When Adoption Is Hard

Adoption is good,

But it can also be very hard.

I know this first-hand from my own experience as an adoptee and adoptive parent. And I know this because of countless, tender examples shared with me by people on the adoption journey.

One of the great privileges of working here at Lifesong is getting to interact with adoptive families and hearing their stories of joy and heartache.

Year ago, an adoptive dad who received Lifesong funding, wrote us the following—

Adoption is supposed to be hard.

The grief we are sharing in right now is not abnormal. It doesn’t mean we’re doing it wrong. In fact, it means we’re doing it right.

I think that’s important to acknowledge, because a lot of times in adoption circles all you hear are the positive things, the Instagram-worthy moments. Unless you happen to be close to an adoptive parent, you may never hear some of these things

Why is adoption hard?

The one verse that has stuck out to me the most in this process is James 1:27: 

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

The word affliction jumps out at me.
It pops up from the page and grabs me by the throat, because I see it in my child.

When a child loses her family due to the immense brokenness of the world, that child will be afflicted. She will inherit an enormous, shattering amount of pain. 

And that affliction—that pain—will not be contained to her. It will go somewhere. It will be passed along to others in one way or another. Why?

Because it has to.

So where I used to read this verse and know the word affliction–now I read it and feel it. And, let me tell you, it hurts.

My child carries affliction.

Deep, yearning, and fierce affliction that comes out with the many tears and tantrums and squeals that are too piercing for words. It has to come out, somewhere and somehow.

It will either continue to fester in her, or it can have a source to flow into that will brace for impact and absorb that pain.

What we are learning is that what adoption is, is a family who is willing to step in and say—

We will take your affliction. We will take the very real pain you have from not having a family. We’ll absorb it so you won’t have to bear it anymore. We will weep on the bathroom floor, so hopefully one day you don’t have to.

Our family is posting up under the weight of this affliction.

Because that’s exactly what Jesus has done for us. This is the refrain we keep repeating to ourselves: “Because of Jesus, we do hard things to sacrifice for others.”

Is the hard worth it?

We are finding the special joy that comes from sharing in the sufferings of Christ, in sacrificing for the good of another.

Adoption represents the Gospel because chosen suffering is necessary for it to happen. And chosen suffering is exactly the road Jesus walked for us. He willingly got up on that cross and bore every ounce of our affliction.

The Gospel is not a painless story. Walking through the hard adoption process has allowed us to see that more clearly than ever.

Considering adoption?

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!