As an attorney who focuses her practice on adoption law and a mother of six, including two adopted children, it can be hard to talk about the challenges that sometimes arise in a foster adoption or international adoption. On the one hand, not talking about the ongoing challenges of bringing a child into your family and home, even as an infant, can leave adoptive parents unprepared for those challenges when they arise and, worse yet, give them the false impression that this is something only they are experiencing, when in reality these challenges are widespread. But on the other hand, there is admittedly a fear that discussing these challenges will somehow detract from the wonderful, absolutely life-changing blessings that come with adopting a child, and cause adoptive parents to unnecessarily fear that they will not have the community and resources to handle these challenges when they do occur.
Resources for Adoptive Parents
This tension was brought into focus for me recently in listening to a fantastic episode of the Family Life Podcast entitled “Challenges of Adoption” which paints a painfully honest picture of the tests that adoptive parents will face while at the same time encouraging adoptive parents in their journey by describing the joy of adoption and pointing them to resources to help along the way. In the podcast episode, Paul and Robin Pennington, parents of six children (five by adoption and one by birth), discuss their personal experience with adoption as well as their ministry called Hope for Orphans which provides resources to churches, families, and agencies in the world of older-child adoption. They also highlight their new online training course, Rooted, which they developed over 20 years and includes a variety of professional speakers who address parenting skills specific to adoptive families.
“One Thousand Times Out of One Thousand Times…”
In hearing the Penningtons tell their story, I can absolutely share the sentiment expressed by Family Life host Dennis Rainey regarding his family’s adoption: ” I promise you—both Barbara and I, if we had it to do all over again, it would be one thousand times out of one thousand times; okay? But you need resources that help you understand what’s taking place, because it’s not as simple as you may think it is. It’s why Hope for Orphans exists.”
I’m glad Hope for Orphans and the Rooted series exists, and my hope is that more adoptive parents find their way to resources like these.
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