a really good day timer. You are going to need both!
A special shout out to all the single mommas… all of these points apply equally to you as well. You are pulling triple duty 25 hours a day, 9 days a week and probably can’t remember the last time you had 20 minutes of uninterrupted anything of your own. I know it’s hard and it may sound trite, but God knows. He has always had a soft spot of widows and orphans (anyone without a “paternal covering”) and He sees your comings and your goings. Get rest when you can get it, then take joy in the honor of being chosen to mirror the Father’s heart to the little humans in your care. You are doing a good job!
So put the flaming baton down. No need for the unicycle or blindfold. If God has called you to parent, to adopt, to special needs, to work outside the home, He knows you can do it… rather, you can be confident He can do it through you.
For all things are possible through Him.
All things. (Phil 4:13)