Adjusting to Being an Adoptive Parent

adjusting-to-being-an-adoptive-parentI feel like the last year has been a whirlwind and I am just now catching my breath-sort of. I was running so tired I needed to cut loose everything that I could to focus on what is important. There have been some very important things…

I no longer have to use the title “foster mom” when I take my little girl to the doctor or fill out any official paperwork. I don’t have to get permission to travel with her or consult with social workers about what her needs are. I can post pictures of her, hence my excitement with this blog’s title photo. I can just take care of it since I’m now simply “mom”. 

I’ve spent the past year adapting to being an adoptive mom and I absolutely could not be more grateful. It is a strange balance of feeling not nothing is different since we’ve had our Emily since she was five weeks old and adjusting to having all the parental rights I have with our bio kids. I love the fact that now there is no difference amongst my kids- not foster and bio, temporary and permanent, or placement and family. They are all just my kids.

While I have been ecstatic over this change, I have also been grieving. Emily has some ongoing eating challenges that are becoming a bigger deal than originally foreseen. In light of all this, we decided that it was best that we give up our license to foster more kids. While I had the pleasure of watching another little girl for a week as a respite placement for her foster family, five kids are beyond my capacity with Emily’s needs right now.

Fostering has been such a big part of my life for the past four years that making the decision to move on was wrenching. When you are working as part of the system, it is so easy to see all the needs and to make a difference. By default, giving up a license felt like “giving up” for the longest time.

But that is a false dichotomy.

I don’t think it was a coincidence that a friend who is a social worker shared with me some needs for her kids that I could help with right after I decided it was time to “quit”. My identity doesn’t need to be that I am a foster parent to feel like I am doing what I should. In fact, my identity shouldn’t be in this at all. God pulled back the veil just enough to remind me that no matter where we are, He will use us. Not everyone needs to foster, but everyone had the capacity to do something if we choose to do so.

Ministry is like that. There is no divide between “ministry”, in a spiritual sense, and daily life. It is a choice to be present and be the person we were meant to be in those seemingly small decisions that don’t seem to mean much at the time. But these are the decisions that add up over time to create the sum of a life.

Our adventure is changing and one day we hope to foster again, just when the kids are bigger (and I’m not having to lock up the pantry to keep a certain little one from eating literally 24/7. You know it’s bad when noises in the night don’t conjure up fears of burglars, but rather a toddler raiding the fridge…again.)

I’m going to be writing as much as I can, but as much as I would to love to return to my weekly posting schedule, I’m not sure if it’s possible with all I have on my plate. Please subscribe to make sure you don’t miss out on any upcoming posts.

Speaking of which, please excuse me while I go break up the fight between my four kids. My three-year-old daughter is attacking her three older brothers with nunchuks while screaming, “Die! Die! Die!” At least the boys are laughing hysterically…

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2 thoughts on “Adjusting to Being an Adoptive Parent

  1. We have five children – four boys and a girl, although all but one have left home. We are currently grandparents to one adopted grandchild and one fostered grandchild (plus one other and another on the way). I love the way that you compare parenthood with ministry – such a good reminder that ministry should be an all day every day part of our lives – just like parenting and grand-parenting, and just like God’s parenting of each of us.

    • Thanks, David! Wow, your home and heart sound so full- that is such an inspiration to me while I am in the thick of it! I honestly feel like God is teaching me so much about Himself as I’m running around like mad with all these hilarious kids (I know you can relate!). I’m thankful I get the opportunity to do this. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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