Adoption in Hindsight

November is National Adoption Month, and around the web you may have seen many posts, tweets, status updates, and campaigns promoting adoption. Most of those are about the children who wait, and this is GOOD.

This post though isn’t about that.

This post is for the adoptive Mom who is at the end of her rope.

This post is for the adoptive Mom who feels utterly and hopelessly ALONE.

This post is for the adoptive Mom who has children in circumstances that rip this Momma’s heart in places she thought would be fatal … until she realized her heart had been ripped there.

This post is for the adoptive Mom who has given her all and yet … it isn’t enough.


I used to be much more involved in efforts to advocate for adoption. All out. No matter what. At all costs.

I honestly used to think adoption was the only answer for children who have through no fault of their own found themselves without the presence of their parent(s).

Hindsight as they say is 20/20.

In looking back and thinking about all our family has been through the past 6 years and 2 months since the adoption of our first of what would be four adopted children, I am challenged to share honestly about life as the mother of six children—two by birth and four by adoption.


Our family has been immensely blessed by adoption and our family has also been immensely challenged by the individual struggles and traumas our adopted children have endured.

This post will not be about our children’s traumas or their struggles. I cringe when I see some of the personal information that is all too often shared, and I shudder at times when I think of what these children may feel when they one day realize their adoptive mother or father has shared very private information in the name of education or awareness or {gasp} as some form of self-serving therapeutic release.

Truth be told, it would take a book … a really long book … to expound on even a fraction of the traumas, struggles and resulting fall-out our children have endured both before coming into our family and since coming home both them and our family have faced and endured.

Sure, I’ve thought of writing a book, but every time I take a little step in that direction another proverbial door is slammed in my face. And so I pause. And reflect. The book would have to be anonymous anyway, and those don’t seem real sought after. So, here I am.

Heck, I can’t even get a voice on our own adoption agency’s blog. They request and request and request posts from families, especially those advocating for the adoption of boys and special needs adoption, and I send them in … and watch the grass grow.

I finally lost count of how many times I sent in articles for publication consideration. And you know where this is going … I also quit sending them. I know, I know, they are looking for nice, “fluffy” articles that have happy endings with rainbows and icing on top. But in all honesty, even the articles that speak of undisclosed needs and unexpected paths and winding roads of despair and near hopelessness … these stories too can be very effective in finding the right families for waiting children.

Adoption isn’t or shouldn’t be about finding families for children after all. Adoption should be about finding the right families for children. Families who are educated, prepared, and resolute to do what it takes. Through thick and thin. Through the imaginable and unimaginable. With the resolve to stand by the commitment they made. No matter what.

I have this little blog that is out here in cyberland, though I’m not sure how many if any people still read it. I know there are a few of you, and I appreciate your encouragement when I share. I have had these thoughts welling up in me for so long now, and, though some of them are explored more in other posts that will never be published and still others are in draft mode still in the recess of my brain, I do think they are of worth to those who are considering adoption, are in the process or are walking a road you couldn’t see when you started this journey. That would be me, in that last category.

So, whether you’re with me in that last category or you’re in one of the other two (or maybe in more than one currently), I want to share from my not-too-long-ago hopeless heart … especially to adoptive Moms … there is HOPE. And YOU ARE NOT ALONE even though you may feel that way. Without further ramblings, I will leave you with 5 Thoughts.

5 Thoughts I Wish I Had Known Before I Adopted


1. You are stronger than you think. Much, much stronger.

Whether you find yourself in country with a critically ill child or getting news while waiting that your child has had heart surgery or find out once home your child has undisclosed needs or that your child’s needs encompass way more than you signed up for, it doesn’t really matter in the long run what brought you to this place.

You are stronger than you think. You are stronger than others around you think. You are stronger than those who you seek expert advice from think most likely. You are stronger. Period.

You’ll know you’re stronger when you face that moment, that crisis, that shock, that detail that you couldn’t foresee. And you’ll pull from reserves you never knew existed.

And you’ll come out a different and better person on the other side.

2. You are not alone, though you will often feel like it and be made to feel like it.

Now, I’ve hopefully revealed enough about myself through this blog’s history for any regular readers to know I place my faith in the redemptive nature of Jesus Christ, who I believe is God’s One and Only Son sent to save and seek out the lost, which includes ALL of us.

With that in full focus, I am here to tell you Mommas YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Even if Bible study groups turn their backs on your family in a major crisis … even if Christian groups of many kinds put conditions on you and your children that seem to do more harm than you ever thought imaginable … even if your spouse has long since tired of hearing your heart and the brokenness of the Momma recesses of it … even if you have ABSOLUTELY NOT ONE PERSON in the whole world to talk to about what you are facing and what you are feeling … YOU ARE NOT ALONE.


If He’s the only One you have to walk through the valley with you, then you will be OK and you will come out on the other side of this depth you couldn’t imagine possible.

If you have friends (which thankfully I had 1 walk alongside me with no strings attached, who actually reached out to me, who would say that word I needed right then, who loves my family unconditionally), that is great. But if you don’t, KNOW you are not alone. KNOW you WILL be OK. And He KNOWS. IT. ALL.

3. If you need post-adoption support or resources, it will be up to you to ASK for it.

Look, let’s face it. Adoption agencies aren’t called adoption agencies because they are in the business of counseling, crisis management or conflict resolution. They are about adoption.

We have dutifully and gladly completed every single post-adoption meeting and piece of paperwork required … and I lost count. Let’s see … 3 + 3 + 3 … we’re on the 5th one out of 6 required for Li’l Bit’s adoption: the 3-year post-placement report. This isn’t just a report though. Neither are the other ones listed above. They all require meetings excepting 3 of the 13 we’ve completed and those required phone calls. And paperwork. Lots of paperwork.

The point is that post-placement is an on-going commitment on the part of adoptive families, their agencies and their social workers. It isn’t a suggestion. It is required. And rightly so.

But post-placement counseling (you ARE going to need it for someone in your family if you adopt a child over the age of 3 I can almost guarantee it), crisis management, conflict resolution … no, those aren’t required and you won’t find them on agency website tabs.

Look. They aren’t there. These aren’t things agencies talk about much. At least in public. Why would they? Those topics aren’t exactly pro-adoption. Who in their right mind would jump into special needs adoption if the header on the agency website read “Come Here. You’re Guaranteed to Need Crisis Management, Conflict Resolution, and Counseling If You Complete This Adoption With Us.”

When we faced a crisis last year, the first person I thought of was our social worker. Over the years we’ve developed a trust with her and I desperately needed to talk to someone we could trust and whose expertise we needed. Badly. She helped us find our footing and guided us in next steps. She was there as I expressed needs. Our agency’s post-adoption coordinator (at the time) checked in a few times.

And then life went on. Any communications after that initial crisis period (and most during it) were initiated by me. That is what I mean when I say you are going to need to be comfortable reaching out, because they aren’t going to be checking in to see if your family is in crisis.

We’ve adopted four children with the same agency. Other than those aforementioned post-placement reports and the emails announcing their impending due dates and my need to schedule those meetings, they didn’t and don’t call or email or write by letter delivered by carrier pigeon.

They move on understandably so. If you need them, they are available. At least our agency is; hopefully that is the case for others. But know this, you will need to do the reaching out. If you need support in the form of counseling (recommendations), crisis management (referrals), or conflict resolution (ditto), you have to be comfortable asking.

4. Your ideals are just that. Ideals.

Get rid of them. Seriously.

Ideals are like the aforementioned “fluff” and rainbows and icing. They aren’t the reality for many adoptive families.


I shudder when I think of some of the early things I wrote. GAW. I would probably retch if I had to read that stuff now. Seriously.

There are no ideals when it comes to adoption. Because this is real life.

And real life is messy. Real life is wretched. Real life is wrecked. Real life is muddled. Real life is hard.

And real life is joyous. Real life is overflowing. Real life is rewarding. Real life is overcoming. Real life is REAL.

So, throw your ideals out the proverbial window and sit back and relish the REAL LIFE you are living, no matter how it has played out. Life is too short to search for some ideal you see being plastered all over the internet.

You know, they say pictures are worth a thousand words. They are.











Add your own words in the comments. This is just a start of 10 I’ve seen in our own family pictures as we’ve walked the road of adoption.

5. Your tapestry isn’t finished yet. 

We can’t see the ending. And thankfully, in many instances, we can’t see some of those chapters in-between the beginning and the ending … until we are fully faced with living them out.

Truthfully, we can’t even see the beginning. Sure some adoptions lend themselves to much more information being known, but we don’t know all the thoughts, the fears, the failures, the struggles, and the circumstances of all involved in this story of adoption.

We don’t know how this tapestry will be woven to completion. This tapestry will go on for generations to come. Long after we have left this earth.

I was working earlier on Li’l Bit’s Christmas stocking that I realized the other day is still not exactly finished … and I was thinking how each and every cross-stitch has value in the whole. If I leave one out, you can’t tell at first, but as the other stitches around it are completed and the picture of the redbird comes into focus … that one square left undone is very noticeable.

So think of it like that. A tapestry. A piece of unfinished cross-stitched work.

Where every square is equally important

Because everyone’s story is different, our tapestries all look different.

But one thing in common is that we all will face squares, moments, which work together for good and for God’s plan to unfurl. Even when we can’t see and will never understand this side of Heaven why … I mean, why did my babies have to be born critically ill … don’t EVEN TELL ME that was God’s plan … why did their parents have to face an unimaginable decision to give them up … as their only HOPE for life for that precious child … that is BROKEN.

But the squares come together and each one has a voice, a purpose, a plan in weaving together this tapestry we call LIFE.

It is just life.

Life living as a blended family of biological and adoptive children in the case of our family. No matter your adoptive family’s make-up, your tapestry is your own.

A beautiful handiwork of the Master Crafter.


7 thoughts on “Adoption in Hindsight

  1. annaclaire07

    This is such a powerful, honest and true post, Leslie. Thank you for having the courage to say things so honestly.

    1. Leslie Post author

      Thank you sweet friend! I have so much I NEED to say. I just can’t contain it anymore. I don’t have many people to talk to about this stuff and the ones I do are Mommas like me who are busy 24/7 with staying the course and navigating this stuff with their own families. I am realizing my voice, my words, are useful to others. And that is good. I do appreciate the affirmation from someone whose wisdom I value and trust!

    1. Leslie Post author

      Thank you Nancy. I am trying … feel free to share! I hope others who need to read it can and will. I also hope some professionals in the adoption world, especially those who haven’t adopted, will read it.

  2. Amy

    Love your post! Wish every adoption agency which have prospective parents read this! We have realized the absolute necessity of support after our girls came home, as well as the reality of parenting children from hard places. We did lots of reading/conferences/DVDs before adopting but living it is a whole different thing—and it is very hard some days! But as you said, God provides and we can dig deeper than we thought, recognizing so many things that aren’t truly necessary in the big picture.

    We have an orphan ministry at our church and are trying our hardest to offer support to foster/adoptive parents—have tons of Purvis’ resources and offer support meetings. We continue to brainstorm how to get more families involved–either they don’t feel they need to educate before adopting (the kids will fit right in–this kills me!—families will spend more time on a kitchen remodel) or they won’t make time to come after adopting/fostering. Praying that we can get the word to those families who are desperate for someone to listen, care and offer support.

    Keep on sharing—there needs to be more “real life” in adoption blogs—for the kids’ sake!


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