The Ugly Side of Adoption

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I found this entry the other day while randomly flipping through an old journal:
“January 2, 2013
Today, sort of in passing and sort of without even realizing it, I prayed a prayer.
‘Do something great through me… No matter what it takes.’
I meant it when I prayed it, but my next thought was: ‘Uh-oh.’”
Dear Ashley from almost two years ago: that next thought was very appropriate.
You see we used to have the “ideal” family. I\’ll never forget when I was pregnant the second time and we found out we were having a girl and how perfect that was for us. We had our boy and now our girl to complete the balance. Two little picture-perfect blonde haired, blue-eyed beauties.
We always talked about bringing another child into the family down the road. Maybe adopt from Africa or Asia, a newborn who needed a home. We could do that in a few years, no problem.
I did not anticipate that later that same year we would move to a little town called Benjamin Constant and that shortly thereafter, when Raegan was just 4 months old, we would meet a little brown-eyed girl that would rewrite everything we knew about parenthood and ourselves. I will never forget the night I laid there in bed and told Richard I felt like we should pray about adopting her.
I had no idea–not the slightest clue–what I was praying for.
I remember discussing the challenges we knew we would face. The language barrier, the physical and mental delays, the criticism from the locals; we knew it would be difficult.
Those things now seem like child\’s play.
When you hear people talk about adoption, you hear about how beautiful it is, this Gospel picture. I say it myself. The idea of redeeming a child from pain and suffering and hopelessness is undeniably inviting. To be a part of bringing hope and life to a child is one of our callings as followers of Christ. Beautiful indeed.
What we do not hear a whole lot about, however, is the ugly side.
Without tragedy, there is no need for adoption. If something were not broken, there would be no need to fix it.
If it were not for the fact that something went terribly wrong, adoption would not be necessary. Be it death or abuse or abandonment, intentional or otherwise, there is a tragic reason this child is in need of a different family from the one that shares the same bloodline and facial features. There is a broken past with every single adopted child out there and it leaves a mark. Sometimes that mark is a faded scar that is barely noticeable to the untrained eye.
Other times, it is a gaping flesh wound that needs constant attention and care.
God chose to give us the latter.
And it has been ugly.
Because nothing prepares you for having to hold down that sought after child as she kicks and screams, “I want to go back to the street!!” And all because you are doing what no one else in her life ever has: you are loving her.
I will never forget googling “What if I don’t like my adopted daughter” and the relief I felt when articles actually popped up, announcing that these feeling of mine are actually common.
In August, she completed one year in our home—and the single hardest year of our life. I look back at the child who stepped into our home that Friday night. Her scalp was so full of infection that the doctors prescribed four different medications to heal it. Her teeth were little pieces of black and brown bone jutting from her infected gums. Her hair was brittle and orange in color from lack of nutrition. Her eyes were wild, pupils enlarged as she tried to understand what was happening, her body conditioned to remain in a constant state of fight or flight. She carried her small backpack full of dirty, hole-ridden clothing that a person would not even consider donating to Goodwill.
This isn’t what it should look like, a family bringing in another. It should be that her biological mother tucks her in at night, along with her 7 biological siblings, assuring them of love and care. They should laugh together and go on outings together and she should know the love of a family with siblings and parents that look like her, speak like her. She should know the value of discipline and should be taught consequence.
But we live in a fallen world where parents leave their own to roam the streets because they never knew any different themselves.
So our life as we knew it was destroyed that day. It was destroyed for the sake of redeeming this one. But we never knew what that would entail.
It has been painful.
No adoption is pain free. I am not referring to the hours spent at the courthouse or the paperwork that seems insurmountable. I do not mean the waiting game of home visits and Psychologist appointments.
Those are the easy parts, my friends.
The hard part is loving. And that is the part I never anticipated.
Shortly after our daughter moved in, the giddiness of having a new child wore off. It was like having a newborn to care for except that this newborn had been in survival mode for six and half years and thought she had a better idea than you of what she needed. The lies began and the manipulation commenced and suddenly, after just three months of having what now felt like a stranger in our home, we began to recoil.
“What have we done?” I would ask myself, remembering our “perfect” family of four.
I would scroll through my Facebook newsfeed and the pictures of perfect families would dance across my screen, almost taunting me. I would close the app feeling guilt, regret, confusion. Pain.
I often say if we had known what we were getting into before we got into it, we wouldn’t have gotten into it. And I know that is exactly why God does not often reveal His plans for us, because we would run away in fear of the trials that lie before us, not valuing the refining process that makes us a just a little more like Him.
Yesterday I looked at her as she sat across the table from me, unaware of my thoughts. Her hair is dark brown now and shines in the light. Her teeth, bright white and clean. We have had to buy her new shoes three times this year as her body catches up to the size it should be for her age. She is able to read now, something we had all but given up hope on as she didn’t know the difference between a letter and a number this time last year.
She is beautiful on the outside—a whitewashed wall.
Because you don’t raise yourself on the street for six and a half years with no consequence. So the lies and manipulation and disobedience flow so naturally to her that at times she doesn’t even perceive it. She resists our love. She has yet to grasp the fact that she no longer has to protect herself; she is safe here. So she hides behind the walls she built so long ago of self-preservation and self-focus and replaces each brick as we attempt to take them down.
There is a common perception out there that implies that adoption, because it is a concept based on the Gospel and because it is redeeming a child from their orphan status, is simple. Of course, we may be quick to admit that the process is complicated. The attorney and the judge and the biological parents or the orphanage and the paperwork and the waiting and the waiting and the waiting… that part is hard, but then—THEN—it’s smooth sailing.
“All we need is love.” Right?
Adoption is far from simple.
I see heart-warming adoption quotes on social media all the time, especially in this month of November that is National Adoption Awareness Month. In fact, not long ago I stumbled across my own “Adoption” board on my Pinterest that coincidentally I created about the same time that journal entry was written and couldn’t help but laugh out loud and what my picture of adoption looked like back then. Back before the long nights and tears and confusion and calling out to God.
Because once the Facebook pictures are posted and the excitement dies down over this new addition, you find yourself face to face alone with a reality that you did not stop to consider before:
Yes, the Gospel is a picture of adoption into the family of Christ. And the Gospel includes immense amounts of suffering. Without death, there is no redemption. Without pain, there is no joy in victory.
Over a year has passed now and mostly we are thankful that we have survived. In the beginning, all day, every day was consumed with teaching truth and consequence, faith and repentance, and trying to discern the truth from the lies. And now most days are still that way but they have become graciously spaced out to where sometimes we actually feel like a functioning family of five on some level or another.
Grace from Heaven.
Why do I say all this? Not for a pity party, I assure you. We are taught to rejoice in our sufferings because it is through them that we are formed more into the image of our Savior.
I say it, believe it or not, as an encouragement. I have read several blog posts and books this past year and the ones that encouraged me most were the ones that said something to this effect, ‘This adoption thing? It’s hard. You are going to fail at times. You are going to cry and ask ‘why?’, possibly often. You are going to feel overwhelmed. And guess what: sometimes you are going to struggle to love. But it is ok because you, on your own, can’t love anyway. It is impossible. But the good news is that through Christ, you can love unconditionally and without reciprocation. Hang in there. His mercy is new every day. And His grace is sufficient.’
So to my fellow adoptive parents, who find themselves overwhelmed and overcome and cringe when they see the idealized photos of adoption: do not give up. God has a purpose for this child and part of it is to refine you and teach you what unconditional love really looks like—messy. Another part—maybe the biggest—is to give you the slightest glimpse of the pain that Christ went through and the miracle it is that He can love us as He does. Oh, the miracle.
To those in the adoption process, do not let this discourage you, but also don’t write me off. There is a certain naivety in every new adoption. I know, I have been there and I believe that is also God’s grace measured out to us. Often God keeps us blinded to the realities of the trials we will face in order to grow our faith. It is necessary. “Oh, but you adopted an older child/out of birth order/foreign speaker. I’m adopting a newborn/young child/English speaker,” you may say. Irrelevant my friends. I know personal stories of children adopted from birth that have immense struggles. So listen to those who have gone before and prepare your hearts. Pray for God to prepare you in ways that you do not even realize that you need to be prepared.Pray for faith and endurance. Pray for peace and hope. You will need all of these as you embark on this journey.
For those who are reading this and have had a “smooth” attachment to your adopted child, hold your judgment. Instead of casting stones, throw up some prayers for those who adopted the more severely injured, those struggling to love, and those who dread another day. Be careful not to become self-righteous because your experience looks different. Rejoice that God chose to give you a child with less baggage in tow.
This adoption thing is ugly. It takes time for broken things to mend. It takes time for wounds to heal.
But you know what’s amazing about it all?

He gives beauty for ashes. And that, my friends, is beautiful indeed.





{UPDATE: You can read my follow up blog The Ugly Side of Me}




191 thoughts on “The Ugly Side of Adoption

  1. Wow – I'm a missionary too and that's one of the most honest blogs I think I've ever read. Thank you for the encouragement that life is messy and hard. Really encouraged my heart today.

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  2. It's difficult to be continuously undermined by the \”church family\” but over the years God has used that to draw us closer to Himself. There is little if any compassion for the struggling parents; much easier to give high-fives and love on a cute kid. This reinforces the belief that the A-parents just need to give more love, and that other people know your kids better than you. We've had to keep those in the church at arm's length emotionally (which furthers the belief that we are cold and unfeeling) lest we be torn apart. All leeway and forgiveness is extended to divorcees and other hurting folk (which is how it should be) but adoptive parents get no such grace unless we pretend everything's fine. Thank you for this article. May God bless you as you seek His face.

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  3. Thanks for this – we really can identify with your experience It's been four years since we asked God \”what next?\” and then he led us down the road of adoption. We also bought in to the glamorized adoption stories in the shiny Holt magazines as we prepared to adopt a 2-year-old boy from China with a cleft lip & palate. But as we held him in our hotel room that first night in China we cried – sobbed – as the first glimmer of what lies ahead settled in. Our son has been home for 3 years, and has severe autism, severe food insecurities, and PTSD from the horrible orphanage he was in. By God's grace, we have found quite a bit of support in the autism community and in our public school – but I agree that the church and the adoption community needs to better help families with tough adoptions. Thank you again, and may God bless your family!

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  4. $ = Humans = Trade in humans = Slavery I think we can all agree on that. When you exchange money for a human its slavery. How is adoption any different? You hand over money, you get a human. That is the basic crux of it. Its the economic model for adoption. You can fluff it up all you want, call it \”fees\” and use PAL (Positive Adoption Language) But I actually have my receipt in a folder and I had a 30 day return policy. We need adoption reform in this country, and we need to remove the $ out of adoption. Calling children store bought is just an expression of the commodification of children that taken place.

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  5. Well stated. We, along with several other friends who adopted, have experienced most of what you wrote. Our children are now young adults (almost 25) and are not yet healed, and have birthed 5 children between them. Praying for God's hand of protection on the kiddos. I understand that the book \”Wounded Heart\” can provide more insight. Thank you for being authentic and encouraging!

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  6. My 22 year old biological daughter sent this blog to me in a private message so that her 19 year old adopted sister would not see it – yet wanted me to be encouraged by it. We fostered our daughter for 2 years and finally adopted her when she was 16. Six months ago, immediately after her graduation ceremony, she left, came home a week later for the party we had and left right after and has not returned. The journey from age 14 to graduation was difficult. My two birth daughters learned a lot about unconditional love, and gained strength in learning to care about someone who will/can not return that love, but it left its scars as well. We all pray for this child, only God can bring His will into her life – she knows Him – we only pray that she will once again listen to Him and even if she never returns to us – we pray she returns to Him. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  7. I by chance came across your page this morning. I felt like you were writing my story. It has been 12 years since we adopted our two children from Russia and I've never heard anyone else share the truth. Thank you for having the courage to share the reality of adoption with so much love and faith.

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  8. I googled that too. 😦 You are are beautiful mouthpiece, thank you for writing this. We too had he perfect little family and then added #3 via adoption. A preschooler with special needs. Amazing how much you don't know and how much you need God to make it through the day. What an encouragement!

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  9. Thank you for your story. In 1990 we adopted an 11 yr old orphan from Moscow. Previously we had adopted 2 infants from Korea. I was not prepared for the journey ahead, and I guess my pride kept me from reaching out and expressing myself as you have. It was truly the \”learning to love\” story, and now looking back how I wish I would have had more wisdom.. but I need to stop looking back and be thankful for where we are today. God bless you.

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  10. Thank you so much for this post! I remember our first year. I cried every night. Why did we choose to do this? What did we do? And most importantly- can i give her back? Our family was perfect before and now it seems like a nightmare. Everyone always commented how our adopted daughter was so cute and sweet. But I never saw it. I found out that I have a cold hard heart and was capable of such ugliness I never imagined. Here was this poor little girl who needed a good mom and I did not want anything to do with her. And I felt so alone in this. Everyone else we knew who had adopted seemed so happy, but I was in severe depression. After 2 years of having her, I have found out- this is hard. I am going to struggle with being a good, fair, and equal mom to all my children. But I'm going to try every day to be better than before.

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  11. I appreciate your honesty. My daughter was one year old when I brought her home from Vietnam. She has been loved and adored, yet as a teenager started to reject our love and exhibit strange behavior. I believe she senses that the person who should have loved her the most, her biological mother, abandoned her. Therefore, she senses that she is unloveable and unloved and rejects others so that the inevitable will happen – we will get angry and reject her just as she rejects us. It is never easy. Our journey from the start has not been ideal, and yet, God placed the desire in our heart to adopt. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. I can only do this – continue to love her, prayer for her and abide in Christ through time in His Word. I know He has a plan and a purpose for her and it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose (Philippians 2:13). Meta Nelson, author of Great Expectations: An Adoption Story and Devotional and winner of the 2014 USA Best Book Awards, Christian Inspirational http://www.usabooknews.com/religion/christianinspirational.html

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  12. This post saved me today. I was feeling so guilty for not \”loving\” my adopted kid like my bio kids and knowing that I am not alone in feeling so depressed in this difficult journey seriously relieved me of more stress than you can imagine. Thank you.

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  13. Yes…I'm replying to my own post! I reread the article. So many truths in here. One that I pinpoint now is the mention of manipulation and lying. My daughter did not live on the streets and yet is deceptive and manipulative. On the other hand, she is emotionally fragile. I wonder if there is more to this tendency in adopted children, whether or not they experienced hardship in their past. My daughter was in four different foster homes during her first year of life. Perhaps this led to her sense that she could not rely on people, therefore, she is defensive and afraid she will be blamed leading to lies. Any illumination would be appreciated.Meta

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  14. Oh my goodness. This story is so true. I am adopted myself, and I always knew I wanted to adopt. We adopted 3 siblings from a south american country, ages 3, 4, and 5. We went from 0 to 3 non english speaking fully mobile children who had lived on the street and in orphanages. To say that it has been hard is the understatement of the century. We are 5 years into this wonderful new life, and some days we just weep with exhaustion; dying to our expectations and living up to the life which God has chosen to give us–the crazy, nuts, insane beauty and sadness of it all–has been the hardest ride of our lives. Our kids continue to struggle. But they are our kids, I wouldn't trade them for anything, and I'd fight anyone to the death who tried to take them from me. Although…some days, I feel like I might like to sell them to the gypsies. Ok, probably not. But you know how I feel! I have never learned so much about my own sinful nature as when I see my beautiful children look at me with their giant brown eyes and lie to me with utter sincerity. Anyway, this is to say that this article was water in the desert for me. With love from thankgoodnessitsus.blogspot.com.

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  15. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have family members who don't understand what a struggle it is to raise an adopted child. They think I'm a monster for wishing we could go back and change our minds. I have a master manipulator, a control freak stemming from 2 years in an orphanage where she had little to no contact with caregivers. She was malnourished and so very, very pale. But she is smarter than smart and cuter than cute. Yet it is still way harder than I ever imagined. We need more posts like this for people like us so that we know we are not alone! Bless you for your honesty and sharing your unimaginably tough story!

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  16. Thank you, Ashley, for this post. You write so beautifully and you are so transparent and honest. Thank you for this new insight into adoption. I was adopted at 3 months from South Korea but never was thought or referred to as \”store brought\” or a \”slave\”. God places a desire on the hearts of those who want to adopt and brings those families together. I was given an American name and their last name and was given new opportunities. What would happen if I wasn't adopted? Maybe I wouldn't have gone to church, heard the Gospel, and get saved. Who knows? When my adoptive parents die, as their children and heirs, my brother (who is adopted too) and I will get an inheritance from them. It doesn't matter if we look like our adoptive parents or not. It's about love and not giving up on each other. After being adopted into God's family at the time of our salvation, we become His sons and daughters and His heirs. All that is His we will have.

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  17. Thank you for this. We are raising my niece that had been diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder. It's so easy to say,\”give me that child I will raise then right. \” But once into it you really realize how hard it truly is. I never thought I would have to make a conscience decision to love her every day. My whole family and my children have made sacrifices. It's been hard but I know God is working in her and in us. She would be lost without us. On the upside she's been with us for over a year and I've started to see major improvement and genuine love and attachment to us.

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  18. I lost my childhood best friend because I showed just a lil of my crazy and it didnt fit with her view of what this 'perfect Angel' needed and that I was in the wrong

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  19. It is just one day at a time, but it can be done. My RAD son graduated high school and moved out over a year ago. He is living independently so we could not ask for more! It was only by God's grace we endured.

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  20. As the mom of 4, I was a little cocky about adoption. Pretty sure I packed a shirt reading, \”NAILED IT!\” in my suitcase as we traveled to adopt our 2 yr. old daughter. So, it was more than devastating when she REJECTED me (screaming if I tried to sit near her at dinner, scratching my face when I got too close, biting me, etc…) Through tears, I screamed to my husband that she was not my child and I wanted to give her back. I felt so much guilt over that one that I wanted to die. I am a disciple of Christ. I should have been able to handle it. I can now see that it was a huge refining process for me. God had some serious work to do in my heart before I was ever ready to parent such a hurt little girl. He almost had to allow me to be broken, so I could get a very small taste of the pain my daughter carries. Thank you for your honest words. I love the raw transparency in your post! You encouraged me greatly today!!!

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  21. Thank you so much for posting some of the most honest words I have read in a long time. My husband and I adopted a 2 year old little boy just over 2 months ago. These past 2 months have been the greatest weeks and the hardest weeks of my entire life. It isn't easy helping a 2 year old who doesn't understand anything that he is safe and loved. It isn't easy to give so much love and still get blank stares when you ask him for a hug or a kiss. Thank you for the encouragement and the reminder that this is a stepping stone and just a transition phase. Thank you. I couldn't have found this blog post at a better time. I felt guilty for my feelings and felt alone. It is so refreshing to see that I am normal!

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  22. A very real and honest post. Thanks for being so candid. Shame on those that condemn you for it. I have had my daughter home for 9 years. It was hard then, it is hard now. It is HARD. Adoption therapy has helped and we are back at it now. Thankfully, we get this resource free since ours was a foster care adoption. It is too bad that it is not offered to all adoptive parents. I very recently read \”Wounded Children, Healing Homes\”. I highly recommend it. Love that book.

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  23. Amen! With the help of God and strong faith and friends and understanding and love of family, we have made it through 25 years of adopting four children, with many failures and some successes thrown in.

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  24. So amazing! We are 7 years in with two and 6years in with another. We have one who has been the object of my tears for the past 7 years. What have we done has been our question quite often. I will say I quit looking at good days and bad days. I look for the good moments. He still has moments, just not hourly. I have not always liked him. I always love him. I have not always been able to protect him but I have always been his advocate. Out of everything, I have taught them one thing! From the day God created them they were my sons. They just had a detour to get to me.

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  25. We also have experienced adoption (actually three times). Our story did not turn out so well. We adopted three siblings and the older two(we got the youngest at birth) were more hurt. They ended up becoming so violent that the youngest now suffers PTSD from the abuse he endured at their hands. After nine years we sadly had no choice but to let them go back into the system and they remain broken and in the hands of a system that is also broken. I will never quit missing them, loving them and praying for them. My heart is broken. It has been three years now and I still hurt. My ten year old still doesn't sleep through the night because of nightmares. My prayer is that one day the older two will realize we did all we could to help them. Praying for you as you go about daily making a difference, God's blessings to all mother's out there who are doing their best!!

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  26. Oh if we only had time to write a book (but that's not going to happen any time soon). In early 2012 we started our journey to bring home a 13yo girl from China. We came home in early 2013 with our 13yo girl and an 11yo girl. Both were abandoned at later ages (around 8 and 9 years old). The stories we could tell of the meltdowns, tantrums, destruction, anger, sadness… are myriad. It is stunning to see the effects of a child who has grown up without love, nurture, instruction, education, direction and development. All the training in the world (and we had plenty) will not prepare one for the day-to-day battle for the heart and soul of these precious ones.Yes, our girls have come a long way. Yes, we love them immensely and would go back and do it all over again. But adoption is definitely not for the faint of heart. Our faith in God and the strength of God is what has carried us thus far in our journey. We can relate to many things told in this story. We were empty-nesters, having trained up two children (now well into adulthood). We had the 'good life' as it may be said. But we knew in our hearts that there was something much greater in life to live for than running, baseball games and grandchildren. We are incredibly blessed to have our two Chinese princesses as our daughters. Their trauma and loss manifests itself in different ways day-to-day. It may be tough, but it really worth it. Jesus paid it all; this is but a small thing we are doing compared to what He has done for us. Grace to all of you adoptive and prospective adopting parents.

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  27. Thank you for this true and real article. I've said several times in the last couple of months, the system needs to better tell the truth to prospective adoptive parents. I've considered asking if I could share our experiences in the classes. We adopted 3 teenage sibling girls 2 years ago, four years after the tragic death of our biological daughter. The oldest left after 2 years when she turned 18. The other 2 seem happy but are constantly lying one day and the next giving us \”gifts\” to prove their love. I've recently learned why we repeatedly have to teach consequences of bad decisions to teens who you would think could understand it. But they just have a blank stare like I'm from Mars, never feeling remorse. I've learned a lot about attachment disorder, which has been a great help. It is a very real learning experience for us. Although we knew how ugly it could be from former adoptions by our siblings, it's different when it's staring you in the face daily. But, as I saw in other posts, it reminds me daily of the love Christ has for us, as undeserving as we are. Every morning His mercies are new. We must be the same. I know we did the right thing and there are very good times of feeling almost like a normal family. We put ALL our trust in God who is more than able. We can provide the needed earthly things but He is responsible for the miracles!

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  28. I've been trying to figure out how to respond to this without sounding jumbled. I'm a 36 year old adoptee from the Philippines. I was adopted at 18 months and have spent much of my adult life in therapy trying to figure out why I am not more grateful for the opportunities I have been given. I have felt like I am missing puzzle pieces to who I am my whole life. Thankfully, and by (what I believe) the Grace of God, I have moved on from trying to fill my missing pieces with dangerous and/or unfulfilling substitutes. I feel as if I am one of the lucky ones. I watch fellow overseas adoptees struggle over and over again. I really think there needs to be an honest discussion about the ramifications of adoptions and honest answers from adoptees about how most likely being different, physically and emotionally, from their adopted families effects their lives. Don't get me wrong, I love my adopted family. But I feel that growing up as I did, expected to live as if being adopted as a baby didn't affect me, did so much harm. Of course this is just my perspective as well as opinion but I too appreciate this blog post.

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  29. Thank you for writing this. My husband and I had our \”perfect family of four\”, and my son was only 5 months old when we tried to adopt our own tiny brown haired teenage girl. After 5 months of HELL wherein she actually tried to kill my husband at one point, we had to give her up to a group home. We visited for 6 months, planning to eventually reunify, before she permanently severed things with us. Just hearing someone else talk about all the ugly, about how it's not all a cake walk…very refreshing. Thank you.And, for the record, we've fostered other children since then and plan to adopt someday 🙂

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  30. Uhhhh your a pastor and you pass such judgement. Im sure you have not experienced the significance of the attachment trauma and behaviors because those older children you fostered arent attaching ir feeling threatened by attachment. This woman ckearly had a child w reactive attachment disorder. You have no udea. May her pen be ger therapy because raising a child with emotional disturbance us truly gods work!

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  31. Oh. My. Goodness. Thank you so much for your honesty. And, even more thank you for your insight. I OFTEN question: WHAT WERE WE THINKING?!?! and then I remember, \”oh, yeah, God asked us to do this\” and then I remember, and that means I am going to receive what I need to 'make it through' and I am going to grow in ways only HE can accomplish in me… not fun, many days, but the end result… well worth it!! Thanks again for you honesty!! This is a very well-written piece.

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  32. You are not alone in your perspective. Almost 48 years old, have met much of birth family, and still feel puzzled. Being expected to act like I wasn't really adopted takes a toll. To this day I still feel like I am never \”enough\”. Wishing you peace.

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  33. Wow. Thank you for this.We are new to fostering and I've struggled with not liking my child at times. He is sweet and lovable, but he has some issues that are difficult for me to deal with. I was even afraid to google \”I don't like my foster child\” because I thought someone might find out. Instead I googled \”how to bond to your foster child.\” It's ridiculous, I know. But I see all these other foster families with stay at home moms that have it all together. They have corrected their children's bad behavior in a matter of weeks. Yet, for me, we are still struggling months later.You really have no idea how encouraging it was to read this. To know that someone else is open about having a hard time with loving a foster/adoptive child. To know that it's not shameful. (I've felt a lot of shame and guilt these last few months.)Thank you,Jenny

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  34. Saving the world one Orphan at a time! God has bless you with words to express what so many of us feel. We adopted our first 8 years ago, then 7 years ago we adopted three more. All siblings but they weren't raised together, three were abused in foster care.Thankful for a relationship with our Heavenly Father. Wounds heal, scars disappear, love happens. Our children are now 23,19,17 and 16. Our 23 year old is lost to the world and we pray for her every day, the 19 year old looks in wrong places as well for what she will only find in the Fathers arms. We still have not lost hope for the younger two. We are not alone in this. Love abounds!! Jesus saves>

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  35. Thank you for this heartfelt article. I adopted three children, two were older. To date, one of the two older ones has grown into a relational, loving man. The other one has gone her own way as an adult. They have always, and remain, in the Hands of our Father.Thank you again for such an incredible article.

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  36. Thanks to adult adoptees offering their stories and experience for us to hear. As an adoptive parent if a seven year old, I think it's really important to listen to adults that can give us insight into their stories.

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  37. We adopted 5 children from Brazil 5 years ago and God's timing is always perfect because I am reading this exactly when I needed to be. Thank you for your honesty.

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  38. I have a poster my sister gave my adopted daughter that reads \”Hang in there, God isn't finished with me yet\” I look at this poster now (still hanging outside of her door) and dealing with all of the teenage issues and say 'Dear Lord, help me to hang in there just one more day' I think, is there really adoption baggage? What is she going through as she tells all her classmates that she is adopted. They can't believe it, they both fit our family so well. My husband and I have always felt so fortunate to get our adopted siblings so young. We have always had a great support system around us. We have had a normal family and I have always been open and honest with them about the foster to adoption process we did. But, as a 15 year old my daughter has turned on me and I know there is 'stuff' that I can't fix. It is so discouraging and hurtful, but we can get through this with God's help. Reading your blog has been an encouragement to me. Don't let the few hurtful things posted overshadow the encouragement. The sweetest moments in our lives aren't always the happiest. They are the moments when we turn to God, broken and begging for His grace.

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  39. Thank you EVERYONE for sharing your stories with me! I have prayed for you all today. Wow, what a humbling experience this has been for me. I said it before, but I had no idea this post would receive such an outpouring of families in on the same walk as ours. God is so good and so big. THANK YOU for you loving these kids. Thank you for speaking words of hope and healing. We need each other in this walk. God is faithful! Sorry I haven't been responding to each of you. I just figured out how to change my blog settings to where I could \”reply\” to comments. Now that there are so many, I don't have time to catch up! But please know that I have read each one and have been touched by your honesty. Prayers for you all.

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  40. Yes! Thank you to the adoptees who are speaking out. I love to hear your perspective and I commend each of you for being bold and speaking your heart. I pray for hope and healing that only Christ can bring. Pray for us as we navigate this journey as well. We need each other.

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  41. I'm so sorry for the insensitivity of this. I was going to delete the original comment, but I was afraid it would also deleter your comments and I want you to be heard. The adoption system is very broken. I am praying for healing in your lives and please know that the majority of the adoptive community does not view our adopted children as \”store-bought\”. I pray that each of you find healing and I want you to know that is what we long for for our adopted children as well. That's what my post was about. I hope that you have never felt like a slave and I pray that you can see that our adoptive children come at a great \”price\” and we are willing to pay it not because they are slaves but because we know that they are so much more valuable than money and we are therefore willing to pay whatever it costs to make them our own. Christ gave his own life, the greatest sacrifice of all, to make us His children. I'm so sorry that you have been hurt by the system.

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  42. My heart just broke a little bit more. I have never adopted, mostly because I have never felt like I had enough to give. But I have friends who have adopted children, and have never ever thought of them as store bought. We ( as their extended family) have never seen them as not belonging, and although we recognise that they did not have the same beginning, there is no difference between them and any of the other children. They are simply all small people in need of love. I would love to see the system changed, because, if the fees were not so prohibitive, we would likely have looked more thoroughly into adopting years ago. However, it never occurred to me that the children who were being put up for adoption would see themselves as being sold, especially with a return policy. It hurts my heart for them even more.

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  43. Wow, this single mom needed to hear that. I have one bio and one adopted! My first thought when I go through this is it's because I'm a single mom. Thanks

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  44. Anonymous-you should not have to feel more grateful for the opportunities you have been given. Those opportunities came with a huge loss, a huge trade off. It does not mean you can't appreciate things, that you don't love your life, that you don't understand the gravity of how differently your life might have looked if you had grown up somewhere else. But to say that you should be more grateful seems to imply this unsaid ranking of gratitude, where an adoptee is never really quite grateful enough. I don't ever want my adopted kids to feel like they owe me gratitude. I want them to love me and their birth families, to know they are loved in return, and to know that they matter simply on the merit of being a child of God, created by Him for a purpose, that He has never left them and has constantly been at work in their lives. But gratitude…not so much.

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  45. Have you considered that you got what you DESERVED? So many adoptive parents feel ENTITLED to a kid. To someone else's kid. They may pay lip service to the importance of adoption ethics, but they do not care enough to actually alter their behavior, i.e. not adopt that kid, not spend $20k that effectively provides the financial incentive for folks overseas to steal/sell/traffic kids into international adoptions. What goes around, comes around. Karma. Divine retribution, if you prefer.You deserve it. So do so so so many over-entitled adoptive parents.

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