We believe it is critically important that parents who are preparing to adopt or foster a child must be honest and realistic about the journey and the challenges that lie ahead. Just as Jesus in Luke 14 challenged those who would follow him to "count the cost," so too parents who respond to God’s call to adopt or foster must be willing to count the cost of the adoption journey and prepare to “lay down their lives” to love their child and help him or her become all that God intends.
The following questions are designed to help parents (and parents-to-be) honestly assess the journey ahead and what it will require. We encourage you to thoughtfully and prayerfully consider these questions. They are not meant to scare you or in any way discourage you from continuing on this amazing path. Instead, our desire is simply that these questions will point you toward the hope and help that you need to form a strong and lasting connection with your child as you faithfully follow God’s call on your life.
Are you willing to acknowledge and fully embrace your child’s history, including that which you know and that which you will likely never know?
Are you willing to accept that your child has been affected by his/her history, possibly in profound ways, and as a result that you will need to parent your child in a way that exhibits true compassion and promotes connection and healing?
Are you willing to parent differently than how you were parented, how you have parented in the past, or how your friends parent their children? Are you willing to “un-learn” certain parenting strategies and approaches that may not be effective with your child, even if you have used these strategies and approaches successfully with your other children in the past?
Are you willing to educate yourself, your parents, family and friends on an ongoing basis in order to promote understanding of your child’s needs and how best to meet those needs?
Are you willing to be misunderstood, criticized and even judged by others who do not understand your child’s history, the impacts of that history and how you have been called to love and connect with your child in order to help him/her heal and become all that God intends?
Are you prepared to advocate for your child’s needs, including at school, church, in extracurricular settings, and otherwise, in order to create predictability and promote environments that enable your child to feel safe and allow him/her to succeed?
Are you willing to sacrifice your own convenience, expectations and desires in order to connect with your child and help him/her heal, even if that process is measured in years, not months?
Are you willing to fully embrace your child’s holistic needs, including his/her physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual needs?
Are you willing to seek ongoing support and maintain long-term connections with others who understand your journey and the challenges that you face? Are you willing to intentionally seek and accept help when you encounter challenges with your child that you are not equipped to adequately deal with?
Are you willing to acknowledge that you as a parent bring a great deal to the equation when it comes to how your child will attach and connect? Are you willing to honestly examine (on an ongoing basis) your motivations and expectations relating to your adoption journey? Are you willing to look at your own past (including your past losses and trauma, both big and small) and consider how your past may impact your interactions with your child? Are you willing to consistently examine your role as parent as you experience challenges and difficulties along the journey?
(Questions from empoweredtoconnect.org)
- Successful Adoption: A Guide for Christian Families (by Natalie Nichols Gilllespie) provides a comprehensive Christian guide for adoptive families.
- Handbook on Thriving as an Adoptive Family: Real-Life Solutions to Common Challenges (by David and Renee Sanford) provides comprehensive, topical, Bible-based solutions for the inevitable challenges after adoption.
- Fields of the Fatherless (by C. Thomas Davis) inspires readers to share God’s heart for orphans and offers a broad range of helpful resources and organizations.
- Loved by Choice (by Susan Horner) True stories that celebrate adoption and reflect the joys and the difficulties of those touched by adoption from virtually every perspective
- My Adopted Child: There’s No One Like You (by Kevin Leman) A read-to-me children’s picture book, this book conveys love, acceptance, and a sense of individuality to adopted children.
- Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches (by Russell Moore) This book is a stirring call to Christian families and churches to be a people who care for orphans, not just in word, but in deed.
- HowtoAdopt.org is a service of Shaohannah’s Hope, the organization founded by Christian musician Steven Curtis Chapman. It provides background information, responses to myths about adoption and practical steps for pursuing adoption.
- Life Group – Adults are invited to connect with others at 8:00, 9:15, and 11:00 am. Visit bellevue.org/life-groups for a current list of classes where you will experience biblical teaching, encouraging relationships, and fellowship opportunities.
- Call Family Ministry to be referred to a family that has been blessed by adoption at (901) 347-5751.
- TN Dept. of Children Services
- Christian Alliance for Orphans
- Focus on the Family
- Show Hope
- LifeSong for Orphans