What Can Adoptive Parents Do When All Seems Lost?

What Creates Hope for Discouraged Adoptive and Foster Parents

There’s a three-fold secret I discovered during the search for my first mother that may bring hope to discouraged adoptive and foster parents.

Parents, I know the Marine-like challenge you’ve undertaken to parent a child through adoption. Sometimes, you’re on the verge of complete exhaustion or panicked about what is happening in your child’s life.

I was once like your child. Frankly, I don’t remember being conscious of anything with RAD. It was like I was unconscious. Numbed out. Just flinging here and there.

Without one doubt, my parents experienced the gamut of emotions in raising me. As a RAD kid, I rarely showed love, except when I scratched that very message into their fine furniture when they were playing golf one day. Would you believe they kept that dressing table until their dying days? I assure you that my parents did everything humanly possible to demonstrate love to me, but that was the last thing I wanted.

I’m not sure if I’ve told you lately that besides being an adopted person, I’m an adoptive grandmother, and what interesting dynamics that’s created for my grand and me. I’ve seen the lives of my late parents lived out in our adult kids who are parenting.

Let’s set the stage for what might be a hope-filled message for you in this post.

While searching for my first mother, I turned over every rock, searched every phone book (back in the day!), and read every old newspaper looking for clues.

One day, I decided to contact Dr. Miles Filllinger,  the doctor who delivered me but his office was but a memory and his files, a mystery.

It was during this phase of my search that I received the greatest of reveals, which I’ll share with you now. Keep in mind that I’m just one person and I’m not speaking for others, especially adoptees. We are each unique, like fresh-fallen snowflakes.

God Works In the Unseen

The big reveal is what Dr. Fillinger’s granddaughter said, “My grandfather was an orphan himself and cried at the birth of every baby he delivered.”

How shocking. How breathtaking. How unexpected. How miraculous. There they were. Fresh. Filled with my first-ever vitamins. Freely delicious.

No one knew about the doctor’s tears. Oh, his granddaughter knew that tears were her grandfather’s normal reaction to delivering babies, but she had no idea about the significance of his tears over me…and my first mother, nor of her words to me. Mom and dad never knew, there was no written record of them, nor no photo taken. No one knew, even the nurse attending my birth.

My late first mother had no idea of the doctor’s tears over me. But, as she gave that final push that landed me on planet earth, perhaps she saw the tears also. I hope so. They were for both of us.

I wondered about the significance of Dr. Fillinger’s tears. Were they saturated with hope? Were they bright lights at the end of a tunnel, or seeds to be harvested later in life?

Research shows that we cry for both happiness and sadness. With Dr. Fillinger’s tears, could they a blend? Heart-wrenching orphan grief with ecstatic joy for life.

I like what Washington Irving says about tears:

‘There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.” (Brainyquotes.com)

I believe the tears were proof to this unplanned, unwanted newborn that my life was planned and wanted–by God. I believe they were also proof to my first mother that I’d be alright.

God Works in the Human Details

On top of all this, to be welcomed into the world by an orphan doctor renders me speechless. This is because the basic need for adoptees and foster kids is a sense of connection. If I had any sense of connection with my first mom before birth, it was certainly severed when they wheeled her off and took me to an incubator for ten days.

Then, at birth, to have my first human connection be with a fellow-adoptee/orphan was beyond beyond.

How I wish mom and dad would have known about the tears, but they did know that Dr. Fillinger came to visit me every week until I was five years old.

For years, I’ve wondered why. Perhaps because I was a failure to thrive baby? Perhaps that I was a failed abortion? I don’t know, but God does and that’s all I need to know.

Parents, even in the most dire of circumstances with your adopted child, trust that there’s Someone invisibly planting love in your child’s heart, ready to be harvested when conditions are right.

And, just the doctor’s tears were life-giving for me, yours can be for your child. Sometimes, that’s the only gift you can give. Just remember that they’re sacred, even if your child has no idea of the significance.

God Provides for the Orphan

As I look back on this, my seventh chapter of life, I can say without a doubt that God has cared for me in all the intricacies of life.

  • He does what is necessary to preserve the orphan’s life (Jeremiah e49:11)
  • He gladdens the orphan’s heart with the bounty of Providence (Dt. 24:19)
  • He feeds them from the sacred portion. (Deut. 24:19-21)
  • He hears even their faintest cries (Exodus 22:22-24)
  • He becomes a Father to them. (Psalm 68:5)
  • He provides what the orphan searches for: love, pity, and mercy. (Hosea 14:3)
  • He has a unique plan for the orphan in history. (Esther 2:15)

Someday, your child will know this, too.

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