The Magic Number in Adoption
How many pillars of support are necessary to make it through this adoption trek to the end? Adoption is a journey of endurance. If you’ve read Tandem or my blog, you know how much emphasis I place on the support of friends, family, co-workers, your sisters in Christ- who encourage you along your adoption pathway. But how many core supports are optimal?
Let’s begin in the kitchen of my lovely neighbor and friend, Marci. She is originally from Spain, but has lived in America most of her adult life. Marci’s garden is impeccable. In her 60’s, she can lift and haul more wood chips and dirt than I could at the height of my physical fitness. Her garden is one step from heaven.
Over the course of our time as neighbors, she taught me how to split a hydrangea plant, proliferate mint and green onions, and how to make three days of meals from one Costco rotisserie chicken. And it wasn’t just me she took under her wing, it was our entire block. You should have seen Pilgrim Court in the Spring, our front yards chirped with vibrant purple Crocus and sunshine-yellow Daffodils. It was a chorus of color that lined our sidewalks and all credit is due to Marci’s green thumb.
I regularly talked with Marci about our calling to adopt and provided updates whenever we met on the street or over coffee. This particular morning, we sat at her quaint kitchen table. My hands were warm from the piping hot coffee and hope filled the Spring air.
Our conversation turned to adoption and I shared with her the exciting news that we had found an expectant mother that we felt positive would be the birth mother to our child. As I shared a few details, her head started to shake and finger started to wave. “This is not good,” was her response. The warmth drained from my body; my hands became icy and my face hardened. Trying not to become defensive, I explained the situation so that she may fully understand the circumstances from my perspective. “Be careful, I do not feel good about this,” Marci warned. Exposed and wilted by Marci’s deepest worries related to our adoption, the hopeful Spring day turned into 6 more weeks of winter.
It took me the afternoon to shake off my neighbor’s picture of an ugly adoption. I concluded this; I believe Marci loved me and wanted the best for our family. However, she did not fully understand our approach to adoption, she did not have the knowledge we had gained along our adoption pursuit, and she did not hear the personal calling we had experienced from the Lord.
The Hard Truth in Adoption
Here is a truth to pocket along this adoption journey: Not everyone is going to be your cheerleader along this adoption path!
You are going to run into those that don’t support you-friends, family members, acquaintances, and, yes, well-meaning neighbors. The one person you DO need to be in support of your adoption is your spouse. Like many, my loving husband was not on board from the start. If you are struggling with a reluctant spouse, you may want to check it out my "reluctant spouse" blog. I also share our experience of arriving on the same page in adoption in the book Tandem: A Devotional for Adopting with God in the Lead.
So how many people do you need supporting you to make it successfully to the finish-line? A story from the Old Testament gives us an exact number-a clear answer.
A little background to this story, the Israelites were living in exodus. They desired more than anything to return to their home, the Promised Land. Life was not easy, there was a massive journey ahead. The Israelites (the nation of Israel) had arrived at Kadesh, and were now faced with conquering Canaan. God had promised them the land of “milk and honey.” In fact, He had specifically told Moses, “Send men to scout out the land of Canaan I am giving to the Israelites.”
Moses followed God’s command and sent twelve men into Canann to scope out their army and the land. The spies returned with the following report.
Ten of the spies reported, “It does flow with milk and honey. This is its fruit. But the people who live in the land are strong. The cities have walls and are very large.”
Two of the spies (Caleb and Joshua), bucked the group consensus and reported, “Let us go up at once and take the land. For we are well able to take it in battle.”
As in any good drama, the arguing began. The other 10 spies retorted, “We are not able to go against the people. They are too strong for us.” So they brought the people of Israel bad news about the land they had spied out, saying, “The land we have gone to spy out is a land that destroys those who go there to live. All the people we saw in it are very large... We looked like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”
In effect, the Bad-News-Betty spies reported-"THIS WILL CRUSH YOU, like a freaking grasshopper."
Then all the people cried out with a loud voice, and they cried that night.
Where the Israelites went wrong is that they gave more belief to the negatives, to the “what ifs” from the nay-sayers, than what God had promised. Let’s go back to God’s initial command which was “I am giving” you this Land.
God wants us to believe what he says. He desires for you to step out in faith, despite the giants that stand in your way. He implores us to follow His word, not the whispers or even yelling from the world. You’ve probably already encountered your own 10 spies’ reports. Did they sounds something like this?
- Adoption is too expensive.
- Adoption takes so long.
- Adopting is complex and confusing.
- Birthmoms are scammers.
- You’re too old.
- You’re too overwhelmed.
- You’re not equipped.
You Plus Two=Adoption Success
You need a Caleb and Joshua on your adoption team. You just need 2 people to give you that support to make it through this journey.
- You can do anything with God on your side.
- This is a plan higher than yourself.
Seek out these people: maybe it is a woman from your small group or a bible study-perhaps a best friend-maybe your mother-in-law, or your yoga instructor. It doesn’t matter who they are or where they come from, you just need those 2 people to give the ultimate support and encouragement on your adoption journey. It is also important not give credence to the negative comments, don’t allow the other 10 to drag down the hope and fire you have for adoption.
We don’t need an army of support, but we do need a few elite “spies” that remind us that this adoption WILL happen, no matter what the opposition throws at you.
Scripture for the Road
The Lord said to Moses, “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.”....
At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land.
They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.”
Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”
But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”
-Alison England, LMSW Author of Best-Selling Book in Adoption-Tandem: A Devotional for Adopting with God in the Lead
I would love to encourage you along your adoption path. click here to find Tandem on Amazon and read reviews or follow me on Instagram @riding.tandem.
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