For this blog, we interviewed an expat family currently in process. For their safety, we are using their pseudonym. We are grateful for their vulnerability and willingness to share their story with us.
Every day, families say “yes” to God’s call on their lives to adopt. For expat families—families living outside their native country—saying “yes” to adoption brings about a new set of challenges to the process. We recently talked with the Whitley family so they could give a little insight into some of their challenges and also how we can pray for and encourage them.
Imagine saying “yes” to moving your life across the world to share the hope of Christ with a people who likely have never heard it and in a place with restrictive conversion laws. This reality is what the Whitleys experienced when they obeyed God’s call for their family. They moved to a part of the world that is not only unreached with the gospel of Jesus but is also hostile to Him and His followers. Yet, the Whitleys had a clear vision to not just exist in this new place but to make it a part of their family.
After settling into their new home in their new city, the Whitleys began to be burdened by thoughts of a child with Asian characteristics. After seeking God’s will, they realized that God was calling them to represent the gospel in a challenging and vulnerable way—by bringing a child into their lives forever. Adoption was not an easily-made decision, but after reading the God’s word, Emma and David knew that adoption was clear obedience for their family. At this time, the Lord continued to work in their hearts and made it clear that their journey to Asia was also included pursuing a child.
One of their biggest fears concerned adjusting to a new culture; so, to add a new child into the mix was a lot to think about. Life overseas can be extremely exhausting, and they questioned if adopting while living outside their home country would be too much to handle. Adoption is very uncommon where they live, and most people assume that to adopt must mean the couple struggled with infertility. As a result of the surrounding cultural view of adoption, the Whitleys questioned if their child would even be accepted by their neighbors and community. These are struggles that many adoptive parents experience but can be greatly exacerbated for expat families.
Honestly, the adoption process has brought out raw emotions for the Whitleys, and the added isolation from home has intensified them. What keeps them going is the daily reminder of their call to adopt and the reminder that they have been adopted. There is a great possibility that their future child would not have been born the day the Whitleys started their adoption process. This detail has served as a sweet reminder to them that before we were born, Christ came; He lived a perfect life and then died an excruciating death for us, being raised from the dead three days later. The Whitley’s have a beautifully challenging experience to remind them of God’s great love for us, even before we were born.
Throughout their process, the Lord has continued to teach Emma and David about His goodness and perfect timing. Emma told us, “The first thing people tend to do is encourage us with their opinions, which is totally natural. But we have found our comfort in Christ during this season . . . It’s easy to feel like my worthiness is connected to my works or like Christ’s faithfulness is connected to my circumstances. Christ has been giving us a resounding ‘I LOVE YOU’ through the entire process.”
You may be asking yourself, “How can I pray for expat families during their adoption process? How can I offer encouragement to an expat family I know that is or has adopted?” Throughout the adoption process, community is essential. For an expat family who is living across the world, the adoption process becomes one of extreme loneliness. A huge request is to pray for a feeling of community and support as well as peace and perseverance throughout the process. Also, ask the Father to give families a constant reminder that Christ is always walking before them.
Join us in praying for the expat families walking through the adoption process. If you are interested in becoming apart of our expat program, please visit lifelinechild.org/expat-family-information/.