Welcome to my “Mama Said” Question and Answer series. If you have a question related to fostercare or adoption, email me at: azfosteradopt (at) gmail (dot) com
Can you speak to in-laws not being supportive of our desire to adopt? We live very close to my husband’s family and far from my own (who are completely supportive). They are our main babysitters, so it concerns me that they are unsupportive. They are loving people and probably just fearful. I know they are protective of their granddaughters and possibly concerned of the impact on them.
This is such a great question and one that I have dealt with both personally and in talking with almost every family considering this process. It is very rare for a family to pursue adoption or foster care and find complete support from everyone in his or her life.
Now, if a majority of peoples you respect and trust are concerned with your decision to move forward then that is a good reason to pause and ask more questions. If your church community, pastor, both sides of your family, and godly friends all say, “WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?” then there may be concerns you need to hear. Does everyone in your life just have a terrible view of adoption or are there concerns in your personal life such as financial struggles, a difficult marriage, or children currently in your home who are requiring attention for special needs that have you and your hubby at the end of their rope. If these are some of the reasons a majority of people you trust are giving for why you should wait, then please-wait. “God told me” is never a reason to move forward when community you trust around you is telling you it would be wise to slow down.
That disclaimer aside, it sounds like you just have a very normal case of unsupportive family due to not understanding the call to foster or adopt children. Speaking from our own experience, it is incredibly painful and hurtful when family says things to discourage you or somehow make it about them instead of being excited for you.
It is important to remember that you are always called to honor your (or his) parents. Now, this does not mean doing exactly what they want or wish, but we can disagree with them in a way that is honoring and respectful. My instinct is to cut myself off entirely from people who say hurtful or rude things in relation to our choices to grow our family, but I know that would be dishonoring and hurtful to people God’s word has called me to honor, love, and care for. It is easy to grow resentful and bitter in these situations which we know is opposite of what the Lord calls us to. I am always finding bitterness in my heart that I need to repent of related to these types of issues and it keeps me humble realizing that my sin of bitterness that I keep falling to again and again is much worse then their hurtful comments or lack of support to me.
Next, I would encourage you to be patient with them. Give them books to read. Share your passion and excitement with them. Encourage them to talk to their pastor or other friends. When they say something inappropriate, respond with truth in a kind and gentle way. Pray for their hearts to change. Hopefully, once you get your children they will jump on board & if not, then you may have to draw some boundaries entirely with what interaction they have with all of your children. Most likely, it will not come to that. Just keep pursuing them in love and point them to the gospel truth that if they know Christ, they too have been adopted into God’s family (and if they don’t know the Lord, what a great way to share his wonderful good news with them)!
Lastly, try to continually be thankful for who the Lord has given you to support you. I try to take my negative thoughts captive by being thankful for my family, friends, and church community that have gone above and beyond to support our family. The truth is, many more people should be supporting you then not. The enemy and our flesh always wants our minds to camp out on those who don’t which just causes our hearts to be a breeding ground for sin and hurts our effectiveness and relationship with the Lord.