What to Do If Your Adoption Gets Overwhelming


“I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.”

—Charles Spurgeon

A little over one year ago, Bryan and Joy traveled to Burundi, Africa, to adopt their son, Samuel. Get a peek into their visit…

Given the joy in this video, it might be surprising to learn that the road leading up to “Gotcha Day” was filled with highs and lows—many “waves” that left them exhausted and confused. 

While Bryan and Joy started the adoption process in 2015, Samuel, came home four long years later, in 2019. And the first few months of the process—filled with paperwork, doctor appointments, financial planning—were extremely stressful. 

If this is how the first few months are going, how will the next few years go?

In the middle of this overwhelming season, Joy wrote

“To be honest, the last two weeks have been hard.

Our adoption agency accepted us. We are now in the process of a home study. Our days have been full of paperwork, emails, phone calls, medical check-ups, blood draws, more paperwork, and check writing. This is only the beginning! Bryan and I have been using every ounce of free time to do our adoptive parent training and fill out paperwork.  

This past week we had the task of watching the video about all the medical issues that we may encounter with international adoption. Wow! You want to talk about overwhelming… Wrapping our brains around all that at 11:00 at night was almost too much! 

That night, I went to bed feeling exhausted in every way.

I was ready to give up, walk away. If we hadn’t already invested so much, it might have been tempting. This stuff can get scary sometimes. Stepping outside of ourselves and totally, wholeheartedly relying on God to give us the grace to handle whatever he gives us. Trusting wholly in his sovereign plan for our family.

I was upset.

Why us? I was perfectly happy with my family of six. I didn’t want any more kids. We can’t really afford this (on paper anyway). But God is so sweet to us. He puts up with our temper tantrums because he knows his plan is good. He sees the ending, the blessings that come along the way. God’s mercies are new every morning and I am so thankful.  

When I stop to think about God’s big plan, I am thankful.  

I am thankful he didn’t just walk away from me when things got hard. 

I am thankful he is choosing this path for our family, to refine and sharpen us. To make us more like Him. 

I am thankful he is not going to let me settle into contentment. He loves me too much to let me sit where I am. 

I am thankful he chooses to grow me, to continue to sanctify me.  

When I start to get overwhelmed, I have learned the best encouragement to keep going is to think of the fatherless, the vulnerable. To take the focus off of me and put it back on others. 

Later that week, I received an email about orphans in Haiti.

When I watched the video that had been sent, I was again humbled, reminded that it is worth it, and encouraged to continue to press on but most importantly to press into “Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine.” He is the one who has gone before us in this whole adoption thing. I mean, it was his plan from the beginning of time! This is true for any of us, all the time.

May we keep our minds and hearts focused on Him in all our circumstances. For today, I am reminded of why we do this. And I am thankful for his unrelenting grace.”

Isn’t this amazing? Joy “was ready to give up, walk away.” And yet, God gave her family the grace to keep pressing on in the journey, so today—five years later—their son is home!

If you’re in the middle of an overwhelming adoption (or any season) and tempted to walk away, take Joy’s advice:

  1. Take the focus off yourself and put it back on others.
  2. Press on to the next thing.
  3. Press into our Heavenly Father.

We believe money should never be the reason a child doesn’t have a family.

So we guide adopting families through the fundraising process, removing the financial barriers to adoption. Download Lifesong’s free adoption financial assistance application to receive matching grants, interest-free loans, and access to our free crowdfunding platform!

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