There is Grace


Last month I shared a guest post, Joining a New Family at 16 [and Realistic Expectations]; it was hugely popular and helpful to many of us. Today I have the honor of sharing a follow-up post by the same author. Not only did Rebecca join her new family at the age of 16, she is also an adoptive mother (the pic above is of her beautiful children). I know you’ll enjoy hearing from her again.

Your comments on my guest post reminded me how easy it is for me to say “give yourself a break” and how much harder it is to do. None of us want to be lazy in how we care for our kids. We want to feel we’ve done everything in our power to help them succeed. We don’t want our kids with histories outside our homes to be or feel any different than our kids with no history outside our homes. We feel intense pressure to make everything right for them and to give them what we wish they had all along.

The challenge is that we can’t. Our kids know it when their history makes it hard for them to connect. They know when they aren’t like everyone else in their family. Even at young ages, our kids come home anxiously observing how their new life works. They wait for the moment it will all fall apart (as it has for them in the past). They distance themselves in an effort to not get used to a life that, for them, isn’t the norm. Even with years of consistency and provision, it isn’t easy for older children to “settle in” to their new reality.

One of many times I went to a counselor for help processing my journey was during our wait to adopt our oldest child. (I was nearly 30.) I had read many attachment books and was overwhelmed at the task ahead of me. I told the counselor about my own history and my fear that everything good and wonderful would soon fall apart as my childhood once had. She followed in a way no counselor ever had by reframing my experience as normal. Yes, my mom died when I was 16, but eventually most of us deal with the death of a parent. For her, it wasn’t until she was over 50. “You’ve done that already,” she said. “There are some things in life you only do once.” She went on to remind me that I wasn’t powerless and 16 anymore. I was an adult and had choices. If I was in a bad situation, it was now in my power to get out.

There is grace in the stories with which our children come to us. Sometimes the grace is that there are things in life you only lose once and eventually you become an adult and get to choose what you tolerate. Sometimes it is more personal, maybe a caring teacher or a dear friend. Maybe the grace is a few nice memories in a sea of terrible ones. Maybe it is a once-stable childhood that just didn’t stay stable. No matter where it may be found, I encourage you to look for the grace in each situation. Look for the grace in your child’s life before you were in it. Ask about the good times, the best memories, the way they likely wish their lives still were. There is value in seeing the beauty among the ashes.

For us, too, there is grace for this journey if we look for it. There is grace for the times you do so much for children who would rather you didn’t exist. There is grace for the times your foster child says they want to go back to the family who hurt them and you stop yourself from reminding them of the ugly and choose to find out more about the beautiful. There is grace for you when you must say “no” to a potential match because you know the commitment “yes” might be. There is grace for you when at the end of a long day you can’t remember speaking any words that weren’t instructions. There is grace for you when you get it wrong, when you push too hard, when you want to give up. The outcome of our best efforts is never in our control, and that, in itself is grace. Sometimes, we must say, in our own strongest voice, we’ve done what we know to do, we’ve cared for our family and done all that we can to keep our children safe, and for the rest, we need grace. 

 Thank you,  Rebecca, for once again sharing wisdom that comes from your unique life experiences. God is making beauty from ashes and I’m thankful for this glimpse into your life. 

Friends, please take a moment to leave a comment, question, or a word of encouragement for Rebecca.

Encourage one another,


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Emily
    December 5, 2013

    Rebecca rocks. She should start a blog if she doesn't already have one!!

  2. Jennie
    December 5, 2013

    "The outcome of our best efforts is never in our control, and that, in itself is grace." Thank you, Rebecca. I will look for grace.

  3. daysofwonderandgrace
    December 5, 2013

    I second Emily! Rebecca, you write about something different than my circumstances at the moment, but spiritual parallels, and the wisdom in your thoughts, are very powerful. Thank you for speaking the words God put on your heart, and to you, Lisa, for publishing them!

  4. Erin Jepsen
    December 5, 2013

    I LOVED this. We need to hear this as parents, not just in the context of adoption.

  5. Shellea
    December 5, 2013

    Rebecca…thank you for sharing your journey with us! Grace…how often we forget that we aren't perfect and we can not fix everyone. I remember reading the "Grace Awakening" written by Chuck Swindoll (actually I have read it several times!) when he says, "either you have a yes face or a no face".
    Rebecca, you definitely have a YES face! I will pray for many blessings to cover you as you continue your hard and wonderful work! Thank you!!!

  6. Luann Yarrow Doman
    December 5, 2013

    I agree with Emily's comment above.
    Thank you, Rebecca, for sharing this important message.

  7. Bev
    December 5, 2013

    This resonated deeply with me. I linked to it on facebook. Thanks so much for the wise reminder that there is grace, deep grace, even in difficult things.

  8. Karrie
    December 5, 2013

    I agree with Emily, Rebecca!!

  9. Sara
    December 7, 2013

    Thank you for sharing with us your experience, your wisdom, your grace. You give us a voice we so desperately need to hear!

  10. Sarah
    December 8, 2013

    Rebecca, you write very beautifully. Thankyou for this – it was a joy and very moving to read.

  11. MommaFoster
    December 9, 2013

    I really enjoyed reading your words, Rebecca. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  12. Cindy Blair
    December 18, 2013

    I think this one of my favorites!!


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