Posted by: ramonamom | June 16, 2008

A Word for Christian Parents Considering Disruption

There are many reasons that parents reach such a breaking point with their adopted child that they will consider “divorcing” them.  This is commonly called “adoption disruption”, although the technical term for it is “adoption dissolution”.  For the sake of this post, we will use the more commonly used term, though. 

Over the past few years we have been in contact with many families whose challenges with their older adopted child have brought them to the point of considering disruption.  Those who have not had such struggles will wonder how a parent can come to such a dramatic point and how could a child possibly be so “bad” to warrant being disowned.  Our hearts have broken as we have listened to story after story of families being torn apart and we have prayed for God’s wisdom as we struggled to counsel them.  Even more difficult is when a parent comes to us with no hope for their relationship with their child – all they want to do is “get rid of him/her”.

We have spent much time in prayer and seeking other godly counsel on this issue, as parent after parent has come to us broken hearted and angry. Many of the problems these parents were dealing with were not at all unexpected in older adopted children. However, they had not been educated prior to adopting their child(ren), so it was unexpected for them and they were taken by surprise and ill equipped to deal with such challenges.  Our goal became to encourage the Christian parents who came to us in such dire straits, turning them back to the Word and helping them find strength in their Lord. 

After much searching of the Scriptures, we saw few instances in which God would not consider such a “disruption” to be sin on the part of the parents, if carried to fruition.  {One of the few areas in which we did see such a separation to be warranted was abuse (by the adopted child, targeting others in the family).  Parents must protect their children, even from siblings if necessary.  We know of a dear Christian family who were not informed at the time of adoption that their child had already abused others in the orphanage.  This child went on to abuse younger children in the home, sadly. }

One of the goals of our personal ministry (secondary to ministering to our own children), and the goal of this blog, has become to reach out to parents and help them learn to parent these difficult children.  As Christian parents, we are ambassadors of Christ to all of our children, no matter how difficult they are to get along with.  Quoting Paul David Tripp in Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands;

The job of an ambassador is to represent someone or something… We represent God’s purposes to the people he places in our lives {ie, our children}.  This is much broader than a commitment to formal ministry occupying a portion of our schedule…

 As we strive to represent Christ to our children, we must continually look in each mirror as we walk past, to determine if we are indeed “representing God’s purposes” and to ensure that we are not beginning to give in to the temptation of self pity and despair.  Consider this quote from Mr. Tripp’s book, as he speaks to those who hope to counsel others from a biblical perspective (the job of each Christian parent):

When I do not face my own sinful attitudes, my ministry to this person {my child} will be shaped less and less by Christ-like love and more and more by other attitudes.  I will be less and less excited by what God can do (and the privilege of being part of it), and more and more eager to get out of the relationship.  Rather than being motivated to perservere until God has accomplished all that he intends, I will find the person irriating and the relationship burdensome.  I will be attracted to quick superficial solutions that allow me to move on.  My repsonses are not driven by love for God or for the person, but by a love for self.

As Paul says in II Corinthians 5:17-20: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;  that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. “



  1. Great blog and resource for adoptive parents. The potential issues that many parents face when adopting older children are so important to educate people on. Though we cannot know exactly what will happen we need to be aware of what the possibilities are and what we may need to rely on God for. That way folks can enter into the decision wisely. God’s grace, His word, and a community that understands and is willing to walk with these parents are essential as well! Thanks for your ministry to these parents!

    Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands is so helpful on a number of different levels. Your post has made me add to my list of books to reread!

    Blessings in Christ!

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