Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Reluctant Husband Syndrome - Question 6


Will the adopted child accept us, and what if we get more than we bargain for?

Most people go into adoption wanting the perfect child—one who loves us and one who’s healthy (not seriously ill or difficult to live with).  But more often than not, we hear the nightmare stories.

“We had a neighbor who adopted from Ethiopia and that child abused the other children.”

“You had better watch out for Reactive Attachment Disorder.  My cousin brought home a girl from Tennessee who wanted nothing to do with them or the other kids.”

“We thought we were getting a child with just Hepatitis B, but this child is seriously autistic too!”

We can relate to the last question.  Before we adopted Haven, an American family had flown there to pick her up.  After spending just five days with her, after legally adopting her, they disrupted because she acted autistic, something they had not known and were not prepared for.  As it turns out, Haven is not autistic at all.  As many of you know, she is recovering from PTSD from being abused in the orphanage for many years.  But today she is such a sweet, loving darling—we don’t know what we’d do without her!

There is no doubt about it.  Adopting can be very challenging.  That is why everyone who says yes to going down this road should be prepared.  Be assured of these two things before you take this journey: 

(1)    Familiarize yourself with possible risks.

This does not mean that parents should research ad nauseum all of the risks involved with adopting from particular countries.  But know that in certain Eastern European nations, for example, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is common.  In certain Asian countries, being a carrier for Hep B is not unusual.  And unfortunately, HIV is rising in all countries around the world.

Still, one truth remains:


And this is true whether it’s a foreign or domestic adoption.  Authorities either do not have the will nor the resources to conduct proper medical and psychiatric exams.  The question you should ask yourself is, Are we prepared to take whatever we get, regardless of what our child actually has, medically or behaviorally, that we didn't know about prior to adoption?

Now even though risks appear greater with adopting a child, isn’t it also true that we really don’t know for sure what our biological child will turn out to be like when he or she pops out?  There are always risks, but how far are we willing to go? 

(2) Rely on the Holy Spirit to select your child for you.

This holds true whether an adoption agency presents you with a referral, or as you peruse waiting-child lists.  Whether a friend shoots you a plea on her blog or via e-mail, or if you find yourself at an orphanage choosing a child while you’re there, like in Russia.

Here the question is, Is THIS our child?  We are God’s precious, beloved children.  We give our lives and our wills to Him because we trust Him (more than we trust our own abilities!).  When God tells us to “walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16), we can rest knowing that He directs our steps.

How do we know?  How can we be sure?  We just do.  I know that’s not much help to you, but if you’ve never really had to trust God for an important decision in your life, maybe He wants to use you in adopting to experience the great reward of trusting Him and seeing results.

I think the greatest fear we have is that when we ask God to show us His will on something, He’ll actually do it.

For us, adoption is really no different to any other thing God calls us to do in this life.  The road can be painful, hard, and more stretching and challenging than anything we have ever done in our lives.  When God calls us, He never promises us an easy road without trials.  In fact, we know the trials will come.  He promised them.

The thing is, we need to hold onto His promises, trusting that He will never give us more than we can handle.  That includes adoption, too.  And remember, the reward far outweighs the risk.

But...but...BUT, dear friends.  I must tell you this.  MOST children you endeavor to adopt will NOT have attachment issues, will NOT have complexities that you must deal with, and will NOT harm your other children. 

Most orphans are just plain innocent children craving a home they can call their own.  A place of safety where all of their needs will be taken care of.  Most orphans out there LONG for two special people they can call Mommy and Daddy.  And other kids who dearly love them and help them in this growing up thing; kids they can call Brother or Sister.

When we adopted Haven, we were told she may have uncontrollable, violent outbursts.  That she is extremely antisocial, and as I stated earlier, that she's severely autistic.  Either those were all lies or God did an instantaneous miracle when we got her.  Not one of those things is true.  She may not speak yet, and she may sit on her own, but she giggles when the dog or her siblings crawl all over her.  She's so content, it puts our other kids to shame.  And she loves to be held and hugged. 

When we got Hailee, we were told she didn't like to be held at all, never made eye contact, and that she never attached to any caretaker in the orphanage.  To all of that we say, Are we talking about the same girl?  It took a little while, but soon Hailee craved arms and kisses, smiling and laughing when she was showered with them.  She'll make eye contact all the time.  And regarding never attaching to caretakers, thank God she didn't.  We met the caretakers.  They loved the kids in their care about as much as I love caring for my garden--I don't weed.  I don't water.  I don't give a toss.  And the plants eventually die.

Be encouraged.

Fear not.

Be a world changer.

God may very well be asking you and your family to show this child something they have never experienced before—His utter, astonishing, unconditional healing love. 


  1. I jumped over to your blog from your wife's. Keep writing. I know you are touching lives. You have already answered so many of my questions, fears, thoughts.

    Thank you.

  2. Great couple posts here brother - we too use Memorial Day as it's intended - giving thanks to those who have helped create and protect the most free country in our world - and the 'unknown solder' is highest on our list.

    As for question 6 - you hit the nail on the head - bio kids are a 'crap shoot' too - you get what you get and none of our kids (bio or adopted) come with a warranty or instruction manual!! (but sure wish they came with the latter sometimes!!)

    But - in some ways you have a 'heads up' with adopted kids - you know that there will be times like last night - when our 4 year old just had an emotional meltdown of biblical perportions - for no apparant reason. Surely something triggered it - maybe something on the TV or radio - or something at a picnic on Sunday that she saw or what ever - but it was completely 'panic mode raw emotion' because we asked her to brush her teeth and get ready for bed....

    And we learned - and we coped - and we'll get better over time....but what we saw was obviously a PTSD reaction to something.

    And every month it seems that they are farther and farther apart - that says something too....love does help fix it!

    thanks bro - aus and co.

  3. Thank you so much for posting this! It gives such a great perspective into adoption.

  4. Thank you for answering questions right out of my own head. Your encouragement means more than you can know.

  5. i know these posts is for guys, but I like reading what you have to say too! We are open to certain special needs, one being missing limbs or limb deformities. Lately Ive been wondering and sort of worrying- what if she has NO legs or what if she has NO arms? But God is Sovereign and He loves her anyway and so will I. He knows her already. Thanks for your encouraging advice.

  6. Like I said before, I love this series!

    This is hubby's other big hang up. Which I find ironic, since we have a daughter with Ds, and have already done the "more than you bargained for" thing. Don't get me wrong, we wouldn't change a thing, and knew Claire had Ds prenatally, but still I find this objection kind of funny....


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