Fear Has Nothing to do with Discernment

By Mary Bruno

Couples frequently choose to grow their families by adding a child. Sometimes that new bundle of joy comes through the gift of a pregnancy, and sometimes it comes through the gift of adoption. 

Both require incredible self-sacrifice and are incredibly rewarding. Both require thorough discernment. Neither are superior, but many couples find themselves battling certain fears. Some can’t help but feel that a biological child is the best way to fill their hearts and complete their family. Some view adoption as a consolation for not being able to get pregnant.

My husband, myself, our extended family and all of our friends who have witnessed the love exchanged between us and our adopted daughter would strongly disagree. We have never once regretted that she doesn’t share our DNA and is perfect for our family just the way she is. 

Adoption discernment is hard, though. Just as it is not unusual for anxieties to run high in anticipation of a pregnancy and birth, it is normal to wrestle with apprehensions connected with bringing another couple’s child into your home. 

As Chris and I discerned whether or not to begin the adoption process, we discussed many fears – would we be able to love this child as our own? Would we get a thorough family medical history? Would the birth mother like us? Would she change her mind? How would we handle other people’s perceptions? How would other children treat our child? 

These feelings are understandable, but if we get stuck in that place by living in those fears, we are the ones that miss out on God’s incredible plan. 

There is no couple that grows their family without managing fears. But perfect love casts out all fear. No good decision is ever made based on fear. Fear has nothing to do with any discernment process. Only prayer, openness, and trust in God – three things that help us to overcome fear. 

Not all couples unable to bear children are called to adopt, but it’s something we should all be open to. God chooses to grow our hearts and our families in many unexpected ways. If one of those ways turns out to be adoption, it won’t be second best. It will be a different privilege, but a privilege nonetheless. As one of God’s own many adopted children, I think you might agree. 

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