One of the hardest issues many couples come face to face with in the adoption process is knowing when to say yes in adoption. This often comes up after the home study is complete, the profile is created, and the fundraising is happening. In the beginning of the adoption process, the pathway is pretty clear. Hire a home study worker. Fill out these forms. Check those boxes. Get the fingerprints and the physicals and the baby items. Check, check, check.
But then a couple comes to a stage in the adoption process when they begin to review situations: an expectant mother who would like to make an adoption plan for their child. It often includes information like the gender of the baby, due date, and social and medical history of the birth family. And it’s at this point that a hopeful adoptive parent decides if they want to present their profile. And when and if they do, that’s their 100% commitment to raise this child as their own if chosen. This is also the point when it’s easy for hopeful adoptive parents to become incredibly anxious (read: freak out) about saying yes to the right situation.
How do you know when to present to a situation? How do you know if this is the baby God has for you? How do you know you’re not missing your baby?
Value of Wisdom
When deciding if you’re going to present to a certain situation, one of the first things you want to do is gather all of the information available. Ensure you have all of the significant information involved (social and medical history, birth father information, a break down of fees, etc.). Educate yourself on any medical or legal issues that might impact this match. During this step, it’s critical that you are working with trusted, ethical agencies/attorneys that not only are serving you well, but also provide expectant and birth parent care and counseling (both pre and post birth). An adoption consultant can help you weigh any possible risks involved and walk through each of these steps to help you decide if it’s a good fit for your family. It can be invaluable to have someone who is neutral help with this part in the process.
Myth of Control
It’s easy to think you have a tremendous amount of control in adoption. And in some ways that’s true. You decide when to begin the adoption process. You complete the paperwork and even check dozens of boxes pertaining to openness and medical history and preferences. You analyze a situation and educate yourself as much as possible. You decide to present. But you inevitably come to the point where you are left waiting on a situation to come through and ultimately, to be chosen.I’ve called control the lie of adoption. Because the truth is there’s very little control you can have in the process (like so much of life). Ultimately an expectant or birth mother chooses an adoptive family. You realize you simply can’t check all of the boxes for your preferences in life. After you’ve done your part, weighed all of this important information, and decided if you want to present, you realize that there’s only so much you can do.
Truth of God’s Sovereignty
Once you come to terms with the lack of control you feel in the process, your frustration can also swing the other way. You can think the control is all in someone else’s hands: the birth families choosing adoptive families, the adoption agencies serving you, or even the idea of waiting for fate or good karma. But God is ultimately in charge. He is writing a grand, redemptive story in history that he’s invited us to be a part of. To reflect his glory right here on Earth.God has woven the story of adoption throughout the Gospel and invites us to be a part of it as well. He’s known the details of your days (and your child’s) from the beginning of time. No one can thwart His plans or stand in their way. There’s tremendous freedom found in not just believing in God’s complete control, but truly resting there.
So practically, where does that leave you? When you are wrestling with the tension of balancing earthly wisdom and common sense with godly faith (which I believe are both gifts from God)? What does this actually look like? Honestly, I don’t have the answer. And I think it looks different for each couple and individual desperate for God’s will in their lives. Some families have a “gut” about presenting to one situation or another. Some, after reading through the details, know pretty quickly that a certain situation just isn’t a good fit for them. Others describe a very clear direction one way or another from God. My experience is that most families generally don’t feel a tremendous amount of clarity or feel 100% in on most situations they see.
In my work for a decade with hopeful adoptive parents, I have seen some families have incredible peace during the process of deciding when to present.Wanna know their secret? They decide to walk through every open door that God opens for them and pray that he slams it shut if it’s not His will. It’s that simple. Ultimate trust in the One who has all the control. Faith in the Author of good stories. Hope in the God who promises to do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20). A wholehearted “yes” on the table before God, with the courage to put it into action.
I don’t think there’s a perfect situation out there for you. Adoption is always born from brokenness and the perfect scenario is that a child is always meant to be with their birth family. But of course we live in a broken world where sometimes that’s not possible or best. We live in a world touched by infertility and substance use and unhealthy relationships and hundreds of other broken things. So the idea of “ideal” quickly goes out the window.
But, I do believe there’s a perfect situation for you. What I mean is that I believe God is sovereign over everything, and that includes putting families together. So while there’s no “ideal” or “perfect” scenario or situation, I strongly believe God has the perfect match for an adoptive family. That there is baby that fits perfectly and is divinely ordained to be placed with a specific family.
How do you find joy in the midst of waiting? How do you know when to say yes? How do you make sure it all works out in the end? God will not let you miss your baby. You can rest in His perfect plan. Your job is simply to say yes to Him.