10 Powerful, Beautiful Ways Adoption Changes a Family

10 Powerful, Beautiful Ways Adoption Changes a Family

With a flurry of a pen, adoption begins to change you.  A signature launches your family into an adventure and an awakening.  

It is a messy and wondrous thing that wrecks and rebuilds, a profound gift and a long haul.  

It takes gumption, prayer, and endless discussion to say yes. Walking into such an immense unknown is hard business.   Through the marathon dossier process, you feel brave yet fully aware of your need for God's strength and intervention. You don’t even have a picture yet, but love builds anyway. Then you are matched with a child, and being separated feels intolerable. You finally experience the life-altering moment of your child in your arms, and you realize that God has only just begun your transformation. It’s kind of love that remakes itself over and over.  

You don’t know until you know, but these are guarantees: 

  • 1. Your Prayer Life Will Deepen

    1. Your Prayer Life Will Deepen

    From application, to long after a child comes home through adoption, you find yourselves knees to the ground in prayer. Those prayers are soaked with tears, pleas, gratitude, and anger. 

    Adoptive families quickly realize that you are utterly unable to control or make sense of the loss of birth parents, trauma, government red tape, and attachment. Prayers for finances, hearts, health, timing, and paperwork hurdles all feel colossal.  You need God.       

    Somewhere along the way, you realize that you've grown to recognize His voice and can see His orchestration of details. That the time spent with folded hands was not in vain. He's heard you, wrecked you, and started the work of rebuilding, your hearts a little more like His.

    Every step of the way, God has something to say, if only you can still to listen.

    2. Your Worldview Will Expand

    Whether a family adopts domestically, internationally, or through a kindred adoption, their world is enlarged. The adoption might also be a transracial adoption or medical needs adoption. Stepping into these new experiences and communities enlarge your thinking. You see what you might have missed or ignored through a lack of exposure. You see the people around you differently, more clearly. When bringing your children into your life, you no longer desire to go on seeing the world as you once did.

    You're awakened to the needs and voices of the marginalized and to those who live differently.  You have new hearts for birth parents and those who have experienced trauma.

    You can no longer be passive about racism. You allow yourself to wrestle with similarities and differences and how to keep your children connected to their birth culture. You want them to see themselves represented in their world.    

    Also, whether you get to interact with the birth family, or will never know them at all, they are forever close to your hearts.  

    Image Credit: ©Getty/Samuel Martins

  • 3. Your Love Will Widen

    3. Your Love Will Widen

    "I’m not sure I could love a child that was not my OWN." The belief is common. Many are curious about adoption but have a nagging doubt in their ability to love. Even those who say yes, doubt.   

    The beauty though is that those who adopt learn that when you step beyond the boundaries of your comfort, your heart stretches wide open. That love can come instantly or, with some leading, it can build within ordinary, shared days. No matter the path, your family is very much your OWN, and it's love you feel.

    Adoption throws open heart doors, showing you that your ability to love is wider than you could have imagined. You see, too, that you can lead your hearts toward the love you want to feel.

    4. You Will Face More Challenges

    It is challenging. The challenges will strengthen your family, deepen faith, teach invaluable lessons, and build courage. But, those entering in need to think and pray about it realistically. 

    Adoption will take a family far beyond the borders of its comfort zone. Families that adopt face additional challenges, including healing from trauma, medical needs, birth parent relationships, attachment work, financial obstacles, building cultural connections, processing a child’s story of loss, and answering hard questions.  

    5. Your View of Parenting Will Enlarge

    Parenting children who join a family through adoption requires a parenting refresh and an adjustment of your beliefs based on your child's unique needs.  You learn that relationships and attachment are your highest priorities, even over behavior correction. Also, that you must move toward a hurting child rather than away. You understand that outward behaviors represent inner fears and feelings.

    Parenting siblings through an adoption process also enlarges your thinking. Many parents fear that adoption will be harmful to their other children, but then see the value in helping them navigate through change and challenge.  The experience builds character, heart, and great empathy in siblings.  

    Image Credit: ©Getty

  • 6. Your Faith Will Grow Bigger

    6. Your Faith Will Grow Bigger

    You see how big God is. How what you believed He was capable of was far too small.  

    You ask God for the colossal and impossible. Yet distance, finances, loss, and authority over government, time, and space are all His. Though there are obstacles, in His time, you experience God bringing a child into the family, beginning the process of redeeming an impossible loss.

    Some assume that those who adopt are more capable, loving, and strong. The truth though is that it is none of those things. You've just said yes, claiming front row seats to another story of God healing the hurting. Through the building of your faith, you learn that you don't have to have it all together.

    7. Your Exposure to Trauma Will Increase

    Adoption ushers families into grief and suffering, which becomes a hard, sweet refining fire burning away misconceptions, barriers, and haughty opinions of yourself. As you parent hurt and healing kids, you realize that you must release yourself from the savior role.  You go to God and the helpers He provides.

    “What we didn’t fully grasp was that adoption would be a portal to understanding suffering. Choosing to walk straight into the white-hot pain of our grieving kids was an important entry point to the discovery that some of the best gifts are laced with deep sadness.” - Shannan Martin 

    Adoption begins with a birth mother, birth father, their baby, and a painful situation requiring an impossible decision. You might have felt empathy for those stories before, but until you stand in the middle of such an unimaginable breaking, you can’t begin to feel the unfathomable loss.  


  • 8. You Will Learn to Release Control

    8. You Will Learn to Release Control

    Adoption leaves families surrendered.  When you decide to adopt, you desperately hope it will follow your plan.  Or, in your hopeful dreams, you imagine the process being a grand adventure. Unfortunately, adoption doesn’t play out either of those ways.

    You're left with palms open, praying God will come through. And then, as you see that He does, you ease slowly toward release.

    9. You Will Let Go of Any Savior Mentality

    Most imagine adoption to be a fairy tale including the flick of a wand, white horses, and a happily ever. In reality, the magic is a child enduring the hardest of losses and then bravely learning to love again. You don't have to be a noble hero. God covers that role.   

    It is a hard-learned lesson because you cast yourself as a child's savior. Somewhere in your well-meant thinking, you consider adoption a good deed.  

    You realize that you could never have done it in your strength. You simply put yourself into a front-row seat to watch God be mighty. And though you may be weary from the journey you said yes to, you stand in awe. 

    Image Credit: ©Getty/Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash

  • 10. You Will Be Richly Blessed

    10. You Will Be Richly Blessed

    "They are SO lucky to have you." 

    You are told this again and again about your children. It is meant well, yet you still flinch protectively. It's not a humble response to say, "WE are the blessed ones." It's a gut reaction. You caught a glimpse of the losses that brought your children to you, and lucky is not how they should feel. 

    Adoption brings life into homes and hearts. It awakens faith and thinking. It is an invitation to friendships with adoptive families and it teaches us to hear the voice of God, adoptees, birth parents, and new communities of people.

    Adoption is a double blessing. It blesses the parents, child, and whole extended family. God is in the details for everyone. If adoption is needed by a child, then the whole family needs that adoption.

    It is a blessing covered in grit.

    Adoption is intensely hard, but also a bright and beautiful work that our Father invites us into. The joy, stretching, laughs, listening, discomfort, worldview expanding, hugs, overcoming, tuck-ins, hospital stays, and release of control, pray, and blooming love changes a family. 

    It is its own, unique, messy, wondrous thing. You are simply grateful to have been written into the story. 

    Rebecca Radicchi, her husband and crew of kids, live outside Atlanta, where the summers are hot and the tea is sweet. She’s ridden the waves of adoption, breast cancer, and being the mom of kids with complex medical needs. And, through it all, she’s seen that abundance can be found in the uncomfortable hard and in the easy beautiful. She’s also discovered that whether she’s passing bread at the kitchen table, clock-watching in a hospital waiting room, or listening to a neighbor on a porch swing, God always has something to say. It’s a wonder really. She encourages others to listen for it too on her website and Instagram, and also connects with adoptive families at No Hands But Ours.

    Image Credit: ©Getty/Monkey-Business