Jennifer and I connected on social media when we were both adopting with the same adoption agency. I followed her process and her determined pursuit through the immigration issues they endured after bringing their daughter home from China.
Jennifer has now written a book for adopting families! A wonderful devotional book that I suggest every parent going through the process of adoption should read. Even those who are home for a few years now can benefit from Jennifer’s inspired words. She has an incredible way of speaking from her heart.
Pick up a copy of her book and take comfort in her words as Jennifer joins you on this ride of adoption that can (and does!) bring so many valleys and mountain tops.
Q: How long have you been writing?
I’ve always loved to write. I had such a hard time in college deciding what to study, but now, looking back, it seems so clear. Writing has always been what I love, what I’m good at. Why couldn’t I have realized that before I chose Psychology?!
When our family moved to Australia in 2011, my family and friends asked me to keep a blog. My exact response: “Blogs are dumb.” (Don’t worry – I know better now!) Alas, I gave in, but I made the blog private because I was scared to let too many people see my heart. Right before we left for China to adopt our little girl, I thought, “Oh. I bet there are a lot of friends and family that want to follow our journey, so I’ll create a public blog just for our time in China.” Little did I know that due to a crazy immigration disaster that left our family separated across the globe, I would blog for much longer, with more people reading than I could have ever imagined. Or that my blog would lead to me writing three books in four years. It’s been a crazy journey.
Q: How did this devotional book come about?
After the success of my first book, Bringing Lucy Home, a publisher reached out to me and said they had been looking for someone to write a devotional book for adoptive families, and would I be interested in submitting a book proposal? I said, “Nah. I’m busy,” except the opposite of that. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to do on a large scale what I love to do one-on-one: encourage other adoptive parents with the truth of the gospel. The publisher accepted my proposal, and here we are today!
Q: What was the hardest part of the adoption process for you?
Although the hardest part was definitely Lucy’s U.S. citizenship being denied and the subsequent fight to reunite our family, I’m going to place that nightmare into the larger category of the fear of the unknown. Throughout the whole process, the looming question marks were difficult for me to cope with. What would our child be like? How extensive would her needs be? Would she cling to us or reject us? How were our bio kids going to adjust? Were we ruining the good thing we already had going with our family of five? Would we scar our new daughter? Would our bio kids be scarred by all of the changes that were coming? What challenges would our new little girl face later in life? Did we have what it takes to cope with those challenges? And then of course, unique to our situation, how in the world was our family going to be reunited when no one was really sure how to do that?
Q: What do you think is the one of the most important truths or facts parents should remember when going through the adoption process?
God is in the waiting. We just want the whole thing to hurry up, don’t we? Pre-adoption, we want to hurry up and get the paperwork approved, hurry up and be matched, hurry up and cross the next hurdle, hurry up and travel. And then post-adoption, we’re in a hurry for attachment to occur, developmental milestones to be reached, special needs to be resolved.
But God is in the waiting, too, and when we wish away the wait, we miss out on precious truths He wants to imprint upon our hearts — truths about idols we didn’t even realize we were worshipping; truths about His grace, faithfulness, and provision. What’s the point of the wait if you don’t soak up all that God wants to teach you in that sacred place?
Q: What was something surprising or unexpected in writing this book?
A theme emerged throughout the book that I didn’t intend to create at the start, but I kept coming back to as the project went on: The biggest need for adoptive parents is to be seen and to see. I think at some point, all adoptive parents cry out, “God, do you see me?” They may say, “I’m struggling down here. I’ve been waiting a long time. Attachment isn’t happening like I thought it would. Her special need is more intense than I thought. I’m exhausted. I’m lonely. Do you see me?”
We need to be reminded over and over again that He is El Roi, the God who sees—and not just in the general sense, but in a very specific, intimate way: He sees you. He sees me. He sees our children. He sees us on our best days and on our worst. And in knowing that we’re seen, we’ll hopefully see with clear eyes and unashamed faces our Father who pursued us, saved us, and loves us with an everlasting love, no matter how tough things get.
Q: Any closing remarks for our readers?
I’m just so humbled to have the opportunity not only to write this book that I hope will be an encouragement to many, but also to have a reason to connect with adoptive parents worldwide. You are all so, so brave. That doesn’t mean you aren’t scared, but you’re walking in obedience even though you’re scared, and lives are forever changed because of that obedience. You are my heroes.
To sneak a peak at the first four chapters you can do so here.