Fear, Inadequacy and True Strength, or, How I’m Not Cut Out For Adoption


A moment of love. Because I typically don’t take pictures when he’s hitting.

It’s the three hundredth time he’s hit his brother today, or pulled his sister’s hair, and I repeat again that we don’t hit, we hug, and give him a time-out, and show gentle touch, and sometimes when I’m exasperated I give his hand a little swat. As if by hitting I will teach him not to hit? I don’t know.

He’s an active 2-year-old, just crazy and loud, really, obstinate sometimes, honestly, and now sometimes when he hits or turns the oven dials I see a trace of a smile on his face and I am all out of ideas. I don’t realize just how loud and active things are in our house until the social worker visit, or bringing him to the swim meet, when we get all kinds of “he’s got a lot of energy, doesn’t he?” comments and I agree but begin to wonder if he’s out of control. (And what does it mean to control your child anyway? Probably something to do with hitting, and so I move away from that idea a little more.)

I have the thought at least once a day: I’m not cut out for adoption.

Or really, I can do adoption — the paperwork, the bureaucratic web, the checklists. What I’m not cut out for? is parenting. Or more accurately, loving unconditionally. Loving well. Doing right by my kids. Giving grace and mercy instead of the law and harshness. Balancing truth and love and grace and discipline.

We have three children, which many people think is already a lot of children, and then we feel like there’s at least one more out there waiting for us. And when we’re at the swim meet or the social worker is over or people are staring (because they always do, our colors contrast so much), I know that I know that I know: I can’t do this. I wonder at God, who put such a burning desire in us for adoption, who has moved obstacles out of our way to make it happen, and I laugh a little, maybe like Sarah did long ago, when her long-empty womb was suddenly full when no one, not even she, believed it possible.

Sarah’s womb wasn’t cut out for pregnancy. And I’m not cut out for parenting three-plus children.

Shouldn’t this calling go to a daycare provider or something? I ask God. Are you sure?

The enormity, the life long-ness of the calling weighs on me sometimes.

And then He reminds me that I don’t have to be strong, because He is.

I don’t have to make another adoption happen, because He is able.

I don’t have to have parenting super-powers, because he will equip me, he will give me daily what I need, like manna, just enough, and tomorrow, again enough. Enough. And even I will be enough for the task.

Because pushing into whatever scares you but feels so right? That can be what it feels like to live right in the palm of God’s hand. Being there sometimes doesn’t feel secure or safe. It feels vulnerable, even dangerous. As if I am being called to remember, constantly, that I’m not cut out for this. It’s true: I can’t do this. Not without Him.

In Him, all things. Without Him, nothing.

Remind me again today.

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2 comments on “Fear, Inadequacy and True Strength, or, How I’m Not Cut Out For Adoption

  1. Tears came stingingly to my eyes reading this. A knowing, I’m not cut out for adoption either. An incredible inadequacy as I wait another, hopefully, three months to go and fetch my daughter. A mother, but not yet a mother. And I am amazingly inadequate without Him. Thank you for the honesty of this post.

  2. Here I am, writing up a post on adoption to put on my blog tomorrow and I come here wondering, “What do other adoptive moms write about with their adoption?” And here you are, writing the very words I am tonight.

    It was a gift meeting you at Allume and I am sad I didn’t make more intentional time to sit and talk with you. Right now, we are first in line for a referral. I don’t think the reality of all this will really hit until I see the face(s) of the child(ren) we will be coming for. Kind of like when you see your baby at your first ultrasound or find out if it’s a boy or a girl. It becomes more real and the planning of the room and clothes and toys don’t really happen until then.

    Does that make sense? Wouldn’t that be a neat Christmas gift? {Smile}