Faith, Family, and the Adoption Journey

Last summer, we canoed down the Saco River.  With kayaks, canoes, and colorful life jackets, we were a festive family flotilla bobbing along in the gentle current. On the way to our destination, we swam, sunned ourselves on sandbars, and the kids played a rousing game of gunwale wars. It was the kind of day that becomes a better memory every year, except . . .

We received some misinformation along the way and our end point was actually further down the river than we had thought — by several hours. Wild with a quiet panic, I paddled and fretted. As the sun began to set and I pictured us navigating around fallen trees and exposed granite in the dark, I announced to my husband, “I’m not a process person!  I’m a destination person, and I want this journey to be over!”

Kristin Hill Taylor found herself navigating a similar course in her journey of infertility and the decision to adopt.  Steering around the discomfort and inconvenience of fertility treatments, enduring the open-ended waiting process, and keeping one eye on the sunset that comes with aging ovaries, she found herself returning to Daniel’s Old Testament anthem to God’s sovereignty:

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
For wisdom and might are His.
And He changes the times and the seasons;
He removes kings and raises up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise
And knowledge to those who have understanding.
 He reveals deep and secret things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And light dwells with Him.  (Daniel 2:20-23)

God graciously allowed Kristin to stay close to the truth that waiting is an opportunity for growth — but that does not mean it was easy! Once Kristin and her husband Greg entered the adoption process, they faced an entirely new set of circumstances that were beyond their control. Even so, they could see the hand of God at work when a young mum made the brave choice to continue her pregnancy and selected the Taylors as an adoptive family for her baby.

Kristin shares her astonishment at the great gift of insight adoption brought to her understanding of the Christian life. Understanding the depth of God’s choosing love and leaning into this faith gave Kristin peace in the process of becoming a mum and leaving a much-loved career to stay home with her first child. The Taylors went on to adopt two more babies, each story unique and each child a gift from God.

By sharing the details of each adoption and including the diverse stories of a number of friends who also adopted, Kristin prepares readers who are considering adoption for the twists and turns of the process.  Throughout the years of her story arc, it seemed that Kristin was perpetually updating a home study or weathering another round of disappointed hopes.  She learned that “few things define us more than how we struggle.” (49) And she realized that she was NOT a good struggler.  However, she was also in a process of transformation — as is every believer.

The sandpaper that God chose to use in Kristin’s situation was the adoption process and the emotionally draining job of mothering multiple children. As Kristin openly shares her moments of weakness and the ways in which God used His Word to instruct her, I was also challenged to dig into the truth of the book of James that “God wants me to live out my faith with my hands and my feet and my words and my actions and my attitudes and my relationships and my decision and my whole entire life.”

A closer examination of the adoption process pushed my understanding of being pro-life beyond a political position and into a realization that children are worth the level of effort, investment, and inconvenience that adoption can sometimes create. The formation of a family is worth the risk and the vulnerability.

The Taylor family has come together through adoption, and although the journey was not predictable or planned, the result is all that Kristin could have hoped for. The uniqueness of their family’s growth served as the occasion for witnessing God’s glory on display as He brought order to brokenness and wove together a network of love and connections in the making of a family.

Raymond Kayak
And, yes, the journey down the river was worth it, too!

//

This book was provided by the author in exchange for my review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Michele Morin

Michele Morin is a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for over 25 years, and their four children are growing up at an alarming rate. Michele loves hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop her in her tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family. She laments biblical illiteracy and advocates for the prudent use of “little minutes.” She blogs at Living Our Days, and you can connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

53 thoughts on “Faith, Family, and the Adoption Journey”

  1. I can’t imagine being in the rafting situation you were and the fear you must have felt. I’m familiar with the verse you used but it seems to take on a different light here and is applicable to your water adventure or a dear woman struggling with infertility and the adoption process. Isn’t that just like God’s Word? Thank you for the book review. I have a number of people I’ll recommend it to. ~ Abby

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    1. Thank you, Abby, for validating my panic. I hope I can learn from these process lessons so that I go into the next one with a little more faith.
      Glad to know that the book will be helpful to some people you know.
      Looking forward to our next “meeting.”

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  2. I don’t think I’m a process person either! Those times of waiting and being “in the middle” can be so hard, but they are also times God can use to shape us and grow us. This book sounds like a great testimony of that and I’m sure it will be helpful to many other families considering adoption.

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  3. Michele – You experience had to be very frightening. I used to be a destination kind of gal, but life’s hardships taught me to enjoy the journey. I still like having a destination but have learned there is so much to see along the way. I can find joy and beauty in the midst of fear and hardships.

    Kristin’s book sounds great especially for those in the process of adoption. I am adopted and to be honest never gave it a ton of thought as to the process involved in it. Maybe I will have to give it a read.

    Thank you for sharing,
    Maree

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for this input, Maree. God does use the circumstances of our lives to give us a better appreciation for the long view. And I had not thought of this book as being of interest to those who have been adopted, but I can surely see that it would be! Thanks for reading!

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  4. I know it wasn’t meant to be funny, but I almost laughed when you said “I’m a destination person, and I want this journey to be over!” I can identify. I am not outdoorsy, and being outdoors in an unknown place hours from where I am supposed to be as darkness settles in – I would have been in a panic at that point. My husband is a math and science person and always says everything is just a problem to be figured out. But at times I don’t want to figure it out, I just want it dealt with. I’m glad you all made it out ok in one piece.

    We’ve known of some lovely adoption stories in our church and had the experience of one sister placing her daughter for adoption – heartbreaking even if it is the best solution for all involved. But we have all kept in touch over the years, and now that daughter is married and has adopted two special needs children.

    This sounds like a great book. Love this quote especially: “God wants me to live out my faith with my hands and my feet and my words and my actions and my attitudes and my relationships and my decision and my whole entire life.”

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    1. Thanks for seeing the humor in the situation, Barbara. I guess that was a crazy perspective — too bad I couldn’t just declare it to be so!
      Thanks for sharing your heartwarming experiences with adoption. My favorite story on this end is that a family in our church adopted two children from Ethiopia and one of them is my youngest son’s best buddy. And, best of all, they are brothers-in-law and co-uncles, because my oldest son married his big sister. (Wow, that sounds complicated . . )

      Thanks, Barbara, for taking time to read and comment.

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  5. Michele, My husband and I recently took a canoe trip down the Sudbury River “cruising” underneath the bridge where the shot heard round the world took place. We timed it and went a half hour down and then turned around. We were foolish, but lucky as we did not look at a map or really know what we were going to face on the river. Thankfully, it was the perfect, easy river for novices like ourselves. I was shocked to find out we had gone ten miles down river!

    Thank you for sharing this in-depth review. It looks like it would be a very helpful book at many levels.

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    1. Oh, the perils of the uninitiated paddlers! Glad your little jaunt worked out well for you. Next time we will do a better job checking things out! And I’m glad that you enjoyed this sneak peek at Kristin’s book.

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  6. My husband and I are interested in adding to our family via adoption. We haven’t begun that process, but it already scares me! I’m a destination person, too. This makes me wonder if the process of adoption (the waiting, the uncertainty, the worry, etc.) doesn’t have some parallels to the journey of pregnancy and labor.

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    1. I’m so thrilled that you are considering adoption, Shannon. And I had never thought about it before, but yes . . . so many parallels with the unknowns around a pregnancy. Kristin Hill Taylor has a blog as well, and often posts helpful articles about her adoption journey and that of others. Maybe you’d enjoy a visit there some time.

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  7. I am so glad her book is getting out there to people. The real and raw backside of things is not only faith building but inspiring. I hope to read this one day. Love Kristin’s heart. Thanks for sharing!

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  8. Another terrific review, Michele! You always make we want to read each book you feature. 🙂 I love this line, “Wild with a quiet panic…” What a perfect and vivid description of an emotion I, and probably most of us, have felt at some point. 🙂 I love how God used the adoption journey to grow the author of this book and, now that she put the story to paper, God is using the same journey to grow you and other readers. Like you, I’m a destination person, so I need to see and hear this example of the importance and value in the journey. Thanks!

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  9. We have been considering adopting too and trying to read experiences of people who have been through the process. Especially when we have biological children of our own. The parallels you have drawn between the boating journey and the adoption process made me visually understand how Kirsten must have felt. Thought provoking post

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  10. Oh yes! I’m in a “process” of sorts and have been for many years, Michele. I don’t like it on many levels, but I see and feel exactly what you are saying here–echoing what you’ve read in Kristin’s book. It sounds like one that would feed my tired-in-this-long-process-soul! ha! Thanks for sharing these great and helpful reviews. You always point us in the directions that we need, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh my goodness, I could echo every word of your announcement to your husband! I feel like The LORD is wanting me to learn patience and I’ve wanted to say many a time, “Please, hurry up!” Oh, to find that joy in the journey…

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  12. Adoption has been woven and rewoven into our extended family’s story for generations. I hear Kristin’s heart and appreciate your review, Michele. It’s seldom an easy journey … and yes, years later setbacks and unexpected sorrows arise.

    My heart goes out to every family who makes this courageous, loving choice. There is a ripple effect to that powerful decision that extends to countless others …

    Liked by 1 person

  13. OH this will be so helpful to a friend who is currently coming to terms with the fact she may not naturally have children. Her faith is strong but I think she is finding this difficult. I will share it with her #twinklytuesdays

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  14. Michele,

    I am learning to embrace the process and recognize it as an opportunity to be shaped and molded and allow God to continue to develop my character. I’m not always as gracious and mature in the midst of it as I’d like to be but He’s working on that too!

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  15. I think I’m a destination person too, Michele. But God is in the process. So we learn to trust that where He leads — which is often a longer ride than we anticipated — that the process will always be worth it. Glad your story ended well, sweet friend!

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  16. Thanks for sharing Kristin’s story with us today, Michele. Kristin’s focus on the book of James has me thinking. I have spent some time in that book off and on this summer. And with its constant recurrence, I’m wondering if that’s where God wants me to focus for my next study. I love your intro … especially your family’s “festive family flotilla.” xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  17. This is a story with themes near to my own…the infertility and waiting and wondering and thinking out of option B, C, D, E, etc. It’s how we got Charlie and Jonas and Cora through IVF and more importantly to listening to God’s voice in the process. I can’t wait to read this one. P.S. I too am “not a process person! I’m a destination person, and I want this journey to be over!”

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  18. I would have been very nervous as well Michele being so far from where you thought you were. My friend adopted a Colombian boy and 30 years later they have had a wonderful life together and gained much from each other. Thanks for linking up and sharing at #overthemoon.

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  19. Michele,
    I was supposed to read this on Thursday for the #chasingcommunity linkup but my day went wonky. What a great post and I’m sure an interesting read. A few of my family members have adopted and it has given us:
    “the great gift of insight adoption brought to her understanding of the Christian life”.
    We love them just as much as those “blood relatives”.
    They’re living reminders of our adoption into God’s family. So amazing!!!
    ~Sherry Stahl
    xoxo

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  20. Sounds like a beautiful book! I love how we are all adopted into the family of God–despite our diversity and quirks. And we also need to realize that each ‘adoption’ will probably take an adjustment period. We don’t enter God’s family flaw-free.

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