In the Spirit of Adoption
When my husband and I chose to get married, we also chose each other’s children.
by Tina Ann Forkner
Thirteen years ago I became a mother. When my daughter arrived, I told everyone that she was it. I didn’t want anymore children. Three years later, even though I was a single mom by that time, the desire to have another child took root. Maybe it was my loneliness, or maybe it was the reality that my daughter would never know the joy of having a sibling. Whatever the feeling was, I ached for another child. I was thrilled when I learned there were plenty of options for single moms. I didn’t waste any time and even went so far as to begin the application process with a Christian adoption agency. I was eventually approved and the dream of having another child, probably a girl if I had a choice, grew into more than just a possibility.
Fast forward a couple of years. This is the point in the story when God moves the needle on the record and we hear its unmistakable scrape across the vinyl. The song is over. It’s time for something new. My new song came in the form of a man. The man came with two little boys who looked just like him. I fell in love with them and their dad and he didn’t mind taking on a daughter. In fact, he would be thrilled to take on two. As we decided to make our lives together permanent, I began to appreciate God’s timing. If I’d had any doubts about adopting alone, I no longer needed to worry. How perfect that God sent my soon to be adopted child a father? It seemed like God’s perfect plan in my life.
When I called to share our engagement with the adoption agency, there were congratulations and happy words, but then the lady on the phone got quiet. I would have to withdraw my adoption application, she explained. It was their experience that blended marriages did not last long and we would need to reapply as a couple after a period of time. At least a year. My heart sank. It was so unfair. We had already picked out the name of our future child and needless to say, I was devastated. The only other option available was for me to continue the adoption as a single mom and get married much later, but canceling our engagement didn’t feel right either.
I suppose some might say that if I wanted that child enough, I would have canceled my wedding and chose adoption right then, but we felt the right thing to do was to take a giant step back. As painful as it was for me, the adoption agency had refocused us. Remarriage was going to be a huge responsibility. We needed to focus on the children we were about to to become step parents to. With a dull ache in my belly, I placed my plans of having another child in a file and tucked it into the back of the file cabinet. Adoption was on hold, so I focused on my daughter and on my fiancé and his sons. Every moment we spent together was special and while I still thought about adoption, it became more apparent that my soon to be family was going to be something special. When our wedding day arrived, it included not only our vows to each other, but to our children because we wanted them to know they were part of our family.
For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. - Romans 8:15 – 17 NASB
We never have adopted through an agency. It’s not that it is completely off the table, but after seven years, it looks more and more like God’s adoption plan for us might have already come, only in a different form. Blending a family is difficult, but it is also a privilege and a joy. Sometimes I still question God’s plan about the adoption. If I think about it too long, there are tears. Is there a little girl out there who was supposed to be with us? Or was my desire to adopt part of a different plan? Was my heart being prepared for a different kind of adoption that was headed my way? Maybe my husband’s initial willingness to adopt with me was God’s way of preparing his heart for a daughter, but she was already in plain sight. Perhaps when I began the adoption process all those years ago, God was busy making room in my heart for not one child, and not even a daughter, but for two sons.
And believe me when I say that step parents need a lot of room in their hearts, because step parenting is not easy. Thankfully, it is so worth it. I planned to have one child thirteen years ago and now I have three. Yes, I am a step mom to the boys, but gone is the old stereotype that step parents do not love their children. The truth is that the overwhelming majority of step parents want to have a relationship with their step kids. When we open up our hearts, we actually can fall in love with all of our children whether we planned to have them in our lives or not.
It might seem complicated to those who aren’t in our situation, but the best way to describe it is that my husband and I accepted all of our children in a spirit of adoption that doesn’t include a contract, in the same way that God accepts the followers of Christ into his family in Romans 8:15 – 17 without any questions. When my husband and I chose to get married, we also chose each other’s children.
We thought we were headed down the road to adoption only to be told we had to wait, but that wait turned into the realization that there were kids to adopt in our very own family. When I think back to our wedding day, I can’t help but think about how the preacher introduced us to our guests not as husband and wife, but as a family.
A family is exactly what we have become.