Anxiety in Adoption: Seek Him and Rest

During a two-year battle with infertility, I struggled to find a sense of control while expectantly waiting for my miracle baby. I turned to diet and exercise not as a way to be healthy and prepare my body for pregnancy, but to decrease my anxiety and make things happen on my own. The anxiety only increased as I found my efforts weren’t successful.

Thankfully, in October 2015, God clearly made known to me and my husband that we were supposed to adopt a child. After experiencing a miscarriage and struggling with infertility, this decision brought excitement as we finally had a plan and were moving forward!

It felt like the wait was finally over.

We decided to pursue international adoption, and spent the first few months filling out stacks of paperwork, seeking immigration clearances, and meeting with a psychologist to prove our commitment as a hopeful, loving adoptive family. I quickly and meticulously worked through all of the forms and cleaned every drawer in my home before the home study. Eventually, we reached the point where nothing more could be done. The chaos settled and we were left to our waiting. My anxiety returned as the future of our family felt completely out of our control and now in the hands of an agency and two governments.

Waiting is a theme of both infertility and adoption.

Realizing the future is not in our hands while longing for such a life-changing event brings a host of emotions. These emotions aren’t bad, but acting like we know best and can control every situation shows a lack of trust in God’s timing and goodness. Instead of seeking to take matters into our own hands, we can let anxiety during the adoption wait push us to seek our faithful God.

Psalm 27:4 says, “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.”

When anxiety tempts us to seek more information, keep ourselves constantly busy, or dwell in the what-ifs, may we instead “gaze upon the beauty of the Lord.”

When we spend time in worship, prayer, and reading the Bible, we find his presence and glory to be safe, secure, and captivating. Nothing, not even the perfect family, will satisfy us like our God.

As Christ holds our attention, we are also reminded of his past faithfulness. When anxiously waiting to hold a child in our arms, we can be tempted to question God’s plan. Yet, as we behold his beauty, we can remember that his goodness is both who he is and all that he does (Exodus 33:18-19; Psalm 34:8). The gospel shows that God gives good gifts (Matthew 7:11, John 3:16). If God is willing to give his Son, we can trust that the rest of his plan for our lives is also good.

Infertility and adoption reveal that although God’s plan is good, it’s often not what we expect. I expected pregnancy would result in a healthy baby and that getting pregnant would be easy. Those unmet expectations led to even more anxiety. Yet, God’s plans were greater than my own.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

I find safety in the presence of the Lord and trust that, although it might differ from my own, his plan for my life is good. And not just good, but abundantly greater than anything I could have imagined.

God used my anxiety in the adoption wait to teach me these truths about himself, about his character. He proved his trustworthiness.

My story of waiting during an 18-month adoption process resulted in an amazing child joining my family. His birth family gave him a name that translates to happiness, hoping he would have a happy life. I can’t think of a more fitting name for him, as his smile lights up a room. Every time I hear his laugh, I thank God for the joy of my son.

Others’ stories will look different, many times with unfulfilled expectations or seemingly unhappy endings. But, no matter what the ending looks like, God is still good, and his plan for you is still one for your good and his glory (Romans 8:28; 11:36). His character never wavers, even when our emotions (and circumstances) do.

When the anxiety of waiting feels crippling, we can rest in God’s captivating presence and trust in his faithfulness and goodness.

Allyson Reid is a wife and stay-at-home mom living in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She is passionate about encouraging moms to look to Christ in all aspects of their lives. You can find more of her writing at Rapt Motherhood, a blog she started after a difficult journey to motherhood. When not writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, and being outside with her family.

-Waiting in HOPE- Anxiety in Adoption: Seek Him and Rest