How God Turned My Heart Toward Adoption


posted by on Adoption


The title of this post would imply that at some point my heart was pointed away from adoption. It wasn’t. But neither was it open to the possibility of adoption entering MY life. Adoption was a really cool, kinda radical thing that people out there did and I loved to read inspirational stories about it but never would have imagined doing it myself. Enter Josh Hughes.

One of the things I love about my husband is that for him, conviction means action. Or at least considering action. So being convinced that adoption is good necessarily meant considering adopting ourselves.

Early in our marriage, pre-kids, Josh said to me, “I think we should adopt.” I’m pretty sure I smiled and nodded and said something spiritual but inside I was thinking something along the lines of “adoption is very foreign to me and I don’t know anyone who’s adopted and I’m not sure I’m the kind of person who is cut out for it and it’s scary and what if it’s hard and I don’t know if I want to have a lot of kids and…” You get the picture.

I was scared. And I had some pretty huge misconceptions.

First, I thought there was a special kind of person who adopts. A person who I would put  in the super-spiritual category. I kinda pictured a glorified preschool teacher type who loves Jesus all the time. You know, someone who makes fun snacks and uses a soft voice and has everything organized and plans activities and always gets up early to read her Bible and has charts and systems for things .

Confession: I would not put myself in this category.

I’m super scatter-brained and disorganized. My house is kind of a mess. “But, Katie,” you say, “I’ve been in your house and it’s so neat!” That’s because I have ten closets. Ten! Who needs TEN closets?? Me, that’s who. Because that’s where all my mess hides when people come over.  My kids run around without clothes on most days because, honestly, I just don’t care if they wear clothes in the house. I don’t plan activities. We watch too much tv. I kinda try to work out but fail most weeks. I’m a project starter but rarely a project finisher.

Truth: None of this has anything to do with whether or not a person should adopt.

It took me a while to learn that. Isn’t it true that we don’t get it all together before we come to Christ? Quite the contrary; we come as we are, and His blood and His grace cover our mess. In the same way, if He calls us to do something, He does it. And He just uses us to do it, warts and all. 1 Corinthians 1 tells us He uses the weak, the foolish, the things that are not. Because He wants the glory. And He deserves it.

And the truth is that whether you are like the first person I described or more like myself, we all need His grace and forgiveness and strength, right?

The second misconception I had was that I could not imagine loving kids who I had not given birth to. Maybe that’s shocking, but it’s the truth. This fear is a misunderstanding of the true definition of love and the nature of adoption.

Love is a choice. Not a feeling. It certainly produces feelings, but it is not a feeling in itself. God chose to love me and adopt me into His family and even sacrificed His only Son to do so. This is why adoption is such a clear picture of the gospel, because we imitate what God has done for us by going to “the least of these,” choosing them, choosing to love them, and sacrificing much to give them life.

Several things happened that dispelled these misconceptions and brought me to where I am now, ready to adopt and filled with joy at the prospect of it.

I held Reagan Jessica in my arms as an infant and felt her total dependence on me for every need and the incomparable love that a mother has for her baby and understood: there are babies with no mothers, no fathers. My Reagan knew only security and love, and there were children who had never known either. And as simple as that realization may sound, it was profound for me, and my heart opened to the idea of bringing one of those fatherless and motherless and unloved children into our home. We could offer a mother and a father to such a child, but more importantly, we could teach them about The Father who loves them more than we ever could.

I began to understand that adoption is a God thing, not a people thing. God came up with the idea. As I said before, He adopted us, and we imitate Him when we do it. Josh and I read a book about this, Adopted for Life, by Russell Moore. If you have any interest in adoption at all, or if you just want to understand the theology of adoption (what God has to say about it), I seriously recommend that you read it.

And more recently, I began to read and hear the stories of women who have adopted. I got to spend a few days on a plane with a woman who has adopted five children and she was just a normal woman with a big understanding of God’s grace. And I thought, yup, I’m saved by the grace of God, too. I can do this.

Here are a couple of blogs I follow and I love them because these women are both normal and extraordinary. Normal, because they are sinful, too. Extraordinary, because they are utterly dependent upon God as they follow His call to adopt.

I know you all want details and I promise they’re coming! But I couldn’t pass up a chance to tell you a little bit of my story. When this great God and Father calls us to something, He gives the strength, the courage, the conviction, the desire, the joy. That’s true for adoption, it’s true for all that He has for those called by Him.


  1. Katie Neff
  2. Nikki Tanner

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