Adoption is hard. And weird. But worth it.

In my perfect world, every kid would have a safe and loving family, and do things like merrily bake cookies together every day. But, it’s not a perfect world.
kids baking cookies

Right now we’re in the midst of the process of picking. We’re not talking about melons or avocados here (which are both hard to pick, by the way); we’re talking about children.

HOW does one choose a child out of all the waiting children?
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you it’s hard.

Immensely hard.

This ain’t our first rodeo, as the saying goes. We’ve done this before, but this time is nothing like when we adopted Lindsey. There wasn’t much back and forth with our caseworker about children. Lindsey was, I think, only the second child we considered. But this time, because of how our family has changed, there is MUCH more to consider. The particulars of who will fit well into our family have changed dramatically. We’ve been presented quite a number of children to consider, and we’ve sent our homestudy to be considered for quite a number of children. As of yet, the two have not merged.

If we were choosing for ease, we’d look for a mostly healthy preschool-age or younger child. Those children do exist, even in foster care (though rarely), but we haven’t been presented with any kids like that. The kids we’ve been called about are much older, or face much larger issues. It breaks my heart a little every time we have to say no, but we have to consider the welfare of the kids already entrusted to us. Once a child becomes ours, they’ll move into the category of “my child” but until they are, they are not. It’s a strange and difficult thing.

This has prompted me and Ken to do a lot of soul-searching. These kids, these situations, have us seriously considering the whys of adopting this time around. Is this to fill a hole in our family, or is this to fulfill a calling God has given us? Neither is wrong, but the whys affect the how and the who.

I’m shocked at how many kids we’ve learned about who have had disrupted adoptions (where a parent “gives back” a child they have adopted); I thought those situations were very rare. These cases, as well as hearing reasons kids were removed from their birth families, or even some foster families, tempt me to become very judgemental. But I don’t know the whole story, and I don’t know them as real people who are hurting; I am no less a sinner than they are, and they are no less loved by Jesus than I am. Period.

On the table right now, so to speak, are several kids: a 5 year old with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, a variety of challenging behaviors, and a very “iffy” prognosis in regards to her future abilities; a teen girl who has recently announced she is gay, with a biological mom who refuses to even make a reunification plan; and two preteen brothers who have been in a group home for the past year. With each particular child and situation, I try to imagine life with him/her/them based on what little I know. No two situations look even remotely alike.

Preparing is impossible.

Making a decision to pursue — or not pursue — a particular child based on cold facts on paper is not how this mama heart works, but it’s all I have to go on. Meeting a child is several steps ahead of where we are now, and I’m not okay with doing that until we are relatively sure about continuing to move forward; these children have faced enough hurt and rejection, and I’m not willing to contribute to that.

Getting input from our kids is important. I know that Kathryn will adjust well if: A) I spend enough time one-on-one with her, B) we prepare her as much as possible, and C) the child seems happy to spend time with her at least occasionally. Lindsey, however, seems to have more difficulty telling us how she feels about it all or imagining what it might be like with particular kids as new siblings. We surely don’t to sabotage what we’ve worked so hard on building with her, but it’s hard to know how to handle it best.

So I guess the short version of all this is:

Adoption is hard. And weird. But worthwhile. And we sure would appreciate prayers for wisdom and clarity in this process.

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Vertical Mom

Oh, Lord, YES! We are so there with you RIGHT.NOW. We have two teen girls and a sibling group of two girls that we are considering and basically the ball is in our court to move forward. All are very different situations with their own pack of challenges. I will certainly pray for clarity for you all if you will pray for clarity for us…this is hard stuff.


That must be incredibly difficult and heart-wrenching. I can’t even imagine.

Marleigh Claire

Praying for wisdom, grace, peace and love to fill you on your journey.
Your sister in Christ.


Praying as you seek God’s will for your family and the child He has for you! Praying for that wisdom and clarity, and that our Lord who lovingly sets children into families will guide in a divine way!


Heavenly Father, we thank You for this day. We thank You for the chance to be your hands and feet, and to give so freely of ourselves in Your name. We humbly pray that Your will be apparent in Jamie and her family’s lives, and that You bless them a thousand fold. In Jesus name, we love You. Amen.


Jamie, I’ve had adoption on my mind for more than a year now and have looked at waiting children in our area (on websites). It hurts me just to look at the *photos*; I can’t imagine facing an actual presentation, i.e., “Here’s a child to consider. How will s/he fit into your family?” There’s one particular 18-year-old girl whose face I can’t forget. I’ve gone so far as to imagine her in our family (a number of times — maybe I’m slightly masochistic?). I keep asking myself, “Where will she go for Christmas? Who will make her birthday cakes? Who… Read more »


I will be praying for you!!! Thanks for sharing.

Christine Niles

It is hard, and weird. But few are willing to look at it from all angles and to be honest with themselves about the whys and their effects on the hows and the whos. Thank you for your honesty, and for your faithful consideration and love for your current and future kids. God has great plans for you guys…greater than you can imagine! Praying for you, your family, and any and all future additions!

Andrea Roseman

We will be praying that God shows you exactly who you are supposed to add to your family! Hang in there…

Praying, Jamie!


We are right where you are now. I just posted on my adoption/foster blog about a little boy that we were pursuing. We were very touched by him. We are interested in adopting a special needs child and found this little boy. Talked to his caseworker and were told about some of his issues, one being that he was Autistic and the other that he had had failed adoption. We were heartbroken to find out while reading his casefile that he was extremely violent. Since we have a 2yr old that we are adopting in August and a 4yr old… Read more »


To make the decision based on the facts on paper and not your mama heart that beats so strong – I think that’s my prayer for you – of course for wisdom, of course to really hear what your other babies think, of course to be one with your husband, and for the child who needs you to find you – all led buy God’s will – that’s my prayer – that was my prayer – I just finished. God bless you and yours Jamie.

Giggly Girls

What an enormous task. I’ll be praying that God leads you to just the right child. I know in the end you guys and the new child will be blessed by each other.


You spoke the same words my heart is crying out right now! We are in the process of inquiring and sending our homestudy out! Same as with you…no matches yet. Everytime I have my quiet time though God is reminding me He is soverign, His timing is perfect, and I can trust Him…even with my future children. It’s hard, as a mommy to not be in control! I have been “nesting” in overdrive…when you don’t know who, what sex, or how many you might get you try to clean and organize everything! I will continue to pray that God will… Read more »


Wow Jamie thanks for being so open and real. I will say prayers tonight for your decision.
How difficult.
Just cast lots.

But seriously. I pray that what is best will become abundantly clear to you.

[…] Jamie Worley discusses the difficulty of choosing a child. […]


This confusing little pit stop is exactly where we are on our adoption journey! It is so hard to know God’s will and wait for the unknowns. It is even harder (for us anyway) to know if we should even be out “hunting” for children to begin with. We have gone back and forth so much on waiting around for a call from our caseworker (who has only presented 3 sibling sets to us in over a year) and getting out there (on, our state heart gallery…) and searching for a match! Is the latter option really faithless? Or… Read more »


It hurts my heart a bit to hear the girl “announcing” herself as gay being a downside. Her sexual orientation only requires openness and love… It is hard that her mom won’t accept her.