Choosing community

Although some won’t understand what the adoption process is like, don’t discount the strength and encouragement waiting families can find in community.

by Christina C., Waiting Parent

April 24, 2020

“What are you doing in Idaho with no kids?” the man asked, his twin toddlers playing nearby and his pregnant wife by his side. I glanced around the room and saw other families with young children running around, and my heart sank.

I’d felt hopeful about the opportunity to make new friends, yet I also battled feelings of insecurity and shame. A voice inside my head told me we did not belong at this dinner party.

After moving from California, we eagerly accepted a friend’s invitation to introduce us to their circle of friends, some of whom had also relocated from California to Idaho. It was easy for me to be relaxed and open with friends who knew about our infertility; but being introduced to new families—that might continue asking about the whereabouts of our children—made me want to go home and isolate.

After my husband, Matthew, deftly fielded the man’s pointed question, we quickly moved on and had a lovely conversation about a variety of topics beyond family life. We talked about our mutual faith in Jesus Christ. We talked about why we’d left homes, families, friends, and fast-paced lives in Southern California to settle down in Nampa, Idaho. After letting go of my rising insecurities, I realized how much we had in common with this soon-to-be family of five.

Nampa is known as the “Treasure Valley” of Idaho, and Matthew and I thought this would be an ideal environment to raise children. We are so excited about growing our family through infant adoption, and we have officially been a “waiting family” for nearly two years. We’ve experienced many emotional ups and downs in this waiting season, and we’ve found that choosing to engage in Christian community has helped us persevere.

Over the years, I’ve learned that opening up with discernment, at the right time, can be healing. Assuming others don’t really understand what we’re going through can be an obstacle. Matthew and I may not fully understand someone else’s pain or prayer request, but that shouldn’t stop us from encouraging them or helping to bear their burden (Galatians 6:2).

People respond in very different ways when we talk about infertility and the challenges of being a “waiting family.” Some talk about anything other than what we just shared, while others offer unsolicited advice. Still others try for comic relief, joking, “You can have my kids!” We’ve had some really awkward conversations along the way, but we’ve come to understand that while people may not “get” our situation, they still care about us and want to encourage us.

Hebrews 10:24–25 says, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.” Matthew and I don’t know how much longer we’ll be waiting to adopt, but we know God wants us to stay in fellowship, allowing others to come alongside us and help bear our burden, even if they don’t fully understand. As we wait, we have seen how God can use us to encourage others in their “waiting rooms” of life.

Learn about Bethany’s adoption programs at Bethany.org/Adoption.

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