adoption: when I thought they’d never be in our home

These days, we’re feeling much better about our international adoption. (I’ll share more about that soon… in the same vague way I’ve always shared about it!) I feel myself crawling out of a hole of despair I had dug for self-protection. I am still cautious, but unlike the previous fears I’ve had that Theo and Elliot would really never come into our home, I’m very hopeful. 

I was recently asked by someone in a similar-but-different situation how I coped with the fear and true possibility that children I love but have not met would never come into my home as we have hoped and planned and prayed. 

I spouted off a list of strategies. I’m not sure many of them would go under the “coping well” category, but that’s the thing about it. You can try hard to cope well, and you may fail, but God pursues your heart, peace, and stability still.

Here’s what I shared:
+ I distracted myself with getting a job, working, planning trips, going on trips, decorating and organizing our home, completing projects, and pursuing new hobbies.

+ I went on a “preparing freeze.” I didn’t get their room ready, buy new clothes, make plans that involved them, or change anything about our home and lifestyle that would suggest the addition of two children.

+ I stopped mentioning our adoption to those who didn’t ask about it and especially to those who didn’t know about it. It hurt too much to try to convey the long, hard journey in a way that did justice to the story God is writing.

+ I considered that God probably had greater plans for them in their country of birth than He did for them in our home.

+ I believed that God still had my best interests in mind which, at times, can look like “severe mercies.” For example, maybe He hadn’t really equipped me to parent them and meet their specific needs and He was being merciful toward me by not putting them under my care.

+ I allowed myself to call what I was feeling grief and to identify the stages of grieving as I went through them. The anger stage lasted for a while.

+ Similarly, I kept an eye out for depression. I was a few days from seeking professional help before the depression stage lifted and the acceptance arrived.

+ I threw myself into caring for my relationships with those who have been placed in my circle right now… Husband, friends, acquaintances.

+ I mentally considered and eventually researched next steps for adding children to our family. We didn’t pursue Milo’s adoption because we thought Theo and Elliot wouldn’t come into our home, but we did pursue it because we accepted they might not come into our home for a long time.

+ I accepted that though those feelings were absolutely miserable and hard to put words to and hard for others to understand, my God has bigger plans for me and my family than I will ever know. I prayed that I would find the purpose soon, but I accepted that I may not fully understand until heaven.

  • I absolutely love your heart and that you’re so open with how to cope in these situations.

    • thank you! I think there’s a lot of value in being honest about the ups and down of adoption.

  • This post is beautiful, Natalie. Thank you for continually sharing your heart and how you process!

    • thanks for this encouragement! I definitely want to be honest about all aspects of this experience.

      • You are so very welcome! Your posts encourage me too :)!