Why We Are Not Adopting Again

Three years ago, my husband and I stood in front of the orphanage in Beijing, China, and promised we’d be back. We knew it was full of children who were dying, who went to bed hungry every night, and cried for someone, anyone to love them.

We’d always wanted four. It seemed logical: two boys and two girls. Everyone would have a best-friend for life. And Evie would know the bond of a sister from her birth country.

It sounded beautiful. And we honestly thought that was where God was leading us. He had given us Evie. He had shown us over and over that Evie was our daughter. We had prayed for months, “Bring her home. Bring her home. Bring her home.”

And then we landed in Chicago. And discovered Evie’s undisclosed special need– developmental delays. Not only did she have tetrology of fallot and cleft lip and palate, but she could hardly sit, stand, walk, talk, chew, turn the pages of a book. She was completely and utterly shutdown.

We saw hints of this in China. But we assumed she would wake up and start acting like a two year old. But she never did.

So my new life–the one with only 3 three kids–consisted of juggling them so we could go to PT, OT, developmental therapy, and speech multiple times a week. Plus, all her other doctor visits.

I was exhausted. And that fourth child seemed further and further away. And the guilt of ignoring my two homegrown kids weighed heavily on me.

As time passed, I got into the rhythm of my new normal. And now three years later, things seem almost under control.

But, still, we won’t be adopting again.

Evie needs too much. She is too traumatized, too emotionally fragile, too needy. The honest, bitter truth is another special needs adoption would take too much of my time away from her. There is only so much of me to go around.

We’ve prayed about this. We’ve agonized about this. Because we know there are kids who need parents who love them. We know there are kids going to bed tonight with empty bellies, who are cold, alone, and afraid. We know, because that was Evie three short years ago. She was starving–not only for nourishment, but for human touch.

We aren’t done with adoption. We just aren’t adopting.

So now we are praying, “Use us. Use us. Use us.”

And I wonder, how God will use us to care for the orphaned.


Amy Adair-Bode

I am a Christ-follower, wife, mother, and writer. I have two wonderful boys and a princess from China. We became a family of five on August 28, 2009. My new book, One Thousand and One Tears, is now available on Amazon.

5 Responses to Why We Are Not Adopting Again

  • Laurel says:

    This resonates with me. We talk about this often because we started with such big plans of how many kids we’d adopt, but as we grow our family we also realize we have to be able to be good parents to our kids. So if we are too exhausted, too overwhelmed, spread too thin, we won’t be able to parent our kids well. And so we struggle with how many kids we should adopt. It’s hard to know! Thank you for your honesty.

  • It sounds like you’ve made a beautiful and right choice for your family. Good for you for not feeling pressured past the point of God’s calling on your life.

    By the way, I have tetralogy of fallot with pulmonary atresia. I can’t speak to all of your daughter’s needs, but I thought I’d offer up this bit of encouragement for the heart part: I’m 29, have had one successful pregnancy and one international adoption… and doctors are fine with me doing both again if we choose. I (slowly!) ran a half marathon in January. I will need a valve replacement at some point, but all in all, life is full and beautiful. Praying your daughter someday has a similar testimony. I can’t imagine what it’d be like to worry about my daughter’s health. Blessings to you and your family.

  • I love this so much! And I admire you so much, I hope I can branch out more beyond the U.S. next time we adopt!

  • Chris says:

    Thanks for sharing. It’s tough, you think…you pray…you hope that adopting again is indeed God’s will……I applaud you for really listening to God’s will for your family.

    I love how you said, “We aren’t done with adoption. We are just not adopting.” Perfect and so true.

    God can and does use us in ways that are perfect to care for the orphan. Sometime we just have to wait and listen….

  • Tracie says:

    I am in that boat. While my daughter’s only special circumstance is cleft lip and palate – that alone requires many trips to specialists in a year’s time. Between her, and my two boys, I don’t feel I could do the job I want to do in parenting more children – though I would love, love, love to be able to have a house full.

    I hope to be used by God in some capacity to do His work for the kids that wait. They continually pull at my heart.

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