Is Every Person Called To Adopt?

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It’s a common question in our society. We all wonder if we are capable of such a hard task. Those of us who are seasoned usually find out we most definitely are not capable at all because so much more plays into it. Outside our group, it’s phrased as more of an exclamation. “Not everyone should adopt!” It seems they feel judged and maybe that I think of them as less than for not doing such a “noble” task.

I’ve observed/know of/heard of many families who started the journey of adoption where it worked great. Most just worked, but maybe not great. I’ve also observed those that started the journey and then it didn’t work. Like all things went TERRIBLY wrong. There is no cookie cutter answer or family for this job.

But it’s true. Not everyone should adopt. There are 3 red flags I think are important to work through.

If married, your marriage has to be strong. This doesn’t mean you haven’t had struggles. It definitely doesn’t mean you won’t have struggles. That’s why I say it. Your marriage will be strained. Like never before. So if it’s already on the verge of falling apart, DON’T DO IT! The inevitable WILL happen. Your marriage is the priority. You will bring more pain to an already traumatized child if you bring them into your broken relationship. And if you aren’t married, you have to have someone you believe in that will pull you through the hard times. We can’t do this alone.

You have to have dealt with your trauma. Again, this doesn’t mean you haven’t been traumatized. But you have to have dealt with it. Like you’ve been to lots of counseling dealt with it. And even told your counselor your desire and heard what their thoughts were on the matter. They may in fact discourage you from it for a time. But they may say the opposite too. Sometimes it’s good to focus our attention on others instead of ourselves. But if you haven’t dealt with the trauma, bringing a traumatized child into your home will only re-traumatize you. If YOU have attachment issues, you will not be the person to help heal a child who has them too.

You have to be OK with not being OK. There are certain personality types that struggle with this. I’m one of them. I was the good girl. And the thought of ever causing a scene publicly would be humiliating. So when one of my kids does in fact cause a ruckus (like completely stop a football game due to his 3-year old tantrum in a 12-year old body), it’s VERY difficult for me. But I also have enough “go with the flow” and “just do what I have to do” mentality to help me refocus after the incident. As well as a husband I cry myself asleep beside at night. Not everyone can be OK when crazy happens.

There are agencies that have done studies on who fares better and why adoptions fail. Some of the research is actually quite fascinating and shocking. One of the more shocking results is that parents with college degrees have a lower success rate than those WITHOUT college degrees. I thought the opposite. Because college equates success.


Nope. Get it out of your head now that your kid is going to be the best in school, the best athlete, the best behaved. If you are too hard on the kid and push them too much, their trauma will be exposed in full force. Actually, sometimes the seemingly dysfunctional families are the ones that can handle the challenges of fostering and adoption better than the ones that follow the expectations set up by our society and churches.

It seems to boil down to this: the success of fostering and adoption is not so much about being capable, rather being adaptable. We cannot expect a kid from a hard place to adapt to our life. We have to adapt to theirs.

If you decide fostering and adoption are not for you….for WHATEVER reason…..that doesn’t mean you don’t have a role to play. We need YOU on our team. Especially if you have been through the process of any kind. You’ve experienced some of the pain involved. That means you can empathize in a way that others can’t. Take a family a meal when you know it’s been a rough day. Clean a family’s house. Provide child care or respite. Sit and cry with a family in distress. There is no shame in deciding full time fostering and adoption is not for you. There is a much needed and important role for everyone, and not one person is capable to walk this journey alone. We can only do this together.

We would love to hear your thoughts on this post. Leave us a comment in the comment section below and get the conversation started!

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Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.