The Ultimate Need Of Every Adoptive Family

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This post is anonymously shared by an adoptive mom, to encourage other caregivers. We expect you will appreciate her vulnerability and honesty as much as we do We are often asked what we need, or how someone can help our family. While these questions are always appreciated, the answer may surprise you.

We did it again. Another trip to grandparent’s house for the summer. Me and 4 kids on a long plane ride. As expected, it was not without incident. The return flight is always more laden with anxiety, exhaustion and nothing to look forward to so any ability we had to hold it together, is now gone. The kids ran off the plane before me as I struggled with the carry-on luggage. Immediately upon walking through the gate at our layover city, a stranger approached me and informed me she had just pulled one child off of the other. I replied with a quick, “thanks” and I tried to avoid eye contact with the hundreds of gawkers as our multi-racial family walked on (as if nothing happened) and made our way to the next gate.

It wasn’t that I didn’t care. It’s that I just couldn’t. I was by myself and had to get home. The trip was far from over.

Adoptive and foster parents have needs that are unseen a lot of times. Our kids look “normal.” They can even act “normal” or similar to typical children who have had a rough day. All kids do act out in some form. However, the difference between typical kids and kids who struggle is the INTENSITY and the CHRONIC nature of the behavior. Sure typical parents experience tantrums. But they don’t experience tantrums from their child for multiple hours, everyday. This makes our needs as a family unique and magnified.

“What do you need the most?” I was recently asked. It showed they knew I needed a lot but wanted to tackle the biggest and most pressing in that moment. We don’t hear it much because the asker’s hands will have to get dirty with this one. Too risky.

But hands don’t always have to get dirty. Not physically anyway. If I’m really honest with myself and others, what I really need most is something much harder to give. Especially in an airport.

If I’m really honest with myself and others, what I really need most is something much harder to give.

What I wanted to do in that moment but couldn’t, was hold my face in my hands and sob. Because instead of the stares and the “helpful parenting advice” I receive, or the comments about how “typical children act this way sometimes too,” my greatest need was to feel the never-ending, warm embrace of GRACE.

It’s so simple and yet profoundly complex.

What makes it complex is that people are usually willing to give grace when they are not affected. “Sure, I forgive you for the blood curdling screaming I heard from your kid yesterday OUTSIDE. Kids are kids.” But when your kid is constantly kicking the back of my chair on an airplane, well, that’s another story.

Or sure they’ll forgive my kid’s misbehavior in the classroom…until my kid hurts their kid at recess. We offend some people so often, there’s no way we can make up for it. So we expect you to not like us. I expect you to not want your kids to be friends with mine.

What most don’t understand about behavior of any kind, is that there is an unmet need somewhere in the body. They’ve missed out on a lot because of trauma and are trying to figure life out in the best way they know how. They need help with life skills that come natural for most kids. They need extra help at school. They need extra-special babysitters. They need extra time to do most things. They need extra play time. They need extra structure and they need more nurturing for much longer than typical kids. And that is just a lot, and so messy.

Then there’s me. I’m late a lot. I don’t always show up. If I do, sometimes the look on my face tells the story of the last 2 hours attempting to get to that place. I’m usually too exasperated to hide it. Sometimes I’m unavailable to the people of wherever I’ve shown up to. Some days I lose it on my kids. I’m trauma trained, and all the things I beg and plead with all the teachers to do with my kids, I don’t do myself on a regular basis. I know others observe that. “She’s too passionate.” “Too many kids.” “She’s taken on too much.” I’m just too much for people.

What I have found in my pondering of my greatest need is that this thing we need most, is the thing that God has destined upon us from the beginning of time. He knew we needed grace. And the thing He used as the gift bearer was His son who was hurt in the process.

We may not ever receive the grace we desire from strangers, our extended family, our neighbors or our kid’s teachers. At least not consistently. But there is One who gives this perfect grace to messy parents and misbehaved kids. And it doesn’t end just because we’re too much for Him.

We offend. He forgives. Over and over again. That’s grace.

Grace is there for you. Rest in that, parents. Grace is there for your child too. No matter how many tantrums. No matter how many times your child is arrested. No matter how many times you fail your child, there is perfect grace. The beauty in this ultimate need and gift of grace is only had when received. Embrace it and know you are never too much of anything.

How have you seen grace pour out on your journey? How have you received grace?

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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.