Adoption is a major life change. Every area of your life has to adjust to the added pressures of adoption. How do you know if Adoption is for you?

Wayne and I believe in seeking wise counsel. The week after we were surprised by the thought of adopting children we were able to meet with our senior pastor. As associate pastors at the church where we served, we knew that his input was vital to our determination.

While we met with him, he did not seemed as surprised as we were by our pondering adoption. He encouraged us to “ask God the big question” of whether adoption was for us as a family. Then he asked us to ask God specific questions. If we had children somewhere in the world – where were they?

Once a year Wayne and I had the privilege of using a “Lake House” that was a place of prayer for us. We just “happened” to have our time schedule to go away the next week. We were going a few days ahead and then the family was joining us. During this time I found myself weeping a lot as I had the impression of 2 little olive skinned brown eyed boys. We began to research and we say how there was an overwhelming need for older children to be adopted, especially in Brazil. We read articles about off duty police officers being hired by the healthy merchants in Brazil to shoot the orphans living on the streets. This was not a one time event, but a “cycle of impunity” that provides extra income for the underpaid police.

As we read these reports, I began to weep again at the injustice. God was both breaking my heart, but also opening my heart to adopt older children. Most adoptions are of children under the age of 3. Most people do not want to deal with the severity of the wounds of older children.God was softening my heart with my tears.

At the end of the week our teenage daughters came to the Lake House with my mom. They knew that we had gone away to pray. Our oldest daughter Rachel said, “We knew it was a big deal. We didn’t know if we would move to India as missionaries or if we would plant a church. We just knew dad and mom were asking God about a ‘big question.'”

We began to share about our reflections about adoption. We did not come to the table with our older children with a predetermined decision. We felt like they would be a part of the journey and they needed to be a part of the decision making. As we went around the table talking with our daughters, our youngest Sarah Faith made us all laugh through our tears. In a matter of fact tone she said, “I’m for it. Even with all the work of adoption.” We just laughed really having no idea of how much work it would be.


Adoption – Detweiler Family in Brazil

My mom was the final one to share about our call as a family. She had begun to weep quietly when we talked about adopting 2 boys from Brazil. My mom said, “Sue, I don’t know if you remember. Your father and I were planning to go to Brazil as missionaries until we became pregnant with you. I was so disappointed that I began to pray over you as a baby in my wound. I prayed from Jeremiah 1 that you would fulfill the call I felt to the nations.

Little did we know then, but 9 months later we would all be in Brazil adopting our sons. This would be the first time that my mom set her feet on Brazilian soil. (More of our story is coming in the future…)

The Reasons we Felt Called to Adopt:

1. We were unified as a family.

This was a unified determination. We all sensed a call to make a difference.

2. We were willing to make the sacrifice financially.


Ezequiel – Thumbs up for Adoption

Adoption is costly. We did raise money for our adoption and we are thankful to Show Hope, our largest contributor. However, we carried the biggest financial investment. We ended up selling our large home to finance the adoption. We were willing to share rooms and move into a smaller home even though we were adding members of our family.

3. We were willing to embrace the work of adoption.

I had an incredible grace as the mom of the family to carry the bulk of the paperwork requirements of adoption. My husband and I gave up the much earlier empty nest that we would have had. Our daughters all made sacrifices of time and attention.

4. We were willing to take the risk our own inconvenience.

At the point in our lives, we looked like an ideal family. That is no longer the case. Both of our sons deal with Attachment disorder and struggle to look you in the eye when they meet you. They had 12 and 8 years of being abandoned before we adopted them. Their habits, values and choices do not always reflect “The Detweiler Family Values” that the rest of our children were raised with.

5. We felt willing to to make the long-term investment to heal abandonment.


Adopting Alexandre – Age 12

Wayne and I have had a theory that the seeds you sow into your children today you will reap 10 years from now. We adopted our sons only 5 years ago. They still have been orphans longer than they have been adopted. We see incremental progress. Our eyes are not on the short term situations. Our eyes are on the miracle of healing and transformation that God brings to lonely hearts.

So if you are wondering if you are called to adopt, ask God the “Big Question” and count the costs of this Big Decision.

Last week, Wayne looked at me and remarked about our adoption of our sons, “This is REALLY HARD.”

I looked at him with full comprehension in my eyes. We didn’t fully know how tough it would be. So I quietly answered with a sense of resolve, “Yes, this is the hardest thing that we have ever done… But I am a better person.”