57. It's No Second Choice: Infertility, Adoption and Identity - Nat
June 29, 2022
Mentioned in this episode -
"Adopted For Life" By Russell Moore
Laura: Hi, Nat and welcome to unsung stories. Thanks so much for joining us
Nat: Hi, Laura. It's great to be here.
Laura: Just so that our listeners could get to know you a little bit more. Could you tell us a bit about your family and you and what everyday life looks like for you?
Nat: Yeah, sure. So I'm Nat I live on the central coast of new south Wales.
I've been married to my husband for 13 years. We have two kids, a 10 year old son and an eight year old daughter. We have all the usual business of family church. And work life. My husband works in nursing and my background's in marketing. And I've worked for various Christian international development organizations over the last decade.
Laura: Yeah. That sounds beautiful and busy. Have you always been a Christian or how did you become one?
Nat: Yeah. So I've been about Jesus for as long as I can remember. My mom had a strong and open faith which would shine through pretty much everything she did. Jesus was just a part of our everyday lives.
I was about six years old and my mom prayed with me to accept Jesus as my savior and king. And I also grew up going to a church where I was taught the Bible's big overarching story of saving us through Jesus. Throughout my childhood. I never doubted God's existence or his love for me. And I knew Jesus as my best friend.
This lasted throughout my teenage years. And I had a strong desire to follow Jesus, to serve others and also to have close relationships with other Christians.
Laura: Yeah, how cool's that? I love that you had such a strong relationship with God from such a young age. And particularly now thinking of my little, nearly six year old, I'm , oh, I hope just continues on forever. And I loved your mom that her faith stood out to you so much. How beautiful is that? What an encouragement for us. Yes. So you've said that you became a Christian at a young age.
Did you ever have a time where your relationship with God was tested or how did you find your faith change over the years? .
Nat: Yeah. So as a young adult, I found myself experiencing depression and anxiety and all the symptoms that come with that. Yeah, panic attacks losing interest and lack of motivation and lack of sleep and all of those things impacted my faith.
So for the first time in my life, I did really question if God was. And my faith was really put to the test. I felt emotionally distant from him and I wondered if he was there and I wondered if he cared for me. In fact, I didn't really know if he even existed anymore. It was a bit of a shock to be faced with those sort of heavy doubts and questions. I got to a point where I was ready to walk away from my.
Laura: oh, that's really hard. I'm really sorry that you went through that. I'm wondering, what did you do with those doubts that you had?
How did you work through them and where did you land with all your wrestling?
Nat: When I was facing these doubts and big questions, I had to get down to the. Basics of what I believed. So I looked at the facts and the evidence. I read books outside of the Bible to see whether or not the Bible was real. And I looked to see what the evidence was for Jesus.
And in the end I couldn't get past the facts, despite how I felt. I realized that God was real, that Jesus was real. And his love for me was real. I think about when Jesus asked Peter whether he wanted to stop following him, Peter replies, Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life and I felt the same.
I just couldn't walk away. My mom supported me through my doubts. She allowed me to question and go through the process, but she also had confidence that God was going to keep me secure as his child. At the time, it was actually quite irritating how confident she was. I remember her saying that burst from Philippians to me that he, who began a good work in me would carry it on to completion.
And that's actually exactly what God did. He used my mental health and the process of doubting and questioning to solid solidify my faith that could not have been done in any other.
Laura: What a great outcome. And I love that your mum was just so instrumental in your faith journey. I think that's quite special and just confident that God was gonna keep you how beautiful was that?
Nat: Yeah, it was really. Beautiful and amazing to have my mom be part of that process. And thankfully by my mid twenties, God had healed my health. And so I can look back now and see clearly that he actually used that illness and that process of questioning to strengthen my faith in preparation for a number of difficulties that were about to come my way over the next few.
Laura: What was coming your way?
Nat: So the first thing that happened was my mom was diagnosed with cancer. She spent the next two years under treatment with surgeries and chemo and all the other things that come with cancer until there was basically nothing else that could be done. So my family and I looked after my mom at home for the last few weeks of her life.
And we were with her when she took her last breath and God took her home.
Laura: Oh, Nat I'm so sorry. That's a huge loss. If you don't mind me asking, how did you cope with losing her?
Nat: I found losing a parent was like losing a part of yourself. You say goodbye to that part of your childhood and yourself that only your parent knows about.
And that special relationship that you had can never really be replicated in the same way in your lifetime. So losing my mom was quite a big shock, which sounds weird because we knew it was coming. She had terminal cancer, but it still felt like a tremendous shock for me. The grief was very heavy. I didn't understand why it had to happen.
And I felt really young to lose my mom. I did ask God why, but because he had done so much work in me in the years before in terms of securing that fair belief in his existence and also his love for me, I didn't question him in a way that I probably would have otherwise. And I just pulled out my grief to him.
I was newly married when mom was sick and we have been married two years when she passed away. So my marriage was a gift in that time as my husband loved and comforted me and cried and mourned with me.
Laura: That's so heavy. And just knowing your story, that wasn't the only grief that you were facing at that time. Was it, what else was going on for you?
Nat: Were, we had started trying for a family while my mom was still with us and it didn't seem to be happen. So within a few weeks of my mom dying and after some testing, I was actually diagnosed with infertility and yeah, it was a really heavy time. We were told that it would be almost impossible for us to fall pregnant naturally.
So I had this grief of losing my mom along with the shock and grief of perhaps never being able to become a mom. .
Laura: And what did you do when you were faced with that infertility diagnosis?
Nat: Infertility is a unique kind of grief. Losing my mom was public. We mourned at a funeral. We cried with people checked up on me and the grief was outwardly acknow. But infertility was a private and invisible grief without closure. It was not mourning the loss of someone that already existed, but it was mourning the loss of someone that I never really had to start with.
So we then went through years of watching our friends and colleagues and people around us fall pregnant. It felt like people were falling pregnant everywhere. I. Church was overflowing with babies, new ones every week. It was a very lonely grief.
Laura: Oh, that's huge. What kind of heart stuff was coming out for you? So how did you wrestle with it and where did you land with it? All
Nat: infertility made me question my identity and my worth. I felt like God had made me to be a wife and a mother. So why wouldn't he allow me to be a. I felt like a failure. I had always heard that children were a blessing. So why wasn't I blessed? What was wrong with me? Others could have fall pregnant without trying. And here I was doing fertility treatments, injecting myself with hormones and doing all kinds of things that make baby making very unromantic. And in fact, rather physically and emotionally traumatic. And we couldn't be blessed with just one baby. I felt inferior and worth.
Laura: Oh, Nat that's so hard.
Nat: Going to church was also really difficult. I struggled to pray and read the Bible. Every monthly cycle brought another wave of grief. Every pregnancy announcement and baby shower was a stark reminder of my deep belongings and failings. Thankfully, God is so good and provides the spirit to intercede.
I had no choice, but to rely on him. This was something I could not control. He was the giver of life and not me. I questioned him a lot that I knew deep down. He was with me. We cried a lot of tears, but I felt him weeping with me. I had to rely on his true promises to me, the promises he has for all of us who were facing infertility.
I am his child. I am loved by him. I belong to him. I am made fully complete in Christ. I do not need to be a mom to be these things, motherhood or the lack of motherhood does not define me. God has made me in his image, brought me into his family, made me his beloved child in his eyes because of Jesus. I am not inferior, inadequate, defective, broken, or worthless.
I am his fully known, fully loved and fully complete. I have every spiritual blessing in Christ and I lack nothing. As hard as these trees were to really bully at the time I had to cling to them and trust God was working his purposes for my good and his glory.
Laura: Sorry. I was so intrigued. I was just, I'm just breaking my heart. Oh,
Nat: I'm glad. I'm not glad I'm making a heart and I'm glad it's coming across. Good. As on that,
Laura: as you were talking, I was , and she was worried. Yeah.
Nat: Oh, okay. Last night, John. He hadn't read it yet. And I was , I've gotta get you to read it and make sure I'm explaining everything. Okay. He read it and he just sat back the whole time and then at the end I'm like, oh, are you crying? And he's no, I've just got allergies.
Laura: There is something um, there's something beautiful when you so even just listening to I've been on you. I, but you, even everyone I've had on there, yes. But usually when you're in a conversation, there's that two Aness to it that you don't actually get so deep. Yes. This is go deeper. No, go deeper. Go deeper again. Yes. And and then when you put the whole story together like this, I think there is something beautiful about it that go, wow. We went through that. Oh
Nat: God did this. Yes. And we don't really ever take the opportunity to step back and look at our lives and see the way that he's worked. We in the moment, day by day, going with it. And it's funny, sorry to just get off track of it. But when I was talking to John about this over the weekend, and he was like, oh, do you remember? We went back and forth with a good friend of ours who's in ministry. Just about how you really struggled with not feeling blessed. And I was like, oh okay. I do remember feeling like I wrote that in here. I remember not feeling blessed and he's yeah, you felt cursed. And he found an email.
He had sent to this friend of ours and it was so full on reading it. Cause I was like, oh my goodness. I knew it was awful. But reading that, John had said to him, we've just spent two or three hours, crying and writing out pros and cons for whether we should continue with fertility treatment.
Cause it was so horrific and then this email had come from their friend basically saying a whole list of all the ways that we have blessing in Christ and that yes, children aren't seen in the old Testament as a blessing, financial blessing was seen as well in the old Testament, but in the new Testament, The blessings, actually, the word blessing is just in Jesus, an us as God's children, not children to us.
And he was like, you are definitely not cursed, but you are also fully blessed. And these are all the ways you are. And it was this essay basically of bible versus, and I was like, oh my goodness.
Laura: It's funny what a nice friend to walk away from that conversation. And then , put your thought into it. And yeah.
Nat: He did a Bible analysis of blessing. Yeah. And we were like, thank you so much. Just came at the right
Laura: in an email as well, face to face conversation. It could nearly be not argumentative, but to just send an email, be , no, this is the information. Read it when you want. Yeah. But you're wrong. yeah,
Nat: basically he was like, you're wrong? And he's it's a lie and don't listen to it because it only comes from the father of lies. And , I ended up putting the verse in here later on I put the verse in here that he said about being blessed, but also I added into the infertility part. The part about repeating the truth and don't believe the lives. Cause I was like, it is actually a spiritual battle and. I was thinking it puts your faith to the test and it is a spiritual battle where Satan wants to win you over and use it to take you away.
And God's I'm I wanna use it for your good, and I wanna bring good things from this. So trust me. And it's like really putting. It's just, yeah, it's everything. Cuz there's nothing you can do. It's so out of your control, like whether you're F pregnant or not. And so it is really a matter of God goes to Satan in your life kind of thing and where you gonna land. But
Laura: yeah, and I was just thinking about what you were saying about it, the devil being lie, there's such a. Battle going on there because on one hand Satan is doing everything he can to cause you to doubt, to cause you to stumble, walk away from God. But at the same time, God does allow that suffering and that heartache.
Yes. And the lessons. Yes. In a good way, because, and if you let well, not if you let him, but through that, you'll learn where you are not trusting God or not dependent on him. Definitely. So it's painful, but it's actually for our good, because it causes us to, yeah. I don't know.
Nat:I think refining, it's a refining process. It's refining. Yes. Yeah. And if your faith doesn't stand up to the test, it will fall because yeah. Yeah. There's no
Laura: or it reveals if you do have, or don't have exactly faith. That's exactly. It's that? What is that like?
Nat: The testing. Refining fire or? Yeah
Laura: it does feel like a fire, but yeah.
Nat: Sorry, this is just getting off topic. It's on topic, but off .
Laura: No, I think it's actually been helpful for me because so often I just ignore the devil and
Nat: yeah, same. Cause I think cuz there's a we don't talk about it that much and there is this crap fear about, oh, let's not get too into talking about the devil, but
Laura: also some Christians do be. It's the devil, but it's actually you are responsible for this as well. Exactly. So there is that tension. Yes. But even, I don't know when we just did John, and it's talking about the father of lies and yeah. And it was either , you're either one or who is your father?
If it's not God, it's the devil. I know it's so intense. yeah. And it feels so intense. It is intense because these feelings feel so real, but like your friend was so beautiful. Blunt. Yeah, it's a lie. Don't believe. Yeah. Don't believe a lie. It's
Nat: not I'm God. Yeah, exactly. He's I just gotta knit this in the bud now. So just a good friend. Yeah. Yes. But yeah, I wouldn't have remembered all of that.
Laura: Also maybe just think maybe I don't wanna go looking for it, but actually just in these, often I'll ask myself what's the truth here. Yeah. I'll in, those times where you have those big emotions or whatever, I'll often say no, what's the truth. Remind myself of the truth, but I'm also , I think I might start asking myself what's the lie I'm believing.
Nat: Yes. Yes. Cause it's and I think you see that
Laura: in your story of. That you and even just women who have infertility, you just. The lie. Yeah.
Nat: Yeah. Anyway, and it keeps coming up. Even when I became a mom, the lions keep coming up of oh, you don't deserve to have kids or you are a failure. All of those things that come up again, it's , it's I thought that just having kids with self, all my problems, it's no lies are still there. Still a battle. Yeah. And I think what's
Laura: scary about them is that it's not as if you are hearing. So the truth, people can tell you the truth, but people won't really probably tell you to lie so much. No, one's gonna be you're not blessed because you don't have kids or that sort of thing, but there's just that it's that it feels like it's you thinking and believing it. And so whether that's like the heart is deceitful above or else, or just how the devil works, they subtle whisperings. Yeah.
Nat: And then the feeling of being inferior or not blessed, or that sort of thing is also then making it that what I achieve in my life is my work is based on. Yeah. And so that is also my sin that. I think that I need to end my way or prove my way to be of worth or value. And actually I don't because it's fully done in Christ. So it's
Laura: yeah, it's right back to the beginning of that original IRAD of you want it your way.
Nat: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.Yeah.
Laura: that's really cool. Yep.
Nat: Let's get back..
Laura: So what was next in the journey?
Nat: we had seen a specialist and had all the tests and we decided to stop issuing fertility treatment. So we were left with two options. We could remain childless or consider building our family another way through adoption.
Laura: And was adoption something that you two had considered before trying to have kids?
Nat: I have thought about adoption as a child. I loved babies when I was little. And my favorite thing to do was to play moms and babies. And I wanted to have lots of babies when I grew up, but when I discovered how babies were made I thought that process was pretty gross.
So I had planned to adopt instead. I had thought that I would adopt about a hundred kids. That was my thought as a sort of seven, eight year old.
Laura: Yeah. A hundred. Pretty simple
Nat: woman yeah, a little bit unrealistic, I think just a bit. But yeah, more seriously. My husband and I had not thoughtfully considered or discussed adoption in our early marriage.
To be completely transparent. I had always believed that it was second choice, therefore, second best. So we then began this journey of considering God's heart for adoption. And what we soon discovered was his calling for our family. We read our first Christian book on adoption and we were left dumbfounded by the truths that we read.
What book was that? It was adopted for life by Russell. Yeah, nice. It explained our spiritual adoption in Christ in a way that I had never fully thought about before I saw adoption as a key part of the gospel adoption defines our identity. We are adopted into God's family, crafted in children of the promise, belonging to God as his sons and daughters and members of his household.
We can call out to him, our father. Adoption defines our inheritance. We are co-heirs with Christ legally entitled to receive all the blessings of a son, made a true he and beneficiary awaiting our full and guaranteed inheritance.
Laura: That's crazy when you actually stop and think about that. Yeah it really is heaven and God of the universe and we call, Legally entitled to receive the blessings of a son , whoa. Yes.
Nat: It's amazing. Amazing. And also we just read about that. Belonging to Christ means that we are Abraham's descendants. And I was pretty surprised us reading that. The Bible says we are Abraham's seed and heirs, according to the promise. So God calls us into his family as his children, not children by physical dissent, but as children of the promise, which is from Romans chapter nine and in John chapter one it says it so beautifully to all who received Jesus to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, children born, not of natural diss.
Nor a human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. So we are God's children brought into his family and given a seat at his family table on top of our spiritual adoption. Around this time. And since then, I have been struck by how God uses the concept of adoption and caring for the vulnerable and fatherless to work his purposes throughout his entire story of salvation.
The Bible is entrenched with these ideas and stories. When you look at it, Moses was adopted by Sarah's daughter, Mordecai adopted Esther. Then there's Ruth and Naomi, not an official adoption, but a choice for a mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law to stay joined as a family. and most importantly one we don't think about too much is Jesus conceived by the holy spirit, not a physical son of Joseph, but actually adopted by him with a legal right to David's throne that could only come through Joseph's lineage made possible only through the gift of adoption.
Laura: So it is crazy net. It's amazing. I've not thought
Nat: about that before. Yes, neither had we really. And so we did all this reading. We prayed and we considered, and our hearts were really changed. We realized that adoption was not just for couples who couldn't have children by birth or for couples who wanted more children.
It was not a last resort or second. Adoption was something that was actually really important to God and so close to his heart, and so much a part of his overarching story of redemption. We simply couldn't walk away from it to the point where even if we did happen to fall pregnant, naturally, we were convinced that adoption would also be a part of our journey into the future.
Laura: I just, I'm still coming back to the fact that Jesus was adopted. And I think for all of these kids who have been adopted into Christian families, what a gift is that what God can walk the same walk and those feelings that these kids are, or even as adults are wrestling with.
And yet it's part of it's part of Jesus's story.
Nat: Yes. I think it's really beautiful that kids who have been adopted can feel that connection with Jesus in a different way, because they both know what it feels like.
Laura: Yeah. That's so beautiful. So you guys were pretty set on it. You're not gonna walk away. You're definitely convicted that you wanna adopt. What was the process
Nat: from here? So we then entered this very complicated world of adoption. So lots of regulations and rules, different avenues to consider and just an incredible amount of paperwork. So we considered different options like intercountry adoption and local adoption.
Neither was easy and it was a mine field to navigate. We ended up going to a training course for prospective adoptive parents, considering the Australian foster to adopt program. At the time there were 40,000 children in Australia, in foster care having been removed from their birth families because it was just unsafe for them to.
And half of those children were permanently removed without a chance of restoration, generally bouncing from foster home to foster home. So these children were so many kids. It was a lot more than I expected. I think that we often think there's, lots of kids in need around the world, which there are, but we don't think that much about kids in Australia and 40,000 is a lot of children to be living in foster.
So these children that were permanently removed were legible for adoption in the long term, but at the time there was less than a hundred children being adopted per year from their foster to adopt program across all of Australia. So this was due to a number of factors and still is government regulations Australian history of adoption the way the system.
Being designed and a lack of families, also just willing to welcome these children as their own. It was a shock, it was confronting and heart breaking, and it was a reminder of how messed up our world is. We continued with the process we faced assess. From the adoption agency, lots of investigations. And did feel a little bit like an interrogation at times we had to prove ourselves fit for parenting children from hard places.
So physically, emotionally, financially, mentally, it was a testing process. And it was very thorough and comprehensive.
Laura: And how do you prove that you're gonna be a good enough parent? I think. Every parent fails. I know that I get that. You have to have something, you can't just go handing someone, a kid. How do you prove that?
Nat: Yeah, it's filling out forms, trying to prove that your going to be a fit parent was interesting. And yeah, there was a lot of things obviously to consider with children that come from have had a difficult start to life and being able to. I guess meet their needs was part of it.
But yeah, it felt like it was a hard thing to prove. And we were approved, which was great. After a year of training and assessment, we were approved. And then one year after that, we brought our children home. So we brought a three and a half year old boy and an 18 month old girl.
Laura: Oh, that's so beautiful. And how was that adjustment to becoming a mom? Because those of us who have both our children find it hard enough coming home with one baby, but you came home with two toddlers. That's just a lot of pressure. How was those years, or those first few years of adjustment for you?
Nat: Yes, they were not very easy. Becoming a mother to two toddlers overnight was the biggest shock of my life. I did feel quite prepared beforehand. I had high expectations on myself. I had read lots of books on parenting and adoption and developmental trauma. But nothing could really prepare me for the reality. Most of all, I was really shocked at my own selfishness and sin.
I was far less patient and loving and compassionate and gentle as I expected. Before kids, I thought I was a pretty nice person. It was a bit of a reality check for me. Becoming a mom especially to children, who've experienced a difficult start to life was difficult. I questioned my ability.
I tried to rely on myself to control the situation around me and it didn't really work. I was confused why my life wasn't a fairytale. Being a mom was all I wanted and I'd worked so hard towards it and waited for it for so many years. And I wondered, why is this so hard? Why do I feel like I'm failing at this?
I was scared to share my feelings of inadequacy and disappointment with others as it was something that I had wanted for so long. Therefore, I should be pretty happy about it. It wasn't until my second year of motherhood that I began to acknowledge and process my experience and my feelings with myself and with others.
And most importantly with God mothering children from hard places can feel like a very lonely road. And as with previous times in my life, I was crying out to God. It was the only option I. And God was very kind. He had given me some small things to hold onto to confirm that this journey was carefully crafted by him.
He gave us something for each of our children. the first was for our son when we had started trying to fall pregnant many years before I had, as I think lots of people do when they're trying to fall pregnant, meticulously calculated when our baby would be born. If we fell pregnant straight away, cuz that's what we expected.
Of course in the first month of trying. And believe it or not, our son's date of birth actually lines up perfectly with that month. Aww. He was born. Yeah. The very month that we would've had a baby had be fallen pregnant straight away. That's amazing. Yes, it was. And it was amazing to think back that when I was.
Weeping and the depths of that infertility? Little did. I know that our baby had actually already been born and God was working his purposes to bring our son home to us. I
Laura: have goosebumps. That's so beautiful. Nat.
Nat: Yes, and he didn't leave it there. God gave us something else as well. The second confirmation was for our daughter.
So when I was told of her name, I looked up the meaning and it meant noble and noble is actually my middle name. It's a family name passed down from my grandmother. So these things were small, but they provided a deep assurance for us that we belong together. I think about phar 68 that says a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows is God in his holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families. It was God who brought us together, made us a family. So we belonged together when it was hard. I needed to trust him.
Laura: When the adoption for your kids was finalized, what did that process teach you about God or the gospel or our spiritual adoption as God's children?
Nat: The program we were under was foster care with a view to adoption. Our children called us mom and dad from the moment we brought them home, but legally we were considered their foster carers until the adoption was finalized.
And that was pretty hard. During the fostering process, we had lots of check-ins from the. A lot of liaising back and forth with them. And again, just so much paperwork. Finally, three years after bringing our children home, our family's adoption was finalized and our children were legally our son and our daughter.
Laura: Oh, that's great.
Nat: So my husband and I stood there with our children on their adoption day, in the Supreme court of new south Wales. We listened to a judge issue, their adoption order. We watched the judge stamp the paperwork to finalize their place in our family. And we saw the look on our kids' faces when they shook the judge's hand and received the paper stating that they now had a permanent legal standing in our family.
It was particularly amazing seeing our son who was old enough to understand the significance of what was happening, seeing how important adoption was for him, how safe it made him feel. How proud he was of his new family name to be given a place to belong, to be known, to be protected and to be secure.
It made me think more deeply. What about us as God's children? That has probably been the most surprising aspect of the adoption journey for me, the way God has used it and is using it to teach me something so deep and real about our spiritual adoption in Christ.
I can now see how earthly adoption is just a small glimer or shadow, reflecting and pointing to the weightiness and the profound significance of our spiritual adoption as God's children. Spiritually. We were without a family without a safe place, without someone to belong through Jesus. God welcomes us into his family with warm and open arms.
Jesus becomes our brother. We are given a formal place in his family. It's permanent. It's forever. It cannot be taken away. And this was planned before the creation of the world. God predestined asked for this adoption to sonship from Ephesians chapter one, verse four to six, this phrase, adoption to sonship at the time, referred to the full legal standing of an adopted male air in Roman culture, fully accepted as a son, fully entitled to the family's inheritance to possess all the rights and privileges of a biological child.
So as God's child, I'm not only given a permanent home and family, I'm given full and formal standing as his heir and a co-heir with Christ. God now sees me as his own precious child, all that Jesus achieved and earned on the cross. As God's beloved son, I am now entitled to inherit as his. I say all this knowing full well that there are some very obvious differences between earthly and spiritual adoption.
Unlike earthly adoptive parents who have selfish, motives and struggle with sin, which my husband and I can definitely attest him. God is entirely pure and perfect in his motives. Unlike earthly adoptive children who are blameless and sweet and have lots of beautiful qualities and a. We are not innocent for God.
And we are slaves to sin and fear, but when Jesus does his work on the cross, he provides us a way in, we are no longer slaves and we no longer live in fear. We are given a permanent place in the family. We are gifted a new identity. God. Our father knows us intimately, and he looks on us with a warm and tender fatherly.
One John chapter three, captures the wonder of it. See what great love the father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God. And that is what we are.
Laura: That's amazing. What do you think would be helpful for the church and for Christians to know or remember about adoption?
Nat: Firstly, I would say the strongest foundation of adoption is found. Not in the act of people adopting children, but in God, adopting people, churches and Christians are sometimes missing out on the fullness of the gospel by not talking about our spiritual adoption in Christ, more than we do or understanding it more deeply. It brings greater beauty and depth to the gospel message.
And my. because adoption is part of my family story. It's almost impossible for me to read a Bible passage or sing a Christian song without seeing God's heart for adoption shining through it, living out a journey of adoption and seeing life and the Bible. And God's work through this lens has truly deepened my relationship with God in a profound.
When it comes to earthly adoption, I would say straight up that journey is not easy. Nothing is straightforward. The system is really difficult to navigate plans, never go as expected and parenting children from hard places is hard. Children who have had a difficult start to life often have complex developmental trauma.
Their early experiences, which they likely don't even remember have shaped how their brain has developed. So trust actually has to be earned and love has to be proven. And safety has to be felt. It takes an incredible amount of hard work, persistence, patience, and empathy. As a parent, you will second guess everything, and it will be cost.
But this is at the heart of the gospel as God's children planned before the beginning of time to be drawn into his family, it's hard to imagine a closely earthly example of what he has done for us in a spiritual and earthly sense. God is a protector and provider for the fatherless, the orphan, the abandoned, the helpless shouldn't Christian families of all people in our nation.
Be the ones known for stepping up to allow him to work through us in this way. When my husband and I were going to adoption information seminars and training workshops, we kept asking ourselves, where are all the Christians? There were non-Christian couples there, but Christian couples considering adoption where an effort to find, yes, there are a lot of factors to seriously consider before making a decision to foster or.
But too many Christians shut down the idea before really considering it for themselves. They think that adoption is just for infertile couples or people who are special adoption of foster care. Don't seem to have a strong place in our church culture in Australia yet over the last few years for a number of children who have been removed from their birth families in Australia has actually increased.
It's now over 46,000. These children need safety, stability, and love, but more than anything, they need to hear about a heavenly father who welcomes them home, an eternal home. How will they know about him? If Christians keep thinking that they are not special enough to do that or that it's something that other people do, or that it's only for people who cannot have children by birth adoption is not a second best strategy to grow a.
For God adoption was actually not his plan B. He had planned it before creation, predestined you for adoption for the Christian women listening, I would ask, have you seriously and prayerfully considered adoption leading the way in adoption is what Christian should be known for. Yes, it will be messy.
It's dark. It can be a heartbreaking world to enter into all adoption stories. Start with sorrow and loss. But these stuck places are where God shines the brightest. God has a passion for adoption. The concept is threaded throughout his story of redemption. And it's actually the only way in which you have become his child.
His desire is to set the lonely in families. Have you asked him with an open heart and mind if your family could be a place for the lonely to be set, if God calls you to do this, he will bless you in ways that you could never imagine. Your faith and relationship with him will never be the same. If God has prepared this work for you to do, to open your home and your family to shine his light into the dark, then he will give you what you need and you simply need to obey.
Laura: That's really beautiful now. I'm also just thinking then I'm sure you've got some helpful advice as you've wrestled. Infertility and you walk with that road as well. I'm wondering if you had any advice or encouragement for the women who are struggling with infertility at the moment
Nat: I do. To the woman, listening to this who is struggling with infertility, the pain is so brutal and heavy. The road is lonely and heart wrenching.
Motherhood does not define your worth, your identity or your value. You are not a failure. Do not believe the lines that you are inferior, inadequate or not blessed by. You are made in his image. You are his child. You are made fully complete in Christ. You have every spiritual blessing in Christ. You are fully known, fully loved, fully complete.
You are blessed regardless of motherhood, because you belong to your father. Sam, 128 says blessed. It is everyone who fears the Lord who walks in his ways. Repeat these truths to yourself. Don't let Satan get a. He wants to use this situation to pull you away from your good heavenly father. Don't let him put on the full armor of God as you face this battle.
God's word, prove the lies wrong. God has started a good work in you. So through this pain and grief, let him continue his work on to completion.
Laura: And any last or final words that you'd like to share?
Nat: Yes, as I reflect on the last 13 years and from when we first got married until now, I never would have imagined that this would be our story. It's definitely not how I would've written your story. God has taken us through many unexpected twist and turns in the darkest and messiest and saddest of. Now looking back, I can see that they have ended up being the times when God has done his mightiest work. It's not the simple, clean and conventional life that I expected, but the journey we have walked has learned God to display his greatest glory.
And he has used it for our good, our faith in him is stronger than it would've been. If he had given us a life we originally imagined, and our marriage is stronger for having walked the valleys side by side. A beautiful hymn that conveys this is God moves in a mysterious way. And I just wanna finish by reading some of it to you.
Now, God moves in a mysterious way. His wonders to perform. He plants his footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm. Deep in unfathomable minds of never failing skill. He fashions up his bright designs and works his sovereign. Fearful saints, fresh courage. Take the clouds that you much dread are big with mercy and will break in blessings on your head.
I can see this him in my own life. The clouds are scary. It seems there is nothing good that can come of them. You feel like God is nowhere to be seen, but those clouds are heavy with his mercy. And when they break on your head, you will know and feel his. Flat upon you
Laura: on that. I'm just so encouraged by everything that you shared today. And even just being shaped in the way I think about adoption in the Bible, and also just thinking about how we are so easily believe for lies but need to remind ourselves of the truth of who that we are. God's children and our identity is fully secure in him.
I'm so thankful for everything that God has done in working through your heart and your life and your story. Thank you for sharing with us today. I'm wondering if you would mind wrapping up the show by praying for the moms who are listening?
Nat: Yes. I would love to father, we come to you now as your daughters warmly, welcomed by you. I pray for these women listening who are facing storm clouds of many kind. For those struggling with doubts and questions or grief and loss or infertility for women adjusting to being new mothers and facing feelings of failure and disappointment for those who are in the depths of the adoption journey or seriously considering it for themselves right now, please God bring abundant blessings from any heavy clouds before us use the times of uncertainty and darkness.
To shine your brightest to display your glory and work in our hearts for good. Thank you for Jesus that through him, we are brought into your family, given a new identity, a place to belong, fully known, fully loved, fully accepted as your child. Thank you that you set the lonely in families, both here on earth and for eternity.
You pray, all these things in the name of Jesus, our Lord, our saviour, our brother and our friend,
Laura: Amen, amen.