The title above could just as easily read “My First 9 Months as a Dad”.

I don’t think of myself specifically as an adoptive dad — I am a dad — to a beautiful, curious, vibrant little nine-month-old baby.

When I look at Elsa, I don’t see an adopted daughter; I see my daughter. I have felt that way from the first time I held her in my arms at the hospital.

I don’t say any of this to disparage adoption. Quite the opposite: it is a credit to Elsa’s birth mother, our adoption agency, our family and friends, and the grace of God that adopting Squish has been such an easy and joyful experience.

(Read more about how our story began here).

It is likewise true that the biggest challenges my wife Angie and I have faced as parents are not specific to adoption — they are the difficulties all parents confront. Interrupted sleep. Sickness. Nap-time dramas. Short attention spans. Whinging. Extra demands on our time and energy.

However, as I regularly note, the joys outweigh the challenges — and in spades.

Squish springs out of bed in the morning full of joy and always delighted to see us. She is a vociferous eater. She loves bath time. Her growing vocabulary impresses us every day, as does her willingness to try and mimic each new word we teach her.

She now barks at dogs when we pass them in the park, to our great amusement. She is a thrill-seeker who begs for more every time we spin her around or swing her upside down. She has the most adorable giggle and a bright sparkle in her eyes.

Maybe all parents talk about their kids this way — or maybe we are the most biased mum and dad in the world. Whatever the case, nine months in, Angie and I are enjoying parenting more than ever.

Not everyone is called to adoption. But if you are — or even if you are open to the idea — I encourage you to go for it.


Adoption provides a loving home for a child who may not otherwise have one, fulfilling their deep need for family and stability.

Adoption allows couples to experience the joy of parenting and the rewards of nurturing a child’s growth and development.

Adoption is a blessing for an expecting or brand-new mother, who knows her child deserves life but is in no place to become a parent.

As Elsa’s birth mother told us during one of our earliest conversations, adoption is a win-win-win — for Elsa, for us, and for her.

She said this as an adoptee herself. The life she was blessed with because of adoption made her feel certain this was the right decision for her daughter, too.

There are so many children who want and need parents.

The National Council for Adoption reports that approximately 140 million children worldwide are orphans.

The needs go further than this, however. Many children in foster care or orphanages are in need of permanent homes. Adoption can make a significant difference in their lives.

Granted, every adoption story will be different, and no doubt there will be challenges ahead for us (as any parent will attest). But the last nine months have confirmed my long-held suspicion that adoption is an unparalleled blessing for all involved.

It’s a journey I encourage you to consider, too.


Image courtesy of Unsplash.

About the Author: Kurt Mahlburg

Kurt Mahlburg is Canberra Declaration's Research and Features Editor. He hosts his own blog at Cross + Culture and is also a contributor at the Spectator Australia, MercatorNet, Caldron Pool and The Good Sauce. Kurt is also a published author. His book Cross and Culture: Can Jesus Save the West? provides a rigorous analysis of the modern malaise in Western society and how Jesus provides the answer to the challenges before us. Kurt has a particular interest in speaking the truths of Jesus into the public square in a way that makes sense to a secular culture and that gives Christians courage to do the same. Kurt has also studied architecture, has lived for two years in remote South-East Asia, and among his other interests are philosophy, history, surf, the outdoors, and travel. He is married to Angie.

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