When I first felt God’s prompting on adoption I blurted out, “But I can’t do it, I don’t have that much love,” to which the answer came frustratingly clearly, so clearly I didn’t have an excuse. “But I do. And I will give you all the love you need.” And He has done.
They are loved. So loved. And I know this hasn’t come from me. I’m weak and powerless, and my own ability to love is so flawed and self-centred. No – this love has to have come from a Higher Being, the One who created love and is love, the One whose own beautiful love story centres around adoption, the only One whose love is entirely and unreservedly self-sacrificing. What a privilege to receive and give this love.
Not my words. In case you’re wondering!
But the words of friend, and fellow blogger, Lucy Rycroft of The Hope-Filled Family. When I first read these words in one of Lucy’s adoption posts, they brought tears to my eyes.
Lucy has four beautiful children, two of whom are adopted. God has grown her heart, and her family, and I’m thrilled to welcome Lucy to the blog this week to share her story of adopting two precious boys.
Follow the links within Lucy’s story to read more about each part of the process. (Some links are affiliate links.)
Tell us a little about yourself and your family, Lucy.
Thanks for having me, Jo! Like you, I’m a mum of four (aged 9, 7, 4, 4). I’m married to Al, who leads a church in York, where we’ve lived for the last decade.
When our eldest was born, I left my career in teaching to stay home. It has certainly had its challenges, but now that my youngest boys are about to start school I have no regrets! While being at home I’ve been able to serve in various ways at church and school, and over the last 18 months have been exploring a call to write.
What led you to decide to adopt in the first place?
It was always there as a back-up if parenthood didn’t happen naturally – which I was hoping it would, as the thought of adoption scared me.
Sure enough, God blessed us with a birth son, followed two years later by our daughter. While feeding her at night, I would read the blog of an old friend who’d adopted. Something inside me stirred, and I felt God exciting me about adoption in a new way.
I knew that if God was calling us to adopt, He’d have to call my husband independently of me: this could never be something I had to talk him into. So when God started to stir the same compassion in Al, through a newspaper article, adoption started to become Plan A.
Can you tell us a little about your adoption process?
We first felt God nudging us in the autumn of 2011. With a newborn and a two-year-old, the time wasn’t quite right to start exploring options! So we kept praying and chatting with Christian adopters about their experiences.
After attending some information evenings led by Home for Good and our local authority, we found ourselves starting the adoption process in February 2015.
Both of us genuinely enjoyed the months which followed. We had an excellent social worker, and our weekly two-hour meetings were like free therapy! She had to find out all about us: our childhoods, family backgrounds, education and work history, relationship and marriage, current family set-up, financial situation, and views on various important issues relating to parenthood. Of course, we couldn’t hide our faith in any of these areas.
Even though we were already parents, the conversations we had were really helpful ways to reflect on the past and what we wanted going forward.
In June 2015, we went to panel. There must have been a dozen or so people there, but I only felt peace and joy. I know I smiled a lot and that my enthusiasm for adoption – God’s heart for adoption – just bubbled out of me!
How did you come to adopt your boys?
I first saw them in a smiling photo on a child profile sheet at an adoption event a few weeks after we’d been approved. It was a bit like Freshers’ Fair, with each agency manning a table, but instead of free clipboards and tea samples, I walked away clutching a sheaf of papers, each one representing a child who needed a home.
We were pretty excited about the twins, and made enquiries immediately, but didn’t hear back for several weeks, so started to prepare ourselves that they weren’t going to be ours. And then, out of the blue, we got an email from their family finder: she’d shortlisted us!
That was August. Fairly soon the other shortlisted couple pulled out, and we entered weeks of meetings with the social worker and foster mum. Finally we went to matching panel in early November. Our introductions were at the end of that month, a whole week of spending time with these beautiful twin boys who were to become our children, followed by the special day they moved in.
What memories do you have of your first few weeks with your new boys? Challenges and blessings!
In many ways it was a very special time – it was December, so my older kids, who were 6 and 4, were getting excited for Christmas and enjoying spending time with their new little brothers. My husband had much of the month off work, or worked reduced hours – which, as a church leader in December, is a luxury we’ll likely never have again!
We always like a big family Christmas, but as our boys had only just moved in we needed to keep things calm and not introduce them to too many new adults all at once. They needed to attach to me and Al, to know that we were their parents. So we had a quiet Christmas Day, just the six of us, followed by some time gradually introducing them to extended family.
Our church was brilliant. Not only did we receive loads of meals, they gave us space to bond. They understood that they needed to allow the twins to attach first to us, before other adults would be able to hug them or even do up their coats for them.
A particularly fond memory is the first time they came to church, just a few days after moving in. They were immediately so comfortable, it was like they’d been there all their life! I could see that they hadn’t just been adopted into our family, they’d been adopted into their church family too.
And how is life now?
We were never under any illusion that adoption heals all wounds, but perhaps we were under-prepared for the many hard things that our boys would have to cope with because of their past: difficulty with transitions, emotional dysregulation, a need to feel in control.
Even though they’re only 4, these issues come out in all sorts of negative behaviour patterns which often don’t seem to be getting any better. I regularly feel overwhelmed and under-qualified to be their mum.
But in these times, I’m trying to train myself to lean into God’s strength – after all, it is when we are at our weakest that we often see His strength more clearly (2 Cor 12:9).
And I remind myself that God led us down this path. He ordained these boys to join our family – it’s not a mistake. I might feel inadequate, but I’m the person to whom God has given the huge responsibility of raising these boys, and He’s going to give me what I need to do that for His glory.
But there is also loads of fun stuff about having 4-year-old twins! They’re usually so happy and giggly, and love to make others laugh. They adore being physically active, and really love to sing, especially the action songs we do at church which they pick up really quickly.
They’ll start reception in September, and it’s great to see them becoming increasingly interested in letters and writing their own names. It’s so fun watching their interests develop, and witnessing all four kids growing and relating together.
What are some of the things God has shown you through the whole adoption process?
Adoption has helped me realise that I am helpless to change my children’s future. If I’d only had birth children, I think I would still be holding on to the idea that what I do will lead to a particular outcome in their lives. So I’m grateful for the daily reminder to place my children in God’s care, and to humble myself before Him.
I’m naturally impatient and quick to anger, so God is teaching me to slow down and be gentle with my children. It is a long, hard lesson! But, again, this is largely down to having adopted, as my older two – while definitely challenging – don’t exhibit the particularly intense difficulties that my younger two do.
God’s also given me new insights into how broken we all are. Sure, I had a really happy, stable childhood with my birth parents, but I still struggle with sin! I’ve learnt more about God’s grace, and how He accepts us when we’re in the pits. I pray that all of my kids will know this, and never let go of God, even when life gets difficult.
God knew what He was doing in calling us to adoption – it is not just for our kids, but for us the parents, who are being shaped and honed daily.
What resources can you recommend for anyone interested in finding out more about adoption?
The Home for Good website is a brilliant place to start, especially if you’re a Christian. There is a wealth of useful articles and blogs – I’m biased, because I’ve written some of them, but they’re all useful!
HfG also offer individual support. You can call them and tell them where you’re at, and they’ll be able to offer advice and encouragement. And the book Home for Good (Krish and Miriam Kandiah) is a must-read.
I also recommend speaking with anyone you know who has adopted. Reading adoption blogs (like The Hope-Filled Family!) is also helpful.
Finally, to get your head round some of the behavioural challenges of adopted children, as well as some practical strategies which really help, I can’t recommend The A-Z of Therapeutic Parenting more strongly.
Thank you so much Lucy for sharing your story with us.
Lucy Rycroft writes Christian parenting blog The Hope-Filled Family. Formerly a teacher and PGCE lecturer, she now divides her time between freelance writing and raising her kids. Her Advent devotional will be released this autumn, as will ‘Deborah and Jael’, a rhyming picture book for young children.
I encourage anyone whose heart has been stirred by Lucy’s story, or is thinking about adoption to connect with Lucy:
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50+ Ideas & Resources to Help Your Family Grow in Love
A beautiful article by the person God chose to be their Mummy xxx
Joanna Chee says
Yes, how wonderful for these boys to have Lucy as their mum!