Part of the November series “30 Things I Know About Adoption.”
Another amazing guest post. This time from Heather Fallis.
It was time.
Time to make THE phone call. To share THE announcement.
I was sure my mom would be thrilled. After all, she had talked about how after living in South Korea as a teenager she wished their family would have adopted. This wasn’t just a decision made on a whim. This was part of our family’s history. I expected rejoicing and confetti. (And hopefully big checks in the mail to help with the fundraising.)
My husband and I had prayerfully decided to stop just talking about adoption and actually jump, feet first, into this ocean of the unknown we call “the process”. We knew the Lord had led us to international adoption, and after researching the countries where we were eligible, we chose South Korea. My grandparents had served as missionaries there in the 70’s. My mom had lived there as a teenager. Korean artwork and furniture graced the home of my grandparents. Growing up, every time I had to do a report or presentation on another country, I chose South Korea. It just seemed natural.
So I pressed “send” on my cell phone and held my breath as it rang. After a few how’s-the-weather-type comments, I went for it.
“We’ve decided to adopt from South Korea.”
“Really?” (Note the lack of rejoicing and confetti.)
I don’t remember the rest of that conversation except the barrage of questions and comments about how our biological daughters were still so young and wouldn’t it be hard on them and it’s expensive and are you sure you really want to do this. I hung up the phone in tears, heartbroken that I didn’t receive the response I had expected from the person who had always been my biggest cheerleader. What I didn’t realize was that I had set myself up for disappointment.
You see, adoption is something that as parents, we don’t just waltz into nonchalantly like “Oh, I think today I’ll adopt this sweet child right here.” It is something we research, pray about, talk about, read about, ask questions about, and hopefully make a very educated and committed decision about. We prepare ourselves. We give ourselves to the all-consuming adoption process only after much thought.
And then we expect our friends and families to jump on board immediately and throw us a party.
Oh, sweet friends, adoption is a beautiful thing. But it is a complicated thing. And some people unfortunately have been exposed more to the complications than to the beauty and redemption and grace. So when we thrust this life-altering decision on our families and expect them to embrace it fully from the beginning, we are asking a lot. They haven’t been with us when we’ve scoured the internet for hours reading adoption stories and researching agencies and devouring every single book on adoption ever written. They haven’t spent hours/days/weeks/months on their knees seeking the heart of God and asking Him to make His will clear to them about all this. They are innocent bystanders that suddenly have this adoption thing thrust upon them with little to no warning.
Some families will jump on board right away. And thank heavens for them. But for some families, caution doesn’t always mean disapproval. The immediate response I got from my mom was not an indication of her support or lack thereof for our decision to adopt. She was simply…being a mom. Making sure I had thought about things. Challenging me to look at all the angles. And when she realized I had, then the rejoicing and confetti came. (As did several big checks for the fundraising, God bless her.)
Sadly, some families will never be on board with adoption. Some people will just never truly understand the biblical mandate to care for orphans and how that is best translated through the love of a family. And if you have one such family, my heart goes out to you. But rest assured, you are not alone. Jesus himself had a family who did not understand the mission he was called to. Not only did his family struggle with his choices, his whole town rejected him. I pray that you find comfort in knowing that Jesus understands. He has been there. He will walk with you through this difficult decision to follow his leading and trust in his provision, with or without the support of your family. His grace is sufficient.
Thankfully though, more often than not, even the hesitant and doubtful ones begin to see the beauty of adoption when we bring them into the process and allow them to walk quietly beside us as they take it all in. If you will give your family time to process, openly share your heart, and arm them with valuable tools to understand and embrace adoption, I believe they just might surprise you.
Heather Fallis is a mom of three by way of birth and adoption from South Korea. When she’s not assisting her husband in their youth ministry, loving on kids at her preschool, or making messes with her kids in the kitchen, you can find her enjoying good coffee, sharing her heart for the orphan on her blog, singing in her car and laughing with friends. To read more about her family’s adoption journey and her heart for the orphan, go to http://www.ourheart-n-seoul.com