pep talk

I don't care how old you get, there's nothing like a pep talk from Mom. I just hung up the phone, after a big dose of exactly what I needed. Ever since we made our final decision to adopt, my parents have been absolutely great about helping with and cheering for the cause. I am unspeakably grateful for that.

We had foster kids growing up, and I remember Mom and Dad wanting to adopt a family of orphaned kids when I was little. Because of this, the idea of adoption has never been foreign to me. I always knew Mom and Dad would embrace the children God gave us, no matter how He did it. Their trust and acceptance has really made our whole process easier.

Over the past year, I've started realizing what a rare blessing it is to have a family who "gets it." The criticism and rejection many adoptive parents stomach from their parents makes a difficult process almost unbearable. And the deafening silence some other grandparents hand out can be as painful as open critique.

If your son or daughter is planning to adopt, here are some helpful statements my parents have made that you are welcome to borrow. Your kids will be so grateful for it.

1. "He looks so smart."
(Pick your own adjective here. Beautiful, mischievous, thoughtful, or SOMETHING positive to let your adult child know that you see potential in this young life beyond an unflattering orphanage photo. If you honestly see NOTHING worth complimenting, affirm the image of God inherent in every life, or think of something positive to say about the child's birth country. By affirming your new grandchild, you are essentially saying, "I see the value in this endeavor. What you are doing is hard but worth it. We can do this.")

2. "You've planned as much as you can plan. Now it's time to go for it."
(Here, you are breathing courage into your adult child during a terrifying process. YES, they have thought about every possible disaster that could happen. Not only has their social worker told them, they have read and signed stacks of papers warning them about worst case scenarios you haven't even imagined yet. You've already taught your child to think through responsible choices, now help your child choose faith.)

3. "This is going to be an incredible experience. Enjoy it."
(This is a much-needed reminder to embrace the joy of the experience, even though it seems overwhelming. There is so much focus on "joy" during a biological birth, yet adoptive families rarely receive that sort of celebration. Labor is always hard, but joy comes in the end. Help your kids remember that.)

4. "Orphans around the world have such a hard time. I'm proud of you for doing something about it."
(This is pointing your adult child back to a core need that likely started his/her journey toward adoption. There is an almost infinite amount of paperwork that your kids will have to juggle, and the sheer volume of that can distract them from their main goal. Your reminder about this great need is like handing a marathon runner a glass of water. )

5."I can see how God has worked in your process here: ______________"
(Why is it so hard to remember God's evident hand in our lives? Even though He provides a thousand times, we can quickly forget His faithfulness. Recounting God's past work helps your adult child remember that God has been directing him/her and that they aren't just pursuing a crazy dream.)

Oh, I wish I had time to write more on this, but I need to finish packing. I just wanted to say how grateful I am to have such a good Mom and Dad cheering behind the scenes.

I'll try to post once more before we leave...

P.S. It's also super cool that as I'm typing this, Bobby's parents are on the phone, talking to the kids, giving us all a second helping of cheering for the trip. What a family we have! We really are blessed beyond measure.

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About This Blog

Welcome to our family’s adoption journey. As you read, you will see us stumble and take wrong paths. You will see our hopes surge and fall. You will see the gaps in our humanity, and how our God realigns us to His purposes over and again. We think the messiness of this process is important. Sometimes walking with God isn’t a neat, linear package that can be summarized in bullet points. More often, life ebbs and flows around our plans, while God works His sovereign wonders from it all. We are learning so much through this journey. And we are super excited about our new son. If you’d like to join us, we’d love to have you along for the ride.

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