By Chelsea Sobolik
My husband and I knew before we were married that the Lord was calling us to build our family through adoption. When I was 18, I was diagnosed with a somewhat rare medical condition that prevents me from bearing babies biologically. The majority of people walk through childlessness as a married couple, but I was young, single, and scared. I wondered if any man would want to date and eventually marry me. Because of my inability to reproduce children biologically, I wrestled with my identity as a woman and walked through a valley of suffering with the Lord.
My medical diagnosis came the same year Steven Curtis Chapman released his album “Beauty Will Rise.” I listened to the album on repeat for months, begging the Lord to create beauty from my ashes. At the time, I couldn’t see past my tears as I processed my dashed dreams and unfulfilled longings. All I could see at the time was loss. But with time, the Lord heals wounds and does indeed restore and redeem. A scar is left, but it serves as a way for the glory of God to shine even brighter in my life.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, with extra time on our hands, Michael and I began having conversations about what entering the adoption process would look like for our family. We Zoomed with dear friends who had built their families through adoption and read books on the topic, such as Russell Moore’s “Adopted for Life” and Dr. Karyn Purvis’ “The Connected Child.” But more than anything, we prayed and prayed. We asked the Lord to give us wisdom, guidance, and trust in him. Through lots of prayer, the Lord led us to international adoption, and we’re in the process to adopt from India.
Personal Connection With Adoption
Currently, I work in child welfare policy, fiercely advocating for policies that protect children, advance family flourishing, and help children find safe, permanent, and loving homes. I’ve worked in child welfare advocacy for about a decade and care deeply about the most vulnerable among us—children. But even before my medical diagnosis, I had a deep desire for adoption to be part of how I built my family.
The reason I care so deeply about these issues is because I was adopted from Romania as an infant. I grew up with five siblings who were adopted, a cousin who was adopted, and adoption in my local community. I look at my own adoption story and see both the brokenness and the beauty. The reality is, there’s always loss involved in any adoption story. While I was adopted at birth, that doesn’t change the fact that there’s a break in my story. Anytime there’s a fracture in the natural family, loss is involved. But in the loss, the Lord brought restoration and built something new.
While there will certainly be parts of my children’s stories that are unique to them and their backgrounds, the way they enter our family is the same as the way I entered my family—through adoption. And I’m so looking forward to telling my children the story of how the Lord adopts us into his family, calls us his very own children, and invites us to call him “Father.”
Adoption and Finances
Adoption is full of uncertainties, but my greatest fear entering into the process was finances. International adoption can cost around $40,000, and we didn’t have that kind of money laying around. Multiple people assured me that the Lord would provide for us, but in my heart, I thought, That’s easy for you to say. You haven’t been through the mountains of paperwork and waited indefinitely. You don’t know what this process is like. Yet we knew the Lord was calling us to adoption, so we stepped out in faith.
Scripture tells us that “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24). Even though I had no idea how the Lord would be faithful to our family, I clung to his promise that he would be true to his word. I begged him to build my faith and trust in him and his provision. And so, we started saving, fundraising, and applying for grants.
It Takes a Village
One of the beautiful things we’ve experienced about adoption, even before our children are home, is how many people care so deeply for our family. They say “it takes a village” to raise a child, but for adoptive families, it often takes a village to bring them home too. We can’t do the adoption process alone—we don’t have all the physical, mental, or emotional resources we need. The beautiful thing is, the Lord has placed individuals and institutions in our lives to support us and lift our hands and our souls when we need help.
We applied for and received a grant from Show Hope this year. When I found out that we received a grant, I wept because I was so overcome with the generosity of the ministry to bless our family so much. Show Hope’s mission is to care for orphans by engaging the Church and reducing barriers to adoption. The Lord has used the faithful ministry of Show Hope to help build thousands of families through adoption. Hundreds of children will have loving and permanent families and will grow up knowing and hearing the good news of the gospel. Their parents will tell them the story of how they stepped into deeper trust in the Lord and experienced his goodness through the generosity of others.
The Lord used the faithfulness of Show Hope to help build my trust in himself and his character. He took my biggest fear and abundantly poured out his provision.
He Will Be Faithful
If you’re considering adoption, I implore you not to allow cost to be a barrier. Trust me, I understand how scary it can be starting at the enormous number. But if the Lord calls you to adoption, he will provide for your family. The Lord moves the heart of his people to provide for his children. May we join with the psalmist and declare, “We believe that we shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!” (Psalm 27:13).
Remember, he who called you is faithful to his promises, his word, and his children.
Chelsea Patterson Sobolik lives and works in Washington, D.C., and is married to her “sweetheart,” Michael. By day, Chelsea is the senior director of policy & advocacy for Lifeline Children’s Services, where she advocates for policies that ensure every child has access to a safe, permanent, and loving home, with Congress and the Administration. Previously, Chelsea worked for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, where she ran the Washington, D.C., office. After spending time on Capitol Hill, Chelsea enjoys putting her policy skills to good use and advocating for policies that help her neighbors flourish.
Her writing has appeared in “The Wall Street Journal, “USA Today,” “Christianity Today,” The Gospel Coalition, and more. Chelsea’s first book, “Longing for Motherhood,” released in 2018 with Moody Publisher and shares vulnerably about her own journey of childlessness and how she has ultimately come to view her story through the lens of Scripture and our hope in Christ.
One of the primary barriers standing between waiting children and families is the cost associated with adoption (which ranges between $25,000 and $50,000). That is outside the financial reach of most families.
Show Hope Adoption Aid grants are the cornerstone of our work and the original vision of our Founders. Our grants help break down the financial barrier within adoption and have aided nearly 8,300 children home to the love, security, and permanency of a family.
When you join us in our Adoption Aid grants work, you are helping to break down the financial barrier standing between waiting children and families.
Goal for Adoption Aid Fund: $25,000