How Open Adoption Built My Faith by Kristin Hill Taylor | #adoptionstory
When I couple begins pursuing a domestic infant adoption, they will learn that closed adoptions with no contact between the adoptive family and the birth parents are becoming more and more rare. Most agencies encourage and work with both the expectant and adoptive parents to develop some type of relationship. This is called a semi-open or open adoption (depending on the the amount of contact agreed upon).
Now, if you are like me, open adoption may make you feel a little uncomfortable.
When Brandon and I started thinking about adoption, I was completely against the thought of having an open adoption. Matter of a fact, that was one reason I was adamant that we would adopt internationally. I didn’t want there to be any possibility of my child find their birth family. It was even my primary reason for not wanting to adopt through foster care. I mean…I didn’t want my child’s birth family living in the same county with me!
But the Lord completley changed my heart.
You see….each and every time you see sweet and happy pictures of a family meeting their adopted child on Instagram and/or Facebook, there is a story of brokenness. Each child being placed is not only gaining a new family, but they are losing one. And as each of these adoptive parents celebrate the adoption of their new child, there is a birth mother who is grieving the loss of the child she carried for nine months. Adoption is truly beauty out of the ashes; and it is a blessing to a birth mom when she is able to still maintain a relationship with the adoptive family.
Today, I want to introduce Kristin Hill Taylor! Kristin blogs at kristinhilltaylor.com and I actually share my posts on her Porch Stories Link Up everyWednesday.
In September, Kristin published a book called “Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family.” In this memoir, Kristin shares about our family’s adoption story and how that built her faith. She also includes contributions from other adoptive moms, her children’s birth moms, and resources for families who want to grow through adoption and the people who support them.
In today’s post, Kristin is sharing about her experience with open adoption and how it has transformed her faith. Following her story, be sure to check out some ideas of how you can get involved with orphan care, specifically thinking about birth families.
How Open Adoption Built My Faith
One Sunday when Rachel – my youngest of three kids, all of whom came into our family through adoption – was just a couple weeks old, we sang “Oceans” during worship. I’d never really attached to the song like so many other Christians I know did. But that morning, the song fell on me fresh.
“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders / Let me walk upon the waters / Wherever You would call me / Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander / And my faith will be made stronger / In the presence of my Savior”
I couldn’t get the phrase “trust without borders” out of my head. I love when God does that. I love knowing He can take words I’ve heard hundreds of times before and make them sound brand new.
Trust without borders.
That’s what I want – in all areas of my life. But I had been thinking about my relationship with Rachel’s birth mom, Stacy. I was no stranger to open adoption, but the post-birth interaction with Stacy was different than our other experiences. My emotions about the grief intertwined with joy in adoption spill over more easily now.
In those weeks right after Rachel’s birth, I wanted to mother my baby’s birth mom after she confided in me via text and trusted me the details of her life. We got together for the first time since the birth about an hour at a local coffee shop not long before Rachel’s first Thanksgiving.
In those days while we were waiting to finalize Rachel’s adoption, Stacy and her boyfriend were having trouble. Emotions and drug use compounded already dire circumstances. Without going into details of various situations, for their privacy and because I don’t know the whole story, the boyfriend ended up in jail for about a year and Stacy later unexpectedly lost custody of her two kids.
I love these people and I was heartbroken for them. I directed her to counseling and prayed for them all. I wanted to buy her groceries, help her find a job, and encourage her do what she needs to do to regain custody of her two kids. With my third baby in my arms, I didn’t know what that meant for my relationship with Stacy.
A Birth Mom’s Heart
Stacy told me how those first months after the delivery were hard for reasons related to adoption in addition to all her other circumstances:
“The first couple of months were very hard and I didn’t know how to get past it. I was scared Rachel would feel like I abandoned her, but what helped me was knowing this was part of God’s plan and He brought all of us together for a reason. I missed her, but I knew it was the best option for everyone and that’s what was most important.”
Called to a Relationship
We were brought together, and I wanted to be there for her. Prayers may not seem tangible, but they’re gifts. Giving her money or groceries or ride somewhere is easy compared to navigating an actual relationship. I’m open to having a relationship with her even though I have absolutely no idea what that will look like. I’m guessing it’s always going to look different from season to season and from any other relationship I have.
I believe this is where God is calling me, so I need to go there. And I can only go there with God. My human self wants a plan and details for the future. But when I trust the One who orchestrated this relationship, my faith becomes stronger and deeper – and going into the unknown becomes possible.
I’m the kind of girl who wants every relationship I’ve ever had to remain. I want to be friends forever with everyone. As I’m growing up, I realize that isn’t how every relationship should be. Adoption magnifies that with its unique relationships, but it also opens the door to a ministry of being able to help someone in a way not otherwise possible.
This may have been our third adoption, but I saw this generosity in adoption in a new light.
Our adoptions are open in the sense that the birth moms know our names and have our contact information. I send updates about the kids and I’m Facebook friends with two of them. But after the babies were born and final papers signed, we all settled back into our lives. The conversations between us are fewer now and we don’t make plans to show up at appointments together anymore.
Stacy wanted monthly visits after Rachel was born, which was fine with me. In Rachel’s first year, we saw each other five times and then again when Rachel was about eighteen months old.
In a booth at Subway, I watched them together when Rachel was eighteen months old. I saw a beautiful, striking physical resemblance as Rachel shared Stacy’s Doritos. Their circumstances and life situations are vastly different, but their eyes, nose, and smile are the same. Even though people are always amazed at how my family physically fits together, I’m grateful to see evidence of their connection, regardless of what happens with our relationship as Rachel grows up.
Adoption Isn’t Just about the Kids
My continued relationship with Stacy brings to mind Psalm 68:6 says, “God places the lonely in families …” and realize how true that is. Yes, God has placed our three children who needed families in our family. But he also put these birth moms in our lives. They may not do everyday life with us, but they’re prayed for regularly and remembered gratefully.
Because of adoption they have someone else on their side in life.
This is a slightly edited excerpt from “Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family” by Kristin Hill Taylor.
Kristin believes in seeking God as the author of every story and loves swapping these stories with friends on her porch. She lives in Murray, Kentucky, with her husband and three kids. She writes regularly at kristinhilltaylor.com.
If you would like to read more stories about Kristin’s adoption journey, check out her recently published book, kristinhilltaylor.com here.
Do Your Part
Everyone can take part of God’s mission for orphans. Below you will find some ways you can help. Today’s suggestions focus on adoptive families and birth parents.
Take a moment to pray for Kristin and her children’s birth moms. Pray for all adoptive families and birth families.
- Pray for the adoptive families as they raise their children.
- Pray that the Lord will provide wisdome and discernment as they answer questions along life’s way.
- Pray for the children God has placed in their care.
- Pray for the birth parents as they continue to grieve the loss of their child.
- Pray that God will give the birth parents peace.
- Pray for organizations that minister to birth mothers.
- Pray for open adoption relationships between adoptive families and birth parents.
- Talk to organizations and ministries that support and minister to birth parents. Find out how you can get involved.
- Lead your church is “adopting” an adoptive family. Many times, there are post adoption challenges families face that many are unaware of. See how you can love and support a family you know that has adopted.
- Help share adoption fundraisers and adoption stories on social media. Go ahead and begin advocating today, by sharing Kristin’s story!
- Connect with me on instagram and Facebook and share quotes, videos, statistics, stories, and prayer requests.
Maybe you sense God calling you to adopt, check out the following websites for more information:
More ideas for getting involved with orphan care can be found here.
Want to read another #adoptionstory and find out ways you can get involved? Take some time to read these:
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Looking for some more encouragement? Check out some of the blogs where I link up throughout the week here.