Is adoption worth the risk?

Written by Somer Colbert
Published on November 24, 2023

As the director of Adoption and Foster Ministry for my church, I have the privilege of sitting across from couples seeking to know more about the foster and adoption process on a weekly basis. I know their questions like the back of my hand  because just ten years ago, I had the same questions. 

We feel God speaking to us, but where do we even begin?

How much is this going to cost?

How long will the process take?

Then we get into the harder questions, the worst- case scenario, can-we-really-do-this questions:

Do we have to agree to open adoption?

Can the biological family ever come back and take our child away?

Can we change our minds?

Will the child need therapy their entire life?

How do we handle raising a child of a different race?

At the heart of it, here’s the biggest question they are asking: Is adoption worth the risk?

Behind every question concerning adoption there is a heart crying out for a guarantee. This was the root of all of my questions and fears, so I can empathize with the families I serve. I understand their fears and concerns. I see their longing to love a child. I also see their desire to walk through this process unscathed, and therein lies my challenge. Ten years ahead of them, I know it is not possible. I, too, wanted a guarantee of minimal disruption to my rosy life, a maximum reward of Instagram-worthy posts, and a perfect bonding experience with my child. 

When God prompts you to risky and uncomfortable action, it is common to counter the calling with a host of questions. This is perfectly normal as the natural mind tries to make sense of a supernatural calling. But questions have a way of clouding our mindset, and if we are not careful, we will become so riddled with them that we miss our calling. To be clear, questions are not bad. God designed us to think critically, and Scripture is full of reminders that we are to seek wisdom so we can make good choices. Therefore, God is not frustrated by your questions. He welcomes the wrestling as long as you do it with him and with a “thy will be done” mindset. As you seek his will from this perspective, suddenly the questions begin to shift. The most important question is not “is this worth the risk?” or “will it be too hard?” The question is: am I called? If the answer is yes, your only response is to surrender to God’s plan. If you’re obedient, the outcome doesn’t really matter because God’s calling is evidence he has all of the details in hand. 

We would all love to have guarantees when it comes to our kids and families, wouldn’t we? It’s why we voraciously consume every resource imaginable to find that secret formula for the guarantee our kids will never get sick, hurt, or experience heartbreak in their lives. We convince ourselves if we just follow this Christian parenting model, our kids will choose Christ and serve him with their lives. We put ourselves through mental hurdles trying to choose that “perfect” type of schooling or curriculum so they will thrive in their education, relationships, and professions. But we know all too well that none of this is promised to us with our biological kids, so why would we expect any difference when it comes to children we welcome through adoption? 

Having ten years of wrestling with the call of God on our lives about adoption, I can honestly tell you there will always be more questions than answers. There will always be “what-if’s” plaguing your mind, and the requirements of every attorney, agency, or state program will prove to be moving targets. Chasing answers will inevitably wear you out, and trying to reform or control a wrecked system will dishearten you to the point of wanting to quit. But for those called by God, quitting isn’t an option. Yes, it is messy. Yes, it is hard. But it is also one of the most beautiful and sanctifying experiences you will ever have; so yes, my friend, adoption is worth the risk. 

If you’re anything like me, you won’t fear taking steps, you’re terrified to take the wrong one. That’s why I wrestled with God for so long. I was scared to make the wrong decision. Every time I asked, “Are you really calling us to do this?” I was actually asking, “Lord, would you make it crystal clear so I don’t mess up and do the wrong thing?” I knew what God was calling me to do, I just didn’t want to let go of what I now know is a completely false sense of control. When God placed our daughter on my heart, I literally saw reminders of her everywhere. Despite my indecision and best efforts to shelf the subject, God continued to bring adoption to the forefront of my mind. From there, it really was just a matter of him waiting on me and allowing me to wear myself out with overthinking and rationalizing. Side note: I am grateful God is so patient with us when we are our own worst enemies, and that his perfect timing factors in our wrestling and indecision. 

Our God is infinitely patient. When he wants you to do something, he doesn’t leave you alone about it. If you are experiencing the same intense and constant reminders I did, it is a pretty good indicator it’s time to stop asking and act on that first step, understanding God is in charge of every step you take. I don’t know if you will see another member added to your family through adoption, but I know God already has your family planned. Proverbs 19:21 reminds us, “Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the purpose of the Lord will prevail.” If you seek God in this, he will not hide his will from you. If you are truly seeking him from the heart posture of “thy will be done,” he will guide you and order your steps toward the right path and the child he wants for you. 

Adapted from the “Called to Love Podcast,” Episode 4

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Somer Colbert

Somer Colbert is a writer, speaker and host of the Love Where You Are podcast. She is the Director of Adoption and Foster Care Ministry at Crosschurch and Connected Champion with the Arkansas Baptist Children and Family Ministries where she creates support, awareness and advocacy for families seeking to serve in the areas of adoption and foster care. She creates weekly podcast episodes and resources to equip and empower Christian families to identify their influence for the gospel in every season, live life on mission and share Jesus right where they are.  Somer is passionate about equipping spiritually healthy families and seeing a movement of God’s people step into confidence in their ability to change the world around them through the way they love! 

She resides in Arkansas with her husband, three kids and three dogs. She’s obsessed with British docudramas and cooking shows and can always be found with a cup of hot tea in hand. Her life has been forever changed by the love of Jesus, marriage to her favorite person, parenting her crazy crew and walking multiple adoption journeys. 

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