By Adrian Collins
My son who joined our family through adoption celebrates his tenth birthday this February. Looking into his chocolate brown eyes, I’m still in awe of how God touched my heart through adoption. Not only did God use adoption to transform me into a better mom, He showed me I was capable of more love than I thought existed.
When my husband and I received the call that our son’s birth mother was in labor, we grabbed our baby essentials and headed out the door, elated to meet our new son. While driving to the hospital, my thoughts wandered to a few months earlier when his birth mother asked if I’d be willing to adopt her baby boy and I immediately said yes. After giving birth to three boys, I had a hysterectomy and was no longer able to give birth to another child. My husband and I spent months in prayer about expanding our family, and felt God answered those prayers when a family friend encountered an unexpected pregnancy and approached us about adoption. My husband and I were thrilled to welcome another boy into our family.
At first, I felt confident I could handle another boy since our home was already well stocked with cars, trucks, and Nerf guns in every size and color. Also, I thought I could handle all the responsibilities that came with adoption because in the past I had placed a child for adoption. Having chosen adoption for my baby girl several years prior, I understood the hopes and dreams a birth mother has for her child. More than anything, I wanted to honor our son’s birth mom’s sacrifice by being the most loving mom that I could.
At the hospital when his birthmother placed her son into my arms, I stared at him with both awe and wonder. But then questions of doubt began. Will I love him the same as my other children? Do I have enough love for everyone? What if I’m a disappointment? I put on a smile and prayed God would give me the love I needed for each of my children. After all, God is the author and perfecter of love. He promises that if we abide in Him, His love will be perfected in us. Before leaving the hospital, we held an adoption entrustment ceremony with our family, my parents, his birthmother and her parents, and our church pastor. I read a poem I’d written for the occasion, while my mom presented our new son with a brown and navy blanket that she’d knitted. His birth mom handed us an adorable stuffed monkey she’d bought as a baby gift and said, “Something for him to remember me by.” Her tears fell on the baby’s cheek as she leaned over to kiss him goodbye. Then, she made one request, “Please teach him about the love of Jesus.” My husband and I promised we would. It was our desire that a faith in God would permeate through our family.
Ten years later, my son is now almost as tall as me, with a face full of freckles, deep brown eyes and ears that protrude adorably from underneath his baseball caps. The boxes of cars and trucks have come in handy over the years. “Someday, I’m gonna to be a race car driver,” he frequently tells me, and I smile at his big dreams. Other days, I frown at him, especially during supermarket tantrums or while mopping up muddy shoe prints from the floor. When I’m frustrated with him, I can hear the harshness of my own voice. In these moments, I worry he won’t know how much I love him. If I am brutally honest, there have been times I’ve wondered if he’d have been better off with his birth mom. She’d never raise her voice at him. She’d love him better than I could. Then, I’d wallow in thoughts of my inadequacy. But eventually, I remember that God didn’t ask me to be perfect. His grace is made perfect in our weakness. When I feel I don’t measure up, I can rest assured that God chose me as the best mom for all of my children, no matter how they joined our family.
The other night, I walked into my son’s bedroom to tuck him into bed. He had an assortment of stuffed animals surrounding him, but the one he held close was the monkey given to him by his birth mom. And tucked under his chin, was my mom’s knitted blanket. Both gifts had begun to show their age; the monkey’s fabric had lost its softness and my mom’s blanket had been torn and re-sewn more times than I could count. Nevertheless, my son cherished them both. I noticed a children’s Bible sitting on his night stand, filled with stories that I’d read over and over to him. “Mom,” my son said, “I’m glad Jesus lives in my heart. Let’s pray for others to know him too.” I smiled and thought of the day his birth mom asked me to teach him about Jesus. As we prayed, I thanked God for our sweet boy, and for teaching me His love and grace through the journey of adoption. Knowing Jesus has transformed my life. Answering the call to adopt has transformed me into a more grace-filled and compassionate mom.
God Taught Me:
1) Adoption is a reflection of God’s love. Because He first loved us, he will equip us to love each of our children, whether they are children who joined our family by birth or adoption.
2) When we become weary or feel unworthy as a parent, we can rest in God’s grace. He doesn’t ask us to be perfect, only to rely on Him to sustain us.
3) Sharing the love of Jesus is the most important gift we can give to our children. Material provisions will fade away, but teaching our kids about God’s glorious deeds will have a lasting impact for generations.
Adrian Collins writes about the real-life complexities of being both a birth mother and an adoptive mother. She is a full-time homeschooling mom of five children; one daughter who was placed for adoption at birth, one son adopted at birth, and three biological sons. Adrian has been a mentor to birth moms who choose an adoption plan for their children, as well as a speaker, and bible study leader for new moms. She studied journalism at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego and has a deep-rooted love of classic literature. Married to her high school sweetheart for twenty-one years they currently reside in Castle Rock, Colorado. When she’s not teaching or writing, Adrian is actively pursuing her goal of visiting all U.S. National Parks with her kids. Adrian is working on her first memoir about hope and healing through the journey of adoption.