adop·tion – noun \ə-ˈdäp-shən\
: the act or process of adopting a child
: the act or process of beginning to use something new or different
: the act or process of giving official acceptance or approval to something
November. Autumn. Colored leaves fell to the ground. We celebrated the beauty of the season and gave thanks. But in the midst of the beauty, we saw death. All around nature was decaying. Grass was turning brown, the leaves fluttered to the ground, and creation slowed down and began its wait for a time when the seasons change and spring will burst forth with new life.
November was also National Adoption Month. Adoption, too, is beautiful and painful, a process of dying and waiting and expectantly hoping for new life to spring forth.
As an adoptive parent struggling through a painful season, I’m reminded that dying to oneself and pain and suffering are often necessary to bring about new life. From the outside, many people comment on how amazing adoption is. And they’re right; it is beautiful. But all of that comes from pain and loss. Those things deeply impact who our children are for the rest of their lives. There will be healing and change and wonderful things that come from it, but this side of heaven, there will never be complete healing from the loss they’ve experienced. We love our children dearly, but love is not enough to fix the loss and abandonment that is a part of who they are. Thankfully, because we’re still breathing, there’s always hope.
So, what does this have to do with you, reader? National Adoption Month may now be behind us, but there are still things you can do to help orphans and care for adoptive families.
Are you a foster or adoptive parent? Are you struggling? You are not alone. Life is hard; adoption is hard. Ask for prayer, tell your community or your family what’s going on. Let them know. At times, knowing there are friends and family interceding for us when we don’t feel like we can go on is more meaningful than anything we could imagine.
Do you know some foster/adoptive families? What can you do? Ask them how they are, and then listen. Offer to bring over some groceries. Show up and play with the kids to let mom take a walk or a bath, or bring over coffee and sit and chat. Come over and rake leaves, clean out the gutters, or shovel the walk. Ask them how you can pray for them, send them a note of encouragement, or send a text or call to let them know you’re thinking of them.
With all of the struggles, foster/adoptive families often feel alone and isolated, but you can help change that!
Adoption is so many things, and not everyone is called to adopt, but everyone can do something to help those who have. In November, and in every month of the year.
WORD COUNT: 457
Shelly Bergeron lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and two sons. She and her husband have been foster parents and have adopted children with special needs both domestically and internationally. Her husband, Jon, is the Director of Hope for Orphans FamilyCare, and Shelly serves along with him in that organization. Shelly also is a certified ASL interpreter and supports and encourages families in the deaf community. The Bergerons have been instrumental in establishing and leading deaf ministries in their church.
Oh, and don’t forget about the Not-So-Secret “Writing for the New Year” Giveaway that is going on through December 12. Here are the details:
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Photo by Cindee Snider Re, used with permission.