How do we help our child not feel rejected by the People who birthed them and by the choices they made? How much do we share about why they were in foster care or an orphanage?
We know that families praying about adoption and foster care have many questions. We also know that some families who have adopted or are fostering have questions too. You are not alone! We would love to hear your question and feature it on Adoption Strong's blog Q & A Friday. Simply go to our Ask a Question page and submit your question to us and some of our team of contributors will respond.
And now for today's question:
Adoption is often talked about as a beautiful loving choice. Foster care adoptions and adoptions from an orphanage are not usually this way. How do we help our child not feel rejected by the people who birthed them and by the bad choices made? How much do we share about why they were in foster care or an orphanage?
From Naomi: Both of our sons are adopted through foster care, and I can relate to the desire to guard their hearts while speaking truth. I have found that sharing age-appropriate information, with a generous dose of grace, is the best way to handle this. I tell our 6 year old that his first momma loved him as much as she could, but that she was unable to take care of him. I ask him if he wants to pray for her, that she would know Jesus' love --- because that's what she needs in order to love. We talk openly about his past, and how some of the things he experienced were not God's plan for him, but that God was redeeming those things for our son's good and God's glory. We talk about how when we don't have Jesus' love inside of us, it limits our availability to love; and that we have to learn how to take care of others - including children. We focus on how we can love and learn, while asking God to help others, including birth parents (of 'first mom and dad' as we call them!). Truth brings freedom, so when we couple age-appropriate truth with love, we are equipping our children to walk in freedom from shame and rejection!
From Aimee': Adoption is definitely a beautiful loving choice that can be made by a woman who has determined that she cannot give a child the life she desires to give them. However, not all adoptions are because a woman decided to make a self-less, hard, loving decision not to parent. Some adoptions are the results of abandonment, lack of care, and abuse whether here in the US or in another country. This has led to children being removed by the state foster care system or children entering an orphanage in another country because of unhealthy environments and/or different forms of abuse whether physically, mentally or sexually. We have eight children, six whom were adopted. One of our adoptions is because a woman, while pregnant, made a hard, loving decision she could not give this child the life she wanted to give him so she chose us to be Mom and Dad; however, five of our children were abandoned. Some were abandoned at birth and some were abandoned as toddlers and young children. The first 9-15 years for them were hard (we adopted our Peruvian children at 22 months, 22 months, 9yrs, 13 yrs. and 15 yrs). Because of this lack of care and abandonment, our children were available for adoption in a Peruvian orphanage and we chose them to be our children. Through the years, we have had some tough conversations. Our home is open for discussion about adoption and why they were adopted. We do not lie about why they were available for adoption but we make sure they know that we do not know the whole story. We do not know all the details but we do know that life must have been difficult for her and him and whatever the reason they could not be the Mom and Dad they were supposed to be and they made some bad choices that led to our children getting abandoned and going to an orphanage. The conversations have been hard and it is very important to me to not sugar-coat the past but at the same time couple it with grace and mercy and share God’s love for all and share how God reached in and put them in a forever family to love and nurture them. How we can still pray for the people in their past.
Adoption is a beautiful, positive word in our home. We love to connect Ephesians 1:5 as God being the author and creator of adoption. We also teach our children that birth and adoption are both miracles from Him. From there, through the years and age appropriately, we make sure our children know they were loved very much then and very much now. Let me address rejection very specifically. The enemy will grab hold of rejection and try so hard to use this as a tool to beat our child up and try to divide our family. As the parents, especially as Christian parents, God has given you and me the authority over ALL the power of the enemy – this includes the spirit of rejection, the tool the enemy will use to try and suffocate our children. The enemy would love nothing more than our children to feel like they were cast away by the people that birthed them, to feel like they were disowned and not valued. I can’t tell you how many times I have taken authority over the spirit of rejection in our home. Luke 10:19 tells us God has given us authority to trample over serpents and scorpions and ALL the power of the enemy. So, to answer the question above, one way to help your child not feel rejected by the people who gave birth to them is pray. Pray. You must press in prayer for your child and rebuke the spirit of rejection that the enemy wants to torture our children with. You will be pleasantly surprised to see the peace and joy that comes over your children when rejection has no place to live in your home….. all because of the power of prayer.
“However motherhood comes to you, it’s a miracle.” Valerie Harper