Hope for Adoptive Moms: Day One
By Kara-Kae James
Read: 1 Chronicles 29:17-18
I snapped a picture in front of the bathroom mirror, immediately knowing it would rack up the likes on Instagram. It was really cute, after all. Not because of me, but because of the ball of mush that was the four-day old baby boy curled up on my chest. He was everything dreamy a dreamy baby could be. We looked picture perfect. Adoption looked perfect from that little glimpse into our story. Moments after posting the photo, my online followers commented with hundreds of heart eyes, clapping hands, and all the words of praise. To this day, I think that picture still has the most likes of any picture I’ve ever posted.
Adoption does seem dreamy, right? From the outside, it seems to be all rainbows and unicorns and loveliness. But lean in here for a moment, as I whisper the truth. If you’re an adoptive mom, you already know it. It’s no surprise to you. You probably rolled your eyes a bit as I told the story of the picture, because you knew it. And if you’re not an adoptive mom, I’m going to let you into the club for a minute — adoption hurts. It’s hard, and painful, and full of loss and unmet expectations.
I’ll be honest, I walked in to our journey expecting it to be easy. I knew God could heal the pain and I just KNEW it had to be different for us. But that’s not always the story of this life, and it’s definitely not the story for adoption. Yes, God is our healer, and I pray every day that my son will find a life of joy and peace, but likely his journey will be faced with unmet expectations because his story is one of adoption.
King David knew a few things about unmet expectations, even though he led a wonderful life. He had spent his entire life walking with God, and he gave us a glimpse of what it looks like to keep our hearts focused on the Lord when we struggle with expectations in this life. He prayed this prayer in 1 Chronicles right at the end of his life:
“I know, my God, that you test the heart and that you are pleased with what is right. I have willingly given all these things with an upright heart, and now I have seen your people who are present here giving joyfully and willingly to you. Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our ancestors, keep this desire forever in the thoughts of the hearts of your people, and confirm their hearts toward you. (1 Chronicles 29:17-18)
When our hearts remain loyal to God above all else, our only desire will be in pleasing God. Not in trying to measure up as a part of an earthly family, please a child, or expect a child to act a certain way. The expectations, the hurt, the pain are all part of a sin filled world. But they can all be covered by the grace of God as we walk each day to please Him and raise these children we’ve been honored to raise.
Unmet expectations are just part of our story, it’s part of mine and it’s a part of yours. Like David, let’s walk each day striving to please the Lord instead of focusing on the unmet expectations that might trip us up.
Scripture Meditation: Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from him. Psalm 62:5
1. Consider some of the unmet expectations in your adoption journey. How are they keeping you from finding joy in your journey? Thank God for the pain and everything that the journey brings.
2. How is your child struggling with pain from adoption? What unmet expectations are they facing? Ask God to show His love to them in a powerful way.
3. Think about the end of your life, the end of your adoption story. What would you want your legacy to be? Make David’s prayer your own for your life.
Prayer: Lord, I give over the expectations and pain of our adoption to you. Would you come in and fill the gaps where I cannot be everything for my child and show the love and peace that is like nothing they have ever experienced? Help our family to place our trust, rest and pleasure in you alone instead of focusing on the daily unmet expectations that come with this life. Thank you for this child you have entrusted me with and may I be a shining light of your love to them.