Top 10 People and Things to Include in an Adoption Prayer
Prayer has been an essential part of our adoption process. Growing up while I’m sure my parents prayed, they did so silently, and it was their own private hopes, worries, desires. So when I started praying myself, it was clunky at best, and I would say that I used prayer more like a slot machine for things I wanted than a method of building a relationship with God, thanking him for my blessings, and asking him to ease worries and fears.
My husband and I struggled with infertility for years. I had always used inelegant prayers, but I knew that didn’t matter to God. He knew my heart. Eventually, we transitioned into adoption. And this is where my words became harder to access. I had one friend at the time who had adopted, and while she is a person of faith, it didn’t occur to me to ask her about who/what I should be praying for. I was completely lost.
One night in early 2012 I was hurting for a friend who was also trying to conceive. They were about to embark on their last IVF cycle. She was devastated, nervous, anxious, and fearful. That night I let the torrent open and just poured out my heart to God. Tears, all-out pleading. I begged him over and over again to bless my friend and her husband. A few weeks later they announced that they were expecting. A few weeks after that, we were matched with our oldest son’s birth mom. It was then that I knew and felt, with every part of my being, the power of prayer.
Now I know that God wants us to pour our hearts out to him. Yes, he knows the desires of our hearts, the constant pleading “please God just give us a baby” was pretty clear. But he wanted more, and so do I. I listened to how people prayed, their “style” if you will. And I’m just not as flamboyant and gifted with words as some that I know. I struggled to find an adoption prayer that fit my heart.
I went to the internet recently to find a prayer for a friend in a unique adoption situation. The words would just not come to me, and I knew that I wanted the right words, inspirational, soothing words when I prayed over her. What I found was lacking. There are a plethora of options for adoption prayer. But so many of them felt trite, uninspired. I was shocked to find that most adoption prayers focus on the adoptive parents and the child/ren involved. I am not saying that praying for the child and adoptive family isn’t important, just not the highest priority on my list.
When doing a simple internet search for adoption prayer you can find prayers for every religious belief system, you can find specific prayers for an adopted child from birth to 1 year. The options are endless really. It is comforting to know that nowadays you can find such information. As you start to dig deeper into the adoption process you will see prayers adjust and change to be more birth parent focused. This is where I would start. With the people who know how to pray and who to pray for.
1. Birth Mother
For us covering our birth mothers in prayer has been of utmost importance. I think that’s probably true of most adoptive families. When we pray for our birth mothers we pray for things like the health of body and mind, clarity, and support. We also prayed that if our birth mother should change her mind and decide to parent her child that she knows that she is loved and valued for more than her child. After we were placed with our oldest son we invited our birth mom to be a part of milestones in his life, if she chose to do so. She even attended his baptism a few short weeks after his birth. She showed me what a pure example of the strength and love she was. Later she told me that it made her cry, not because it was hard (and I know it was) but it showed that we valued her as much as we valued him. That statement never left me.
When we began to pray for our children we prayed many, many things over them. We prayed for health, safety, and for them to know love. We prayed that their brains and bodies not be marked by abandonment, scarred by the choices of the parents surrounding them, and for happiness. We prayed for God to open their hearts to us and to protect their little minds from trauma and the effects it can have on their development. We knew for our children adopted from foster care that trusting us might not be as easy as it was for our oldest. He was adopted at birth, they had been placed and moved, left behind, and their parents had let them down in one way or another. We prayed hard for their healing.
3. Prospective Adoptive Parents
This is where we really dug deep in our prayers. Bonding was so easy with our first son, he was brand new, entirely reliant on us. With our second son, he was two. So young and sweet, but had seen much more than any of us really know. I have prayed for God to open our hearts. To help us to see accurately and clearly their trauma. To help us to understand their needs on a deeper level. I pray regularly to grant me more patience. To help me be a soft place to land. Bonding with our second child was far more difficult for me than I expected. I have poured endless hours into praying for love and closeness to my child. Some days I doubted it would ever come, but it did.
Early on in our journey, it didn’t occur to me to pray for our marriage. I mean, we had already been married a significant amount of time by the time our first child came along. After adding to our family from foster care it has become an important part of our adoption prayer. Parenting children with trauma just adds extra pressure, extra stress on a marriage. I would dare to say that parenting in general does all of those things as well. We pray hard for God to protect our marriage. To put our marriage and our relationship first, which is not easy, and to be a consistent, loving example of the imperfections of relationships. We try to model regularly that you can disagree in love and forgive. And while we try hard I still pray continually for this as I am very flawed and need a lot of help with this area of my life.
5. Birth Family
This is multi-layered and can grow deep and complicated depending on the relationships involved and the path of adoption you take. It has taken me years to work out details of relationships and the hurt that lies there. For our children adopted from foster care, it was their mother’s choices that led to them being placed in foster care and subsequently adopted. I am not placing blame, nor do I feel that they should be shamed, but it does leave an entire group of people with loss that they had no control or say over. For our second son, that was a paternal family that was very involved in his life before he was placed in foster care. They have become a part of our lives and it’s beautiful to see how much they love all of our children. Our prayers have included prayers for them to come forward and to reach out if they desire to have a relationship with our children. Prayers for them to open their hearts to their children and a possible relationship. For them to know that they are loved by their children and by us.
We have prayed heavily for the friends of our birth parents and their people of support. That they know and find people who will always support them, love them deeply without judgment. That they have deep and enduring friendships that allow them to grieve openly and freely. Our first birth mom had so much shame about her choice to place her son for adoption. It was something that took a long time for her to find peace. I know that she had friends and family that loved her deeply and were patient in her journey of grief. It is vital to healing that no matter what happens these biological parents need people who love them through it all. Whether it’s a domestic infant adoption or adoption through foster care. They already know they are responsible. For the families of children adopted from foster care knowing that there is most definitely a mental health disorder or an addiction issue. These mothers/parents need to know that forgiveness and love are possible.
7. Hospital Staff/Caregivers/Adoption Workers
For this group of people, we pray deeply for patience, compassion, understanding, and respect. When our eldest son was born our birth mother endured unnecessary stress and judgment from hospital staff. Despite having a written birth plan and her wishes plainly stated, the hospital staff was rude and judgemental. Since that experience, we have prayed heavily for compassion understanding. It broke our hearts to know how hard this decision was for her in the first place, and then to have her wishes questioned or denied at every turn was extremely hard for her. In the instance of our children adopted from foster care, we have found that the staff involved has always been respectful and kind. It matters to know that though they see tough situations that they are (in our experience) kind and compassionate. In this vine, we also pray for their hearts. That God would protect them and heal them from the hard situations they see and deal with every day.
8. Church Family (Adoptive Family)
Adding to your family through adoption can gain a lot of attention from people in your life and community. We added our second child when we were fairly new to our church family. Very few people knew us well enough to know that we were planning to adopt and when we showed up one day with another child, that we obviously hadn’t given birth to, it garnered a plethora of questions and comments. Most people were lovingly and genuinely interested in our story. Many had never known anyone to adopt from foster care or to adopt at all. We pray for all church families to acknowledge the addition of a child, no matter which manner, as they would for all families in their church. Cards, gifts, meals. This has not been our experience, and it has been hurtful. But we are patient and we know that it is not intentional hurt. We continue to cover our church family in prayer for deep understanding. To open their hearts and minds to all manners of building a family.
The process of adoption can often be daunting and emotional for everyone involved. We pray that the process goes smoothly in all adoptions. We know that’s not always the case, but it is one of our most fervent prayers that God grant the workers involved to be concise, swift, and thoughtful of the process.
The most satisfying and cleansing part of my adoption prayer is giving thanks. As I look back on the part of the journey we have completed I know we have so much to be thankful for. We have three beautiful children that we thoroughly enjoy. They are a blessing to us in every way. We give thanks daily for information, people, services that God has given us to help our children be the healthiest and the happiest they can be. Dig deep here and give him thanks for all, even the hard parts that grow us in exponential ways. God is good.