As Adam and I wait for our final piece of paperwork to arrive at our adoption agency, we continue to pray for our children daily, and ask that God would be so kind to bless us with them. This is a habit we have cultivated since the early days of our marriage, and has proved to be very helpful during our wait (along with some other habits).
Certainly our theology shapes our prayers. What we know to be true about the character of God will move our hearts, and words, as we boldly approach the King with our requests. In addition to that, the adoption education we have received during our wait has greatly influenced our prayers as well. There is so much we have learned over the past two years, much of it a heart-wrenching reminder of the brokenness that comes with every single adoption situation.
If you are also waiting for an adoption placement, we understand the “heart-pain” that accompanies your prayers. I hope this list blesses you, and encourages you to boldly approach our gracious God with your requests. If you have been following our journey, and feel led to pray for us, we would love for you to use this list to pray with intentionality.
We know that God hears every single prayer we lift to Him, (whether He chooses to bless us with children through adoption or not). We continue to walk by faith, and ask that He would do so.
1) That they would be protected from harm
We, especially women, love to be in control, don’t we? If God has children for us, somewhere in the foster system, there is absolutely nothing we can do right now to protect them from harm. All we can do is ask for God, the Father of the fatherless (Psalm 68:5) to keep our children safe. God is sovereign over insignificant events, like the end of a sparrow’s life (Matthew 10:29), He is more than able to protect our children and keep them safe from harm.
2) That all of their needs would be met
We don’t know the type of conditions our children may be living in right now. I am constantly wondering if they are with their biological mom and dad, in a potentially unsafe environment? Or are they with a loving foster family? Maybe they are still in their mother’s womb? We have no idea, but we frequently ask that God would meet all of their needs, whatever those may be. This is similar to the above request. We ask that they would have food to nourish their bodies, shelter over their heads, and clothing to keep them warm. We especially pray that they would feel loved and protected by those caring for them, and by God who cares for them infinitely more.
3) That their loss would be minimal
This is a tough one to pray for. Adoption is born out of loss and brokenness. Whether the child is a newborn infant, a teenager in foster care, or a toddler from Africa, there is always loss involved.
I always get squirmy when I see adoption sentimentalized, giving the appearance of “they all lived happily ever after.” Don’t get me wrong, I love a good adoption story, and I have wept over quite a few “gotcha-day” videos! Adoption is beautiful, Biblical, and emulates the heart of the gospel. However, in order for us to gain children into our family, these children will lose everything and everyone they have ever known.
Do you see the tension here, in regard to our prayers for them? Any child who is adopted will experience a great loss when they enter an adoptive family. That is inevitable. The two-day-old infant has lost the comfort of their mother’s voice, and the warmth of her womb. The older child from foster care has lost (potentially) years with their biological mom and dad, perhaps multiple foster families who they attached to, and maybe even siblings. The child adopted from another country has lost all of that, along with their birth culture, language, and familiar food.
We need to try and understand what these precious children have been through, and connect with how deeply their hearts have been broken over the loss they have experienced. Our compassion must grow for them. We know our children will experience great loss when they enter our families. They are losing everything they know, and will enter a place that is new, foreign, and possibly terrifying for them. We pray their loss, whatever it may be specific to their situation, would be as minimal as possible.
4) That they would experience healing
Going along with loss, we pray that our children would experience great healing, in spite of the circumstances that brought them into our family. We know they will carry that loss with them for the rest of their lives. We also know that God, our great healer, is absolutely capable of performing surgery on their hearts. He is near to the broken hearted and saves the crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). We pray that one day our children will trust God to heal them too. He knows their pain more than we ever will.
5) That their hearts would be soft, and open, to trust and obey us
When we begin to understand the loss that our children will experience, it’s understandable that it may be difficult for their little hearts to trust us right away. We often pray that their hearts would be softened now, and that they would easily attach to us, bond with us, and trust us to provide for them. Undoubtedly, we will need to build their trust. This is very different from a child, born into a family, who has had their needs met from the start. We ask that God would be working on our children now, wherever they are, opening their hearts to trust again, and eventually obey us as their mom and dad.
6) That they would come to know Jesus and be saved at a young age
By far, this is the most important of our daily requests. Would we love to have healthy, well-adjusted, obedient, attached children? Of course we would, and we pray for that boldly! But, none of that matters if they don’t know Jesus, and ultimately trust and obey HIM. We frequently pray that God would be revealing Himself to our children, and that He would be opening their eyes to Him right now, no matter where they are, or how old they are. We desire for our children to come into a saving faith at a young age.
If you pray one thing for our children, let this be it.
“Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).
Adoptive parents (and non-adoptive parents!), what would you add to this list? I would love to hear how you specifically pray for your children!