Dealing with Feelings of Jealousy as an Adoptive Parent
Abundant life. No matter what that looks like for each of us, we want it. Not ordinary or mundane. Not a life that is limited or insufficient. We want good things for ourselves, for our family, for our friends. But how do we get it, and will we even notice once it’s ours? Our family prays for God to bless us with His good plans. We trust that He works all things out for a better purpose. Even when we have seen struggles in our life, we can look back and identify how what we perceived as bad or hard was transformed into times that strengthened and overwhelmed us with goodness.
The Obstacle Course of AdoptionHow difficult is it though when we can’t see how it all works out or we feel our life is anything less than abundant? We have been actively pursuing adoption for over two years. Through home studies, background checks, fundraisers, endless paperwork, references, updated home studies, fees, and so much more, we have been on this roller coaster called adoption. Maybe a roller coaster is too mild of a description when referring to our adoption journey. It would be more honest of me to depict it as a Tough Mudder race! If you’ve ever heard of or seen a Tough Mudder in action, you may be nodding your head in agreement as you think about every obstacle, picture yourself wading knee-deep in a trench of mud, feel your chest tighten as you run uphill, and wonder when the finish line will come into view. When will our time come? I have asked this question many times in the last two and a half years. Even through being matched with a prospective birth mother and experiencing a failed adoption, we have stayed on this journey because we believe in abundance. Our faith has been tested just as our emotions have wavered. I have talked with many couples about how to begin the adoption process, just to watch them bring home a baby before we have. I answer constant questions about our adoption journey only to be met with more questions about why it’s taking so long. Some days I feel defeated in how I allow my thoughts and emotions to dictate my temporary happiness. What I have to remind myself is that happiness is temporary. It’s an emotion that comes and goes like the wind. How can I remove myself from a temporary feeling, good or bad, and trust that my life is still being held together?
Keeping the Faith during Times of JealousyWhat many adoptive parents in waiting experience is an uncomfortable, sometimes jealous, spirit when our arms long for a precious child and all our eyes see are the good fortunes of others around us. We see the baby shower invitations and the gender reveal parties. We only pay attention to the mom who is pushing her shopping cart with the baby’s car seat nestled securely on top. Exhaustion constricts our mind from every worry we allow in. What we focus on is what we do not have, the number of days we have been waiting (886 days), the anxiety we feel, and we forget to see hope. Isn’t that what adoption is all about? Doesn’t adoption itself personify hope in its truest form? In my personal journey, I cling to the Bible verse that reminds me of the greatest hope. In Hebrews 10:23 it says, “Let us hold tightly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” Hope for that abundant life.
Staying HopefulI know that God wants to bless my family, wants my life to be abundant. But that truth doesn’t always mean abundance comes in the plans I laid for myself. No one’s do! I cannot see the big picture of how all the little details, the perceived bumps in the road, or the timing of when it all unfolds will come together to write a beautiful story. But I want to exude hope! I want my journey to be one so hopeful that my feelings of jealousy turn into anticipation, not only for me but for those around me yearning for the same sweet gift I desire. I pray my feelings of being unworthy are reinvented for the enthusiasm I have to share with others about our continuing adoption story. I know that my heart will be disheartened when hearing a potential birth mom decided to choose another family, but I want to rejoice that a sweet baby found a forever home. Don’t allow our joy to be stolen during our journey of adoption. Even when times seem difficult, let us be reminded that those are temporary in comparison to the hope that is to come. We could all use a little more hope.
—Jill is a 32-year-old wife and mom. She has been married to her husband, Brannon, for eight years and has 5-year-old and 1-year-old daughters. Jill and her husband are currently in the adoption process to bring another baby into their home. Jill lives in a small community in Kentucky. She has her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish and obtained her Master’s degree in Christian Ministries. Jill’s passions are her faith, her family, writing, playing sports, and eating good food.