Anyone who used to be, or still is an athlete, understands the importance of stretching exercises.  These pre-competition warm-ups are meant to increase the ability of muscles to expand without tearing, therefore allowing the athlete to throw farther, run faster, jump higher, without serious injury.  Each sport has exercises that focus on different body parts, but all athletes learn the importance of warm-up stretching before the big event. Stretching increases endurance, flexibility, and strength for the intense fight to win that lies ahead.  Proper stretching also minimizes injuries to enable top-notch athletes to continue in a long career.

Stretching is an important exercise in the life of an adoptive family.  On many levels, it is a crucial warm-up to life changing events.

A.  For the family just beginning their adoption journey, jumping jacks might involve:

  • initiating daily prayer and devotions
  • in-depth discussion of goals and concerns
  • learning to live on less to prepare for decrease in income and increase in team-mates
  • developing a more consistent daily routine
  • practicing forgiveness and mercy as an expression of unconditional love
  • appreciating in a greater way the differences God put in each unique human being

B.  For the family with the newly placed child, toe-touchers might involve:

  • flexibility in expectations
  • giving each other a wide berth
  • cutting back on activities
  • focusing on the Lord first, family second, and everything else third
  • cheerfully sticking to a tighter budget
  • submitting to the Lord’s will in all things

C.  For the family in the thick of attachment, bonding, and other growth issues a few years into the challenge, abdominal crunches might involve:

  • setting reasonable boundaries
  • shepherding instead of dictating
  • enforcing house rules with consistent consequences, including rewards and loss of privileges
  • increasing one-on-one time by decreasing personal time
  • willingly sacrificing personal gain for family gain
  • trusting in the Lord in all matters great and small

We all need to do our pre-game warm-ups for the most successful participation in this life-changing event called ADOPTION.  Spills, crashes, injuries, and foul-outs require getting back up, stretching to be fit again, and rejoining the game.