Statistics around the globe are showing that more and more married couples are choosing to adopt children. And of course there are millions of children around the globe who need a loving couple to call “mom” and “dad”. Considering expanding your family this way brings with it a lot of emotions: hope, fear, compassion, excitement, joy—not to mention the deeply engrained maternal and paternal instincts within us all. As you process your own feelings, the practical questions can often seem paralyzing:
“What is this going to cost?”
“Which route is best — domestic, international, or foster care?”
“Is there a chance the biological parents will complicate things?”
Exploring the idea of adoption means weighing all of the practical concerns in your head against the often inexplicable tugging of your heart. And this can be a challenge because adoption often involves loss. You and your spouse may have experienced the frustrations of infertility or even losing a child during pregnancy. The birth family will experience their own loss. Emotions surrounding these issues can cloud and confuse your decisions. With so many significant factors to consider, where do you start?
Understand God’s Heart For Adoption
It’s easy to grow anxious when you explore adoption. It is helpful to reflect on God’s heart for adoption as you do. Read, for example, the many passages in the Bible about adoption and care for orphans (Ephesians 1:3–6, 2 Corinthians 6:18, Romans 9:25–26, Matthew 18:5). In a very real sense, adoption is at the heart of God’s plan of salvation for this world. He adopts us as his own sons and daughters through his love poured out on the cross. Perhaps God is leading you to bring others into your family just as he brought us into his. As you contemplate your questions in light of God’s Word, set aside time to fast, pray, and seek the Lord’s will for your home.
Do The Research
Much about adoption has changed in the past few decades. New opportunities have emerged alongside new challenges. At the same time, various churches and nonprofit ministries have expanded their support for orphans and adoption, providing a broad range of information and services about things such as federal tax benefits and financial assistance through grants that are available to adoptive families.
Learn From The Experience Of Others
One of the best ways to increase your understanding of both the head and heart issues of adoption is to spend time with others who have adopted—to hear from them the joys and challenges of each step along the way. Take advantage of these going further suggestions to learn from those who have walked this path before you.
Seeking God’s heart for orphans will stretch your perspective. It will change the kind of cost/benefit analysis you bring to your decisions. It can also give you much-needed peace and patience for the details of adoption and increase your trust in God’s ability to provide for you in what He’s calling you to do.
O Lord, we beseech thee mercifully to receive the prayers of thy people who call upon thee, and grant that they may both perceive and know what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfill the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer, 179
O God, by whom the meek are guided in judgment, and light rises up in darkness for the godly: Grant us, in all our doubts and uncertainties, the grace to ask what you would have us to do, that the Spirit of wisdom may save us from all false choices, and that in your light we may see light, and in your straight path may not stumble; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer, 832
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who settest the solitary in families: We commend to thy continual care the homes in which thy people dwell. Put far from them, we beseech thee, every root of bitterness, the desire of vainglory, and the pride of life. Fill them with faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness. Knit together in constant affection those who, in holy wedlock, have been made one flesh. Turn the hearts of the parents to the children, and the hearts of the children to the parents; and so enkindle fervent charity among us all, that we may evermore be kindly affectioned one to another; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer, 828
- The Tapestry Adoption and Foster Care Conference
This is an annual conference in Dallas sponsored by Irving Bible Church. “It is a place of loving, supportive, and authentic community where we encourage and equip families along their adoption and foster care journey.” Go to tapestryconference.org for more information.
- Successful Adoption: A Guide for Christian Families By Natalie Nichols Gillespie
Provides a comprehensive Christian guide for adoptive families.
- Handbook on Thriving As an Adoptive Family: Real-Life Solutions to Common Challenges By David And Renee Sanford
Seeks to equip readers to be successful adoptive parents. It is the one parenting resource that provides comprehensive, topical, faith-based solutions for the inevitable challenges after adoption.
- Not By Nature But By Grace: Forming Families Through Adoption By Gilbert C. Meilaender
Examines the relation between two ways of forming families—through nature (by procreation) and through history (by adoption). He takes up a range of issues raised by the practice of adoption, always seeking to do justice to both nature and history in the formation of families, while keeping at the center of our vision the truth that it is not by nature but by grace that we can become adopted children of the one whom Jesus called his Father.
Is a service that provides background information, responses to myths about adoption and practical steps for pursuing it. HowToAdopt.org
A Dallas-based pro-adoption movement dedicated to changing the perception of adoption by acknowledging birth moms for their brave decision. BraveLove.org
- The Book of Common Prayer
The BCP contains all of our services, prayers, and many resources for private devotions. It can be purchased on Amazon or at the Incarnation Bookstore. See especially pages 301–308 for insight into how our tradition thinks about children and parenting. bcponline.org
- Get Connected.
Join with other parents and families from our church who are meeting together to study and connect and pray. Go to the Growth Groups web page for more information.
- Get Involved.
Use your gifts! Take our Spiritual Gifts Assessment to discern ways to get plugged into the life of Incarnation.
- Serve the Poor.
Visit our local outreach page to find out how your gifts can change lives.
- Talk with a priest.
If you are having issues or questions related to fertility or adoption, feel free to schedule a meeting with one of our clergy. Any of the priests on staff at Incarnation are happy to meet with you for direction, counsel, or simply just to talk. Email a priest to set up a meeting. Or call the parish office at 214-521-5101.