In celebration of the upcoming Father’s Day, I thought I’d share another blog I wrote for My Healthy Church: Kids. You can find a lot of other great articles and resources on their site.
Adoption is the heart of God. I have always agreed with this thought, but I don’t think I understood it until I adopted my son. For those who have biological children and choose to adopt, the impact of adoption is no less significant than the impact on those who pursue adoption because of infertility. But I believe many of the emotional experiences are different. The emotional journey of deciding to adopt is vastly different when you cannot have children on your own. Different isn’t necessarily more powerful or meaningful; different is just different.
The adoption story for my son begins five years before we ever met him. Honestly, the lead-up to adopting my son had little to do with him and more with the emotion I had to process before he came into our lives.
My wife, Heather, and I had decided it was time to start trying to have children. It’s difficult to express the monthly disappointment associated with pregnancy struggles. At first, you walk through plausible explanations—perhaps work stress is causing an issue, maybe this is not right timing, possibly God doesn’t think we’re ready for kids. The list of possibilities goes on and on. The specific questions aren’t really relevant—it’s the lingering feelings of inadequacy, confusion, frustration, and sadness that are hardest. And the time associated with the process of determining what the infertility issue is does nothing to alleviate the tension felt personally and with your spouse.
It wasn’t until after we had gone through multiple rounds of testing and fertility treatments that we shifted our focus to adoption. Through these years of repeated failure and disappointments, I struggled with depression, anger, and a multitude of other feelings. It was one of the darkest seasons of my life.
Frankly, I needed the adoption process to rekindle hope in me. I had lost much of the optimism and positive expectations I had previously held. Yet the adoption process brought a whole new set of concerns and questions. “How long will this take?” “How much will this cost?”
As a side note, one negative side of adoption is the awkward, sometimes painful, attempts of others to sympathize with you. I understand folks are looking for common ground, but most do it in a horrible manner. It finally came to the point where we had to interrupt people in the middle of their “my ________ had this horrible adoption experience happen to them, but I’m sure yours won’t be like that.” They meant well, but adoption is hard to understand if you’re not walking through it. We did appreciate the attempted support, if not it was executed.
Then we adopted our son. We were blessed with the way his adoption happened. There were so many miracles in such a short time that I wish I had the time to convey them all. But I can say this—the amazing intervention of God helped me to find a place of hope in my life again. The lead-in was excruciating; the in-between was exhausting; but the finality of it has been the most rewarding time in my life.
My son is now 19 months old and I would walk through the same process with twice the difficulty for the opportunity to be his father. The reward of persevering through depression, fear, and other feelings is worth the joys of parenting. I feel closer to God through it. I can truly understand Romans 8:15: “the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.”
While the bond may not be biological, it is no less strong. That was a part I was unsure of through the process—would I feel like a dad when I adopted? The answer is a resounding YES! I am my son’s father, not his adoptive caregiver. He is my son, not my adopted ward.
You can read more about our adoption journey on my Facebook. (If you want to dig, I did a series of posts starting June 24, 2014 celebrating one year with my son.) Or check out my blog post about the day he was born at http://www.spencerclick.com/?p=536.